ASID: LEED + HEALTHcare Furniture
How important is LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)? How important is being green and living a sustainable, environmental, eco-friendly lifestyle? How important is it to live a healthy lifestyle? The questions we want to ask ourselves are the tough questions. Do I care? Am I responsible? Can you hold me accountable? As a former designer turned healthcare furniture representative, as well as a caring mother of three and a citizen of the United States, it is my responsibility to care enough to recycle, reuse, and to be resourceful. I do hold myself accountable, and I hope you hold yourself accountable too.
Years ago I sat in a seminar—one of those really long transformational seminars, an all day thing. I remember a lot from the weekend and I remember one particularly profound comment from the leader. As she ended the workshop, she said," Wherever you go, whatever you do, leave it cleaner than how you found it." This could be a prelude to learning the principals of Feng Shui, First Clean up Your Space! (Although, I don't need to remind you that your own mother has been after you your entire life to clean up after yourself.) I'll leave all the GREENMom's alone and switch gears to find out what our good friends at the USGBC (U.S. Green Building Council) are up to. The USGBC is leading the cause for our environment to be cleaner one building at a time.
LEED, which is an internationally recognized green building certification system, was developed by the USGBC. This certification system provides building owners and operators a framework for identifying and implementing practical measurable green design, construction, operations, and maintenance solutions.
LEED certification for a building is like taking your car in for an emissions test but on a much larger scale. Like any measurable test or certification, there are standards and criteria to pass. Achieving this certification is no easy task and many are to be commended for their achievements thus far. The word on the street is that furniture does matter. It absolutely matters how furniture is manufactured for a building that is striving for gold or silver level LEED certification. Think of it as if you were committed to living a green life and only consumed organic food. Don't you think that a building would only want green products to be placed inside it? :-)
Furniture—even if it only contributed to the LEED point system by .5—is important, even though a year ago it didn't seem to really matter. As furniture manufacturers race to tell their story and pay thousands of dollars to Greenguard their furniture, the ones who have put their foot in first will be the ones who see their furniture specified for Buildings marked for LEED certification. The designer, architect, engineer, and project manager have an opportunity to get the word out, including to the readers of this blog. Please share your comments with us to let us know what is happening in your world, on the jobsite, and specifying furniture. What are the hurdles you need to jump over and how can the rest of us help?