LEED-certified projects: green or sustainable?

Ali A. Karakhan - Oregon State University

Sustainable construction has received significant attention over the last two decades. Sustainability in building design and construction is typically measured by the level of the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system certification given to the building. The aim of this article is to critically examine the completeness and effectiveness of the USGBC’s LEED rating system from a holistic view of sustainability that should ideally include ecological benefits, economic growth, and social considerations. The article focuses on occupational health and safety as a measure of social sustainability. Potential benefits of a recently released Prevention through Design (PtD) LEED pilot credit are also discussed.

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