Building A Sustainable Building

My New Year begins with an introduction to LEED, which stands for "Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design." It's a government certification that stamps a construction project as green. There's so much 'green' that's not genuine, that I want the Logan Square Kitchen to stand out as a building committed to sustainability from the start. Anyone can say something is green, but I want us to hold us accountable to our community.

LEED is part of the US Green Building Council, which is part of the US Department of Energy. So we join the USGBC and register our project with LEED. Since construction projects vary so widely, each project reviews a checklist and selects the aspects of green design it can achieve. Then a point system awards one of four levels of certification: certified, silver, gold, and platinum. My mechanical engineer is also a LEED professional. We've reviewed the checklist and come up with a preliminary list of sustainable strategies for this project. We have a sustainable site, in that we're close to public transit and in a dense urban area. We'll conserve water, have very energy efficient systems and salvage construction materials where we can. New products are ideally produced regionally and contain recycled materials.

I learn that few kitchen projects pursue LEED certification, as it's challenging to meet LEED requirements, health code requirements and keep costs reasonable all at once. I'm excited to see the day when others come in to see how to design a green commercial kitchen. The Kitchen will teach sustainability in its construction, and in its operation. No one likes to be the first person out on the dance floor, so hopefully we'll get the party started.