It’s a very simple equation that has triggered very major changes in the way manufacturers, developers, homeowners and city officials are approaching to the real estate industry.
Green buildings are rather quickly becoming the desirable trend in all aspects of the construction business, from commercial to residential. However, “going green” is not as simple as throwing a few solar panel windows on the roof and calling it a day. LEED® certification (which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is taken very seriously by the U.S. Green Building Council, who initiated the rating system as a national standard for environmental sustainability in design, construction and operation of buildings.
The LEED rating system is segmented into different criteria that span from new construction to school facilities. Each category is adjusted to incorporate elements of design and functionality associated with the particular type of structure. For the most part, though, the goal is to conserve energy used by the building in order to protect natural resources. This is accomplished with a number of new techniques and materials that are environmentally safe. There are five “shades of green” that indicate increasingly higher LEED levels – Certified, Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum.
The interest in green homes and condos is growing every day as more homeowners and buyers make a concerted effort to do their part in preserving the environment and maintaining a healthier lifestyle. People want to live in eco-friendly surroundings, so developers and contractors are taking steps to supply for the demand. In turn, individual cities (including Chicago) are doing their part by providing subsidies and tax breaks for builders who meet LEED standards. In some cases the payout from City Hall can be quite substantial, which will hopefully encourage more and more developers to think “green” in the future.