Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) in the Strafford Region
The U.S. Green Building Council was established in 1993. The goal of this organization was to promote sustainability in the building and construction industry. In 2000, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification program began. The LEED program is significant in many ways as it ensures sustainability in construction and building processes, and equates to cheaper operation costs, among other benefits.
LEED certification is determined by a variety of factors. For buildings to receive certification they must satisfy certain requirements. LEED certification can be given to a variety of elements in a building and in residential homes as well. Buildings are classified in different rating systems based on project types and include:
• Building Design and Construction
• Interior Design and Construction
• Building Operations and Maintenance
• Neighborhood Development
Once the rating system is determined the project earns a specific number of points dependent on how the project meets certain prerequisites. There are four levels of certification which include certified (40-49 points), silver (50-59 points), gold (60-70 points), and platinum (80+ points). The point values are based on categories such as water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, and innovation.
In the Strafford region there are currently five LEED certified buildings, and two that are waiting to become certified. Those certified include James Hall at the University of New Hampshire which received a gold certification, the New Hampshire Children’s Museum which received a silver certification, Liberty Mutual which received a gold certification, the Peter T. Paul School at UNH which received a gold certification, and the Cocheco Well Water Treatment Plant which received certification. These ratings occurred beginning in 2008 with Liberty Mutual, with the most recent accreditation given to the Peter T. Paul School at UNH in 2013. The two buildings awaiting certification include the new Town Hall being constructed in Durham, and Turbocam in Barrington.
Some of the specific approaches taken in these buildings in order for them to receive LEED certification include: sensor lighting systems, water conserving fixtures, harvesting of rainwater for plants, high performance windows, rainwater recycling for flushing of toilets, and geothermal heating and cooling systems. The New Hampshire Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council encourages these practices through their mission of promoting, educating, and advocating for green building in NH based on LEED standards .
LEED certification in the region is reported and updated in the Strafford Regional Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Annual Updates. SRPC has currently updated this information in the drafting of our 2013 CEDS Annual Update.