Creative EDC took our commitment to sustainable development to another level. Crystal Morphis became a LEED Green Associate this fall. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is redefining the way we think about how we develop the places we live, work, and learn.
Why would an economic developer want to learn about LEED? Most of the main credit categories of LEED are related to building construction and operation –Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, and Indoor Environmental Quality. Where we found direct benefit to our work is the Sustainable Sites category.
Our blog is about best practices. Studying LEED principles reminded us of the best practices we should be following in site identification, assessment, selection, and development. LEED Sustainable Sites emphasizes selecting a site with minimal impact on the environment, connectivity to transportation, consideration of infill and brownfield development, and minimization of stormwater runoff and heat island effects.
Look for ways to implement LEED best practices in your product development program. For example, make sure you do not overlook redevelopment opportunities when searching for a site. Too often our first thought may be greenfield development when an infill opportunity would lessen environmental impacts. Also, study how the site can be connected to public transportation to reduce traffic congestion.
Studying the other LEED categories provided us with a general understanding of environmental impacts of building construction and operation. This information may come in handy when trying to understand an existing business’s need to reduce utility cost. It would also be helpful when developing a shell building.
Over our economic development careers, we have seen a shift to focus on sustainable development. LEED principles offer the economic developer guidelines and best practices. We encourage you to explore how LEED can help you become a better steward of your community’s resources.
Visit the U.S. Green Building Council for more information. http://www.usgbc.org/home