Summit Meeting of Industry Leaders Seeks to Expland LEED Certification Program to Broader Range of Building Types

June 18, 2013 - CH2M HILL, a global full-service consulting, design, construction, and operations firm, hosted representatives from a group of industry-leading companies in a May 7-8, 2013 green building summit meeting at the company's Portland, Oregon office. The purpose of the summit was to broaden the global range of the LEED® building certification program administered by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). LEED is a widely accepted benchmark for design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings.

This summit's assembly, known as the LEED Manufacturing User Group, is applying its collective sustainability experience to expand the LEED program beyond its original sphere of commercial buildings to other building types.

The summit meeting included a May 8 reception jointly hosted by USGBC and CH2M HILL to coalesce support for this initiative with regional sustainability leaders. Attendees included a number of manufacturers as well as the Cascadia Green Building Council, members of USGBC's Board of Directors, Green Building Services and the Port of Portland.

The LEED Manufacturing User Group is helping shape the next version of LEED standards (LEEDv4) to be compatible with such other building categories as industrial, military, university campuses and other non-commercial building categories. By creating alternative compliance paths, the LEED Manufacturing User Group and USGBC are expanding the influence of green building design to include institutions and companies previously unable to qualify for certification.

LEED Manufacturing User Group member companies collectively manage millions of square feet of building space which consume huge amounts of energy. They understand from their own experiences how much additional environmental benefit the world could realize if LEED standards were applied to other building types. As an example, it's been estimated that applying LEED energy standards to a single industrial manufacturing facility could produce enough energy savings to operate a large university campus for one year, or a community of 10,000 homes.

CH2M HILL was asked to be part of this historic initiative because of the company's international leadership in sustainable building design, including hundreds of LEED-certified projects. CH2M HILL has also been a pioneer in broadening LEED's use, having designed the first LEED-certified buildings in the semiconductor industry, a major data center firm's first LEED Gold data center, and LEED-certified buildings in other private and public markets in which sustainable certification has either been rare or nonexistent.

CH2M HILL is also contributing its expertise in technological sustainability approaches involving a building's energy, process and water systems. These approaches increase LEED's appeal to building owners because they offer an "Alternative Compliance Path" giving owners more routes to LEED compliance than through design alone.

The LEED Manufacturing User Group is planning to share its recommendations at the USGBC's annual Greenbuild Conference & Expo conference in Philadelphia in November. For more information about USGBC, visit www.usgbc.org External link.

"USGBC is excited to be working with a dedicated group of industry professionals from the manufacturing sector to create more opportunities for greener, healthier, more efficient manufacturing facilities," said Rhiannon Jacobsen, Director, Strategic Accounts, USGBC. "The goal of this group, with leadership from companies like CH2M HILL, is to establish a collaborative community to identify, share and publicize the best-known methods related to the design, operations and maintenance of green manufacturing facilities."

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