What is LEED?
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, is a building certification process developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), a non-profit organization headquartered in Washington, D.C.
The USGBC developed the LEED certification process to enhance environmental awareness among architects and building contractors, and to encourage the design and construction of energy-efficient, water-conserving buildings that use sustainable or green resources and materials.
By using less energy, LEED-certified buildings save money for families, businesses and taxpayers, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and contribute to a healthier environment for residents, workers and the larger community.
What Is LEED Certification?
The LEED certification process uses a point system to determine the environmental merits of a building. There are different rating systems for homes, commercial buildings, interior renovations, schools, neighborhood developments and other construction projects.
For most projects, there are four levels of LEED certification, depending on how many points the project has earned: certified, silver, gold or platinum.
According to the USGBC, there are nine key areas measured by LEED:
- Sustainable Sites
- Water Efficiency
- Energy and Atmosphere
- Materials and Resources
- Indoor Environmental Quality
- Location and Linkages
- Awareness and Education
- Innovation in Design
- Regional Priority
UW Tacoma LEED Buildings
UW Tacoma was the first university campus in the state to build a LEED certified building with Cherry Parkes, LEED Silver, in 2003. Recently, the Joy Building earned LEED Platinum. Tioga Library, the newest campus building, earned LEED Gold certification.
During the 2005 legislative session, the State Legislature passed a new law requiring LEED Silver standards for state-funded building projects.
Below is a list of LEED buildings on campus and their certifications.
- Russel T. Joy - Platinum
- Tioga Library Building - Gold
- Tacoma Paper & Station (TPS) - Gold
- William W. Phillip Hall (WPH) - Gold
- Cherry Parkes (CP) - Silver
- Mattress Factory (MAT) - Silver
- University YMCA Student Center - Build designed to LEED Silver*
- McDonald Smith (MDS) - Build designed to LEED Silver*
*UWT did not pursue official LEED certification but materials and practices similar to LEED requirements were implemented.