The first buildings ever to be certified for sustainable design and construction by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) were announced recently at the Council¿s Fourth Annual Federal Government Summit. Eleven very distinct buildings from across the U.S. and one from overseas were recognized for achieving Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED¿) certification. LEED is a comprehensive rating system that provides direction and definition for sustainable design and construction.

The first 12 LEED-certified buildings cover a variety of uses from military to corporate to educational. They include: the Bachelor Enlisted Quarters, Great Lakes Naval Training Center (Great Lakes, IL); Brengel Technology Center, Johnson Controls, Inc. (Milwaukee); The Donald Bren School of Engineering Science and Management, University of Southern California (Santa Barbara, CA); Energy Resource Center, Southern California Gas Company, a Sempra Energy Company (Downey, CA); Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank (Duquesne, PA); Kanalama Hotel, Aitken Spence Hotels, Ltd. (Dambulla, Sri Lanka); Nidus Center for Scientific Enterprise, Monsato Company (St. Louis); Oquirrh Park Speed Skating Oval, Salt Lake Organizing Committee for the Olympic Winter Games 2002 (Salt Lake City); Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Southcentral Regional Headquarters (Harrisburg, PA); Phillip Merrill Environmental Center Headquarters, Chesapeake Bay Foundation (Annapolis, MD); and the Sundeck Restaurant, Aspen Skiing Company (Aspen, CO).

¿These first 12, which were certified through the standards set by the LEED pilot program, are only the beginning,¿ said Christine Ervin, president and CEO of the USGBC. ¿They represent a diverse group of building types and prove that any building can be sustainably designed and built. They also reflect the diversity of the USGBC itself, though one not need be a Council member to register for LEED certification.¿

More than a tool for prescribing standards, LEED offers educational guidance and supportive services as well as concise statements of requirements. The program encourages design teams to work closely together tackling common problems and developing common solutions.

Though each of the 12 building projects had diverse features that helped them achieve LEED certification, there were several common aspects in all the projects, according to Steve Keppler, LEED program manager. ¿Each was characterized by highly cooperative design and construction teams working out solutions together. Each had a level of innovation for applying sustainable technologies or practices. All the projects exercised good environmental vision with sound economic results such as construction cost savings, energy and resource efficiencies, or lower anticipated operating costs,¿ Keppler said. Additionally, Herman Miller, Inc., the designer and marketer of office systems, products, and services, was honored with a LEED Pioneer Award. The company was recognized for its support of the LEED program and for employing the system in the building program for its company¿s headquarters.

LEED offers credits and corresponding points in five design categories, which include sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, and IAQ. A total of 32 credits, with 64 possible points divided among the five categories.

LEED certification is awarded on one of four levels, with the first level being certification itself. For those projects with exceptional sustainable or green-building qualities, silver, gold, or platinum levels are awarded.

A LEED-professional accreditation program is in development for launch this summer. This program will train design and construction professionals, as well as owners and real estate professionals, in the LEED green building rating system.

For more information on the LEED program, visit