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W.L. Norton Agency


LEED & Green Building

What is green building?

Green building is an approach to design, construction, and operation of buildings and neighborhoods that aims to balance the demands of today with the needs of tomorrow. The nonprofit U.S. Green Building Council defines green building as “a holistic concept that starts with the understanding that the built environment can have profound effects, both positive and negative, on the natural environment, as well as the people who inhabit buildings every day.” Done well, green building enhances the positive and mitigates negative effects for the life cycle of a building.

What does green building focus on?

Most green building programs concentrate on energy efficiency, water efficiency, indoor environmental quality, material selection, and the building's impact on its site.

What are the benefits of green building?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency lists the following benefits from green building:

Environmental benefits

Economic benefits

Social benefits

What is LEED?

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a green building rating system offering certifications to green homes, buildings, neighborhoods, and entire cities. A completely voluntary system for improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the built environment, LEED has been adopted by owners and organizations intent on making their existing and future developments more sustainable. Learn more at https://new.usgbc.org/leed.

What is LEED for Homes?

LEED for Homes is a rating system focused on single-family and multi-family housing. It consolidates industry best practices into a set of requirements, and then requests verification of a team’s designs and intentions, before awarding certification. LEED for Homes may be applied to all types of residential construction from subdivisions to custom homes. It relies on familiar programs such as ENERGY STAR and WaterSense to create safe, healthy, and efficient homes for families and entire neighborhoods. Find more information at https://www.usgbc.org/articles/getting-know-leed-homes-design-and-construction.

How do you balance the costs of building green?

Green building can cost more, the same, or less than conventional approaches. Integrated design, return on investment, and reducing external costs are financial benefits of building green.

The integrated design approach brings the owner, designer, and builder together to find ways to double or triple the function of building components. For example, low impact development devices such as bioretention and rain gardens can meet the local building codes requirements to manage storm water, reduce cooling expenses by shading the building, and store water for irrigation.

If there is a cost premium for efficient equipment and materials, it can often pay for itself quickly through reduced energy, maintenance, and replacement costs. Examples include geothermal heating and cooling, LED lighting, and durable surfaces. Many institutions and utilities offer incentives for efficiency, as they know it is the least expensive way to reduce the demand for more costly infrastructure.

Governments, private enterprises, and individuals have realized the multifaceted benefits of green building approaches such as mixed-income and transit-oriented developments, material reuse, and minimizing waste. Executed well, green building can be the catalyst toward a sustainable future for an entire community.

Wieck Construction has constructed multiple residential and commercial projects for clients who choose to build green due to the significant environmental benefits and the long-term economic and social impacts. Contact us for more information today.

For more information, visit:




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