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Taking The LEED In Green Construction

New Construction

In 2005, Washington became the first state in the nation to require that all new publicly-funded schools, colleges, offices, and even prisons meet green building standards.

The new buildings are being rated under a program called "Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design," or "LEED." The program is administered by the U.S. Green Building Council.

A building earns points for energy and water efficiency, indoor air quality, and the use of recycled materials in construction.

Public schools could create a huge market for green builders. Washington State adds about one and a half million square feet of new school space each year - and from now on, those new buildings will be greener.

And, there's evidence that green buildings are better for students and teachers. A state report found that student tests scores improved, and student absenteeism and teacher turnover declined. Why? Because green buildings use more natural lighting, ventilation and non-toxic paints and glues. They're actually healthier for students and teachers.

Can our buildings be more comfortable and eco-friendly? Sure they can, and the Green Building Council's LEED program spells out how.

Script by Bob Rhein
Copyright 2007, Catalina Island Conservancy

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