LEED-ND: Green Infrastructure and Buildings Overview
As I mentioned in my previous post, I’m currently studying for the LEED AP Neighborhood Development certification. As I study, I figured I would share some of what I’m learning.
Green Infrastructure and Buildings (GIB) is one of the three major credit categories under LEED for Neighborhood Development. GIB credits focus on ways to reduce the environmental impacts of constructing and operating infrastructure, including buildings. The other two major credit categories under LEED-ND are Smart Location and Linkage (SLL) and Neighborhood Pattern and Design (NPD). There are also Innovation and Design Process (IDP) and Regional Priority Credit (RPC) credit categories, which give points for projects that go above and beyond the requirements of LEED and/or address pressing environmental issues in the specific region where the project is located. These other categories will be the focus of future posts.
Now back to the GIB credit category…
Both prerequisite #1 and credit #1 involve including at least one certified green building in the project. Green buildings can help the project team achieve a number of sustainability goals, including reduced energy consumption. By reducing energy demand within the project, the community reduces its emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants by requiring power plants to burn less fossil fuels. The GIB category contains credits that address things like lighting, HVAC, district heating and cooling, and overall energy efficiency.
Increasing water efficiency is another important goal of the GIB credit category. This issue is addressed by prerequisite #3 and credits #3 and #4. Water conservation can be achieved by installing low-flow plumbing fixtures, improving landscape design, and reusing gray water and waste water. Local water resources and hydrology are preserved, operating costs are reduced, and water treatment facilities use less energy and chemicals to provide potable water.
The process of constructing buildings is also addressed. The ultimate goals are to reduce natural resource extraction, manufacturing, and transportation and to reduce construction and demolition waste that ends up in landfills. These goals are achieved through the reuse of existing buildings and materials and/or using materials with recycled content. Other building practices are addressed as well to help avoid negative impacts on the local hydrology and ecosystems.
Other benefits of achieving points within the GIB credit category include reducing the urban heat island effect, preserving local habitats and therefore biodiversity, and a more pleasant experience for community inhabitants.
Check back soon for an overview of the credit category Neighborhood Pattern and Design (NPD).