leed certification

The Mary Free Bed YMCA is seeking LEED Certification.

The USGBC created the LEED rating systems to support the choice to build green and to provide third party certification for the green building initiatives professionals incorporate in the design and construction of buildings. The Mary Free Bed YMCA is registered under Green Building Design and Construction, specifically LEED for New Construction and Major Renovation v2009.

This designation identifies buildings that have taken a leadership role in implementing green building strategies. Green building strategies help protect the health of our natural eco-systems and preserve natural resources. Building green also means that the health of people is protected within the ecosystem and within the building. Indoor Air quality is protected during and after construction, so people can breathe easily.  An energy saving heating and cooling system means less is spent on utility bills. And the existing location of the building with access to public transportation and a variety of services improves the quality of life for all who use this green building.

When visiting the building, you may barely notice some of the small differences renovating green provides. But, small differences together add up to a major positive impact to people experiencing the building and to energy consumption over the lifespan of the building.

So, how does the Y align with the LEED rating system? First, it is important to know that the LEED rating systems are organized into categories and each category includes credits that are worth a varying amount of points. The point total determines the level of the certification. Below are the categories with the credits and a description of each credit that is being pursued.


Like all LEED certified projects, this project will earn all of the prerequisites required for certification. Construction activity pollution was prevented, the required potable water savings was exceeded, fundamental commissioning was performed, the minimum amount of energy savings was exceeded, fundamental refrigerant management was met, recyclables are stored on site, minimum indoor air quality performance was met, and smoking is not allowed in the building or on the property.

Sustainable Sites (SS): where the building is located matters

SSc2 Development Density and Community Connectivity

This location is located close to a variety of public services such as grocery store, place of worship, medical offices, and restaurants. Additionally, multi-story residential apartments support a residential density of 44.9 units per acre. This type of location supports walking and responsible land use.

SSc4.2 Alternative Transportation – Bicycle Storage and Changing Rooms

26 bicycle storage racks are being provided, which exceeds the required amount to encourage the use of transportation that reduces automobile use and all its environmental and health impacts. Additionally, the facility includes ample shower and changing areas.

SSc6.1 and 6.2 Stormwater Design Quantity and Quality Control

All of the site runoff is contained within the site in retention basins and in wetlands. This ensures runoff doesn’t cause problems for the neighbors or the earth.

SSc7.2 Heat Island Effect-Roof

Roofing material for the building is white, which helps reflect light and heat, keeping the surrounding area from experiencing an artificial increase in temperature known as the heat island effect. This can cause an increase in the energy use for air conditioning and increase all the negative effects of additional energy use such as air pollution and green house gas emissions. Especially in large cities, the increased heat can be extreme enough to cause heat-related health challenges for residents of the area.

SSc8 Light Pollution Reduction

The exterior lighting has been designed to minimize light trespass from the building and site. This reduces sky-glow, which reduces the negative impacts of light on nocturnal environments.

Water Efficiency (WE): water efficient fixtures save our water resource

That’s important because all the water we have, is all the water we’re ever going to have.

WEc1 Water Efficient Landscaping

The landscape has been designed to thrive with minimal use of the irrigation system. This will reduce the water usage for irrigation by 75.45% for the life of the building.

WEc3 Water Use Reduction

Water saving plumbing fixtures ensure that this building saves 32.21% more water than a typical building of this type.

Water conservation is one of the most important ways to protect our natural resources. The more we can conserve our daily water use to only what we need, the better. When we use water, we are also using energy because energy is used to process and transport water.

Energy and Atmosphere (EA): saving energy on heating and cooling

EAc1 Optimize Energy Performance

Overall energy savings for the building due to design and construction will save 18.34% of the cost of operating the building compared to a standard building of this type. That saves non-renewable resources and lessens air pollution.

EAc3 Enhanced Commissioning

Additional steps were taken to ensure the building systems were functioning as designed and provided the expected energy cost savings and indoor air quality.

EAc4 Enhanced Refrigerant Management

The refrigerants in the HVAC&R systems minimize or eliminate the emission of compounds that contribute to ozone depletion and global climate change.

EAc5 Measurement and Verification
The project is registered with ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager and will be documenting and sharing whole-building energy and water use data with the USGBC. We can improve our design and construction of buildings with more information.

Materials and Resources (MR): saving virgin raw materials

MRc2 Construction Waste Management

82% of the construction waste was recycled instead of being sent to a landfill. Making products from recyclable waste saves on the use of virgin raw materials and reduces the environmental impacts associated with resource extraction, processing, and transportation. The diversion of waste from landfills avoids the need for expansion or new landfill sites.

MRc4 Recycled Content and MRc5 Regional Materials

Materials used on the project contain over 25.52% recycled content. Additionally, 42.30% of the materials used were manufactured and the raw materials extracted within 500 miles of the project site. Both of these strategies help reduce the many impacts that material use has on the environment. As mentioned in Construction Waste Management, recycled content saves on the use of virgin raw materials. Using regionally sourced materials supports local economies and reduces energy impacts associated with transportation to the project site.

Achievement of 42.30% regional materials exceeds the amount that can usually be achieved and therefore the project earns a kind of extra credit called exemplary performance in the Innovation in Design category.

Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ): providing clean air
(it’s all about people)

IEQp2 Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) Control
The LEED rating systems include prerequisites along with credits. This is a prerequisite. You can tell by the “p” in the name. I’ve described the other prerequisites in the opening of this summary. But, this prerequisite is special because it directly involves the occupants; that’s you. Your health is protected by encouraging you not to smoke and ensuring that you are not exposed to second hand smoke.

IEQc3.1 Construction IAQ Management Plan

An Indoor Air Quality management plan was developed and implemented to protect the air quality during construction. The strategies included keeping air handling units turned off, protecting the duct work from contamination, controlling the source of potential contaminants, blocking pathways that could allow for cross contamination, cleaning the site throughout construction, and the delivery and sequencing of material installation was done so as to protect any contamination.

IEQc4.1, 4.2 & 4.4 Low-Emitting Materials – adhesives and sealants, paints and coatings, and composite wood products.

This collection of credits means that adhesives and sealants, paints and coatings, and composite wood products used in the building will not off gas chemicals into the air that you breathe. This protects the health of all the people who constructed the building and will continue to protect the health of all the occupants of the building.

IEQc6.1 Controllability of Systems – Lighting

Lighting controls in the building allow for user control to adjust light levels based upon need and save energy when light levels can be reduced.

Innovation in Design (ID): beyond the standard credits

IDc1.1 Green Building Education

This web page information and signage located within the building with project information allow for the earning of this credit by providing education and outreach in support of green building

IDc1.2  Reduced Mercury in Lamps

The light bulbs installed in the project have a low mercury content, which helps protect our environment from mercury contamination should any mercury containing bulbs be disposed of improperly.

IDc1.3  LEED-CI IEQc4.5 Low-emitting Materials – Systems Furniture

The project applied a credit from the LEED-CI rating system and selected office furniture that is low emitting, which earned an additional point.

IDc1.4  Green Cleaning
A Green Cleaning program is in place to help maintain both a clean indoor environment and quality indoor air

IDc1.5 Exemplary Performance MRc5 Regional Materials

Achievement of 42.30% regional materials exceeds the amount that can usually be achieved and therefore the project earns this point.

IDc2 LEED® Accredited Professional

At least one professional knowledgeable about LEED with a LEED AP accreditation worked on this project to guide the process and to earn this credit.

For more information regarding using a LEED rating system, visit www.usgbc.org