Facilities Toolbox: Sustainability Tools
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What do I need to know about Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)?

The Forest Service Handbook 7309.11, chapter 70 requires all new construction or major renovation of Forest Service regional offices, district offices, supervisor's offices, visitor centers, research offices/labs containing 10,000 or more gross square feet to be registered and certified under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system at the Silver level, the Green Globes rating system (minimum Two Green Globes), or other third–party certification system. Information about successful strategies that have been used to build LEED certified Forest Service buildings is available in Implementing LEED: Strategies That work for the Forest Service.

U.S. Green Building Council Member.LEED is the best-known broad-based sustainability rating system in the USA. It is a voluntary, consensus-based national standard for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings. It is organized and maintained by the U.S. Green Building Council. LEED ratings can be obtained at four different levels, depending on the number of sustainability features incorporated into the project. Certified is the minimum level of LEED certification. Silver and gold are intermediate ratings. Platinum is the highest rating.

Among the LEED standards that are currently available are:

In addition, two application guides are available to help designers achieve LEED-NC standards for lodging and for sites with more than one building.

The Forest Service maintains a corporate membership (Web site available only to FS and BLM employees) in the U.S. Green Building Council. The membership allows Forest Service employees to attend training and purchase materials at the lower members' rates.

A number of Forest Service design professionals are LEED accredited, which means they've passed a test and are recognized by the U.S. Green Building Council as having a thorough understanding of green building practices and principals. If you have questions about sustainable design, you can contact a LEED accredited Forest Service design professional (Web site available only to FS and BLM employees). LEED workshops are available to prepare for LEED professional accreditation exams.

Specification sections specifically related to LEED items are available in the Federal Guide for Green Construction Specifications and the FSweb page on LEED Specifications (available only to FS and BLM employees).

Proper documentation for LEED credits is crucial. Harvard University has posted all the LEED credit documentation for 10 LEED for New Construction projects on the Web. Although most Forest Service LEED projects will be quite different from these projects, these documents can still provide valuable guidance and examples of what sort of documentation is needed.

Comprehensive information on designing and operating LEED buildings is available at the Federal Facilities High Performance Buildings and the Whole Building Design Guide Web sites.