The U.S. Green Building Council announced on April 6 that it would officially recognize water and energy requirements from the Living Building Challenge, an initiative created by the International Living Future Institute. Currently, the USGBC follows standards established by the Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design.
LEED is currently the most widely used rating system on an international scale, according to a press release from the USGBC. There are about 69,000 LEED certified commercial structures across 150 countries. Buildings that meet LEED requirements tend to have better indoor environments and operate at much lower costs. The standards work to improve the quality of design, construction, maintenance and operations in a completely energy efficient way.
Bringing two systems together
According to Environmental Leader, the USGBC announcement means any project or structure that reaches the standards set by the Living Building Challenge will now effectively be considered on par with LEED. While the two rating systems have historically been competitors, this new method of recognition is intended to build harmony between the organizations. With the ultimate goal being to improve the way people design facilities with regards to the environment, the two entities believe that eliminating competition and embracing this common passion will help motivate green building from a global perspective.
“The LEED steering committee approved this approach; in the world of rating systems there is a sense of competition between systems, and what we’re saying is that what matters is that people are doing good environmental work. We want to focus on them and create harmonization between systems,” said Scot Horst, chief product officer of the USGBC, in the press release.
This is the latest push in green building associations working together to streamline requirements and promote interchangeable standards. According to a press release from the USGBC, the organization officially started recognizing energy credits from Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method International, the U.K.’s premier green-building rating system, in 2012.