Building a home or commercial building anywhere in Hawaii lends itself to ensuring that the architectural style fits in with the environment. What’s even more ideal is to design and build a home or facility that is not only suitable, but sustainable. Building a “green” home or building can encompass a wide range of options, from solar water heating to an entire design that uses green building materials and efficient sustainability.
If you’ve done any research on sustainable building practices, you’ve likely come across the abbreviation LEED. This stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, and it’s one of the world’s most popular green building certifications programs in the world.
What LEED Means
The US Green Building Council (USGBC) is a private nonprofit organization promoting sustainability in the design, building, and operation of buildings.
The LEED Green Building Rating System provides third-party verification of green buildings. The point-based system means that projects will earn one of four certifications, Certified, Silver, Gold, or Platinum, based on the number of points earned from green compliance:
- Certified: 40–49 points
- Silver: 50–59 points
- Gold: 60–79 points
- Platinum: 80 or more points
The idea is to encourage the use of sustainable best practices and the construction of more “green” buildings.
The system encompasses every phase of the building process, including architectural design, construction, operations, and maintenance. A wide range of building types can be LEED certified, including:
- Residential homes (neighborhood standards are still being developed)
- Commercial buildings
- Healthcare facilities
- Retail facilities
Having a LEED-certified building is voluntary, and the standards apply to new construction as well as existing structures and renovations.
There are four different rating systems:
- LEED for Building Design and Construction (BD+C) including residential design and construction
- LEED for Interior Design and Construction (ID+C)
- LEED for Building Operations and Maintenance (O+M)
- LEED for Neighborhood Development (ND)
LEED for Cities/Communities is a pilot rating system that deals with operations in existing cities and communities.
Incorporating LEED Into Your Project
The USGBC emphasizes five critical areas:
- Sustainable site development—this includes re-using existing buildings and preserving the surrounding environment. It also encourages planting, roof gardens, and the use of “earth shelters” whenever possible.
- Conservation of water—this includes rainwater catchments, greywater collection, cleaning and re-use, and monitoring of water use and supplies.
- Increasing energy efficiency—with the use of solar, wind, biomass, geothermal, water, and natural gas, whatever is locally available, as well as design elements that allow the building to take advantage of the sun’s seasonal changes in position.
- The use of renewable and/or recyclable materials that use less energy for manufacturing—these materials must be durable, recyclable, locally sourced, made from “non polluting raw ingredients,” and do not contain harmful chemicals.
- Indoor environmental air quality—ventilation, temperature control, and materials that do not emit toxic off-gassing.
New products and improvements are making green architectural design easier and less expensive than before, ensuring that your home will be comfortable, environmentally conscious, and if you like, LEED certified as well
Read more about our green building services here.
Interested In Building Green? Pro Draft Can Help
We understand your desire for a greener, more sustainable space, and we can help you achieve it. Whether you want to start small or go all-in, we have the resources and experience to do it for you. Pro Draft can help design your new “green” Hawaiian home or building with LEED certification.