Taking advantage of Florida's "abundant local sunshine" with solar panels and preserving agricultural land and cutting stormwater runoff into the Great Lakes in rural Michigan. These and other regional definitions of what makes a building "green" will be part of the United States' premiere green building standard, starting Monday.
That's when the U.S. Green Building Council will launch the third version of its LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification for green buildings. Among a number of changes will be state-by-state Regional Priority Credits that can give builders extra points toward LEED.
The new version of LEED will also more heavily weigh "strategies that will have greater positive impacts on what matters most -- energy efficiency and CO2 reductions," according to the USGBC's website (see Buildings Without Air Conditioners: The Latest in Energy Efficiency).
LEED buildings are all the rage nowadays. Not only do they burnish the green reputation of builders and occupants, they're also more valuable, according to studies (see Green Building: Cheaper Than You Thought and Green Buildings: No Subsidies Needed?).
Major builders like Webcor are earning most of their revenue from LEED-certified buildings. Then there are the host of startups — Serious Materials, Integrity Block, Cal-Star Cement and Hycrete among them — aiming to provide green building materials and systems to shave away at the share of U.S. energy involved in building (about 12 percent of the total) and heating, lighting and maintaining buildings (about 40 percent).