Iris Window Coverings is proud to be a multi-year member of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), which developed and runs the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System, a national benchmark for high-performance green buildings.
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is a national nonprofit organization that was formed in 1993, with a membership of building industry groups and individuals.
This committee-based organization has developed many industry standards, design practices, policy advocacy, information exchange, and education tools to promote sustainable design and construction, and facilitate positive results for the environment, occupant health, and financial return.
LEED provides a green standard of measurement that can prevent green washing, or false, exaggerated claims, and advances integrated design processes. This rating system is a design guideline that identifies industry leadership, stimulates green competition, raises consumer awareness, and has transformed the marketplace with sustainability concepts.
The goal of sustainable design is to create high-performance buildings. This concept evolved from various concerns and needs within society and the building industry. Green design is a term referring to design and construction practices that significantly reduce or eliminate the negative impact of buildings on the environment and occupants in five areas:
- Sustainable site planning
- Safeguarding water and water efficiency
- Energy efficiency and renewable energy
- Conservation of materials and resources
- Indoor environmental quality
LEED offers building owners and property managers tools to have an immediate and measurable impact on building performance and implement a whole-building approach to sustainability, through the aforementioned five areas of human and environmental health.
LEED provides a method to document success for every building type and life cycle phase, through several programs including LEED-NC for New Commercial Construction and major renovation projects.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), in 2001, buildings consumed two-thirds of U.S. electricity use, one-eighth of water consumption, and transform land that provides valuable ecological services. In 1998, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that over 136 million tons of construction and demolition waste were generated in the U.S., at approximately 2.8 lbs/person/day.
Green building provides many benefits to society that improves the quality of life, from environmental, economic, health, and safety, to community perspectives. The net effect is to:
- Reduce impacts of natural resource consumption
- Protect air and water quality, biodiversity, and ecosystem health
- Improve economics of building operations, asset value, worker productivity, and the local economy
- Enhance building occupant health and safety, relating to risk management
- Minimize strain on local infrastructure, such as landfills, water supply, storm water sewers and related development and costs; decrease transportation development and maintenance for roadways, and encourage better performance of mass transit systems.