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Auto emissions not biggest source of pollution

Idaho Statesman
What has the biggest negative impact on our environment? If you answered the automobile, you´d be wrong.

According to the U.S. Green Building Council, buildings are the worst offenders. Buildings consume 39 percent of the nation´s energy and create 38 percent of the total greenhouse emissions. By comparison, transportation accounts for 27 percent of all emissions.

Lessening the impact of buildings on the environment is the goal of sustainable building design.

Green building isn´t a new idea, but it´s gaining steam with the addition of a recent building certification standard called Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).

LEED was developed by the Green Building Council. The first LEED-certified buildings were announced in 2000. LEED certification has four levels based on the environmental improvements incorporated into a new or existing building.

More than 1,000 projects are now working toward certification, including the Ada County Courthouse.

Local chapters of the USGBC are forming across the country, including Idaho. More professionals are also taking the step to become LEED-accredited in sustainable building design.

Bruce Poe, a principal architect with Cole Associates in Boise, was Idaho´s first LEED-accredited architect. Today there are more than 5,000 LEED-accredited professionals nationwide.

POE is leading an effort to form Idaho´s first chapter of the USGBC. The chapter is open to all organizations and companies interested in sustainability. POE said LEED-certified buildings cost more initially, but eventually the efficiencies pay for the improvements.

For more information about the local Idaho chapter call POE at 331-3200. For more information about LEED and the USGBC visit