LEED: Green Buildings in China

Speaking of green rooftops, I saw this article in the Christian Science Monitor the other day about a “green” building in Beijing, China—the first building in China to conform to the certification requirements of a completely voluntary international green building standard called LEED or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. LEED standards can be applied to new construction and renovations, existing buildings operations, commercial interior projects, neighborhood developments, and residential homes.

LEED was developed by members of the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), headquartered in Washington, D.C., to provide a standard of “green” measures for the building industry and to promote consumer awareness about the benefits of “building green”. These measures include sustainable sites (built on open space and near transportation); water efficiency; energy and atmosphere; materials and resources; and indoor environmental quality.

The building, which houses the Ministry of Science, is in effect a living building according to Robert Watson of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), utilizing energy from the sun and water from precipitation to conserve energy and water. In fact the building uses nearly 70% less energy than similar buildings and 10,000 tons of water a year. Solar panels on the roof provide 5% of the building’s energy requirements and the use of natural daylight is the norm. Rainfall is stored and used for cooling and water. The roof is covered in volcanic ash, which is a lightweight medium that filters rainwater. Many green buildings use similar types of “green” rooftops.

LEED certified buildings are found in several countries around the globe including Canada, United States, Dutch Antilles, China, India, and Mexico. To look for a LEED certified building near you, visit the USGBC website.

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