One of the objectives of solid waste managers is to find new ways to educate people about how to live and work more sustainably. When you build your new transfer station, material recovery facility or other solid waste facility, you have a tremendous opportunity to put into practice those sustainability efforts to show people what a difference it can make.
What does that mean for the design and cost of your new facility and how do you go about getting it certified? Perhaps all new government facilities in your area are required to be LEED® certified. LEED— Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design— defines and measures a facility to determine how sustainable or green the project is.
Why should you consider becoming LEED certified? There are many benefits of LEED certification. Reduced operating costs are a big plus. Sustainable features can also contribute to lower power, water and sewer bills, decrease maintenance on landscaping, reducing impacts on the environment, provide better working conditions for your staff and visitors by using fewer indoor chemicals, and providing better ventilation and more natural daylight.
How Do You Certify
Your Facility? Since its inception in 1993, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has developed green building rating standards. USGBC is a consensus-based nonprofit with more than 15,000 member companies and organizations representing the entire building industry. Currently, USGBC has developed nine different sets of LEED standards to help address different project types. These include:
- LEED for Schools
- LEED for Neighborhood Development
- LEED for New Construction and Major Renovations
- LEED for Core and Shell
- LEED for Retail
- LEED for Healthcare
- LEED for Homes
- LEED for Commercial Interiors
- LEED for Existing Buildings Operation and
Typically, solid waste facilities fall under LEED for New Construction and Major Renovations. To be certified, the project needs to clearly show the sustainable steps that were undertaken for the design, construction and commitment to the operation of the facility by submitting the required information to USGBC. USGBC has been working for a number of years to develop a standard metric that facilities could be measured against to determine if they are truly sustainable and would also prevent “greenwashing”— saying a facility is green/sustainable when in reality it is no more green than a traditional building.