Achieving LEED standards set forth by the U.S. Green Building Council in 2000 requires true commitment on the part of a builder, and if there were a holy grail of achievement in meeting such rigorous standards, it would certainly be for the highest LEED level – LEED platinum.
This year, the USGBC is set to update its standards, dubbing the effort LEED 2012. The LEED certification process developed in 1998 provides independent, third-party verification that a single structure—business or residence—or an entire community was designed and built employing strategies to achieve high performance in key areas including: human and environmental health, sustainability, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality. Achieving credits based on a 100-point system determines the four levels of LEED achievement: Certified (40-49 points); Silver (50-59); Gold 60-79); and Platinum (80 points and above).
There are now some 7,000 LEED-approved projects throughout the United States and 30 other countries, covering more than one billion square feet of space. Of those, just over 1,000 have been able to achieve Platinum status. In our home state of Illinois, roughly 30 projects represent a cross-section of building uses — from a Chipotle Mexican Grill restaurant in Gurnee Mills to the University of Illinois-at Urbana-Champaign campus boasting of its business instructional facility being so rated.
Simply put, the reason there are so few Platinum-level buildings to be found is that getting to that level is hard! It’s so hard, in fact, that sometimes one wonders if divine inspiration and intervention might be required to achieve the coveted LEED standard.
Here in Burnham Nationwide’s home state, one Platinum project extends that concept. In Evanston, Illinois, the Jewish Reconstructionist Congregation became the first to attain LEED Platinum rating. The American Institute of Architects and the group’s Committee on the Environment also has named it as one of the top green buildings.
In neighboring Wisconsin, a monastery in Madison displayed its own commitment to Platinum-level standards. The different elements installed in achieving the high designation hint at the breadth of design needed to be called a green building. The centerpiece of such design was the monastery’s geothermal heating and cooling system that was approved for construction by the Benedictine women of Madison. The system uses roughly 40 closed-loop wells at a depth of 300 feet each.
In addition to the Chipotle’s eatery, synagogue, and five private homes in our home state—three in our Chicago base and one apiece in Elgin and Glencoe—just a few projects have managed to achieve Platinum. Looking through the list gives one the sense of the possible in achieving the coveted standard given the sheer scope of projects. Among those achieving Platinum LEED in Illinois are:
- The 550 West Washington building – Chicago
- The Center for Neighborhood Technology Renovation – Chicago
- Christy Webber Landscapes, Greenworks Office & Storage Building – Chicago
- The office interiors at the Environmental Law and Policy Center – Chicago
- Erin’s Pavilion – Springfield
- The Evelyn-Pease Tyner Interpretative Center – Air Station Prairie, Glenco
- Headquarters of Exelon, including the 55th floor – Chicago
- The FBI regional office – Chicago
- The Gensler office – Chicago
- The Hidden Oaks Nature Center – Bolingbrook
- The HOK office – Chicago
- Hyatt Center – Chicago
- The Kenmore Senior Apartments affordable housing complex – Chicago
- The McDonald’s corporate world headquarters campus office building – Oak Brook
- McGuire Engineers – Chicago
- Other World Computing – Woodstock
- The Pepsico Chicago Sustainability Center – Chicago
- An office renovation project at Perkins+Will – Chicago
- The Richland Community College Center for Sustainability and Innovation – Decatur
- The Ryerson Woods Conservation Area Visitors Center – Lake County Forest Preserve District, Deerfield
- The Shaw Technology and Learning Center – Chicago
- Tesla Produce – Chicago
With Burnham Nationwide as your trusted partner, you won’t need supernatural guidance in your own quest for LEED designation. Our team of professionals is well versed in all things LEED-related and can help you achieve your own level. Who knows? It might even be LEED Platinum! Contact us via Burnhamnationwide.com or by calling toll free at 800-407-7990, and don’t forget to “like” us on Facebook!