False Claims Of Sustainable Best Practices Are Rising
“Greenwashing,” or false claims of sustainable business practices, is on the rise. The U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification is a useful measure to evaluate whether a facility is truly “green.”
Below are 10 key LEED characteristics that most—if not all—green facilities have in common:
• Materials used to construct the building are manufactured and obtained within a radius of 500 miles and primarily consist of recycled material such as steel.
• During construction, the majority of waste is recycled.
• Exterior lighting is minimized, reducing light pollution.
• The building’s roof is white (reflecting more heat than it absorbs).
• Premium efficiency electric motors are specified.
• Once the building is substantially complete, all equipment is commissioned to ensure performance is in accordance with specifications.
• Materials emitting only low amounts of volatile organic compounds are specified (for example, floor coverings, paint, adhesives, etc.).
• A maximum amount of windows provide daylight and external views for employees.
• Low-flow plumbing fixtures, such as toilets and sinks, are used.
• The building’s landscaping features plants that require very little water.
According to the USGBC, buildings account for 72 percent of electricity consumption, 39 percent of energy use and 38 percent of all carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions. By incorporating several of these practices, food logistics companies can truthfully decrease their environmental impact, while improving the bottom line.—Jayme Wu
Wu is a LEED-accredited professional and engineer with Stellar, an international design, engineering, construction and mechanical services firm based in Jacksonville, FL.