Fast facts around campus

Mark Linville

Since the opening of the Student Union, there has been a lot of talk about LEED Certification. The biggest question: what does LEED mean?

LEED is Low Energy Electron Diffraction, but when a building is LEED certified, the acronym changes to mean Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) describes it as “an international certification system used to recognize green buildings.”

“LEED is a third-party certification program and the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings,” USGBC official website says.

Another question is, what does it take to be LEED-certified?

LEED can apply to any building type, commercial as well as residential, as long as it is suitable and can meet the USGBC standards.

“It works throughout the building lifecycle – design and construction, operations and maintenance, tenant fit-out, and significant retrofit. And LEED for Neighborhood Development extends the benefits of LEED beyond the building footprint into the neighborhood it serves,” the USGBC official website says.

The LEED system measures a number of areas important and crucial for environmental design.

These areas include: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy & atmosphere, materials & resources, indoor environmental quality, locations & linkages, awareness & education, innovation in design and regional priority.

A building gains certification by obtaining a certain amount of points that reflect potential environmental impact. A 100-point scale is used in determining point rankings.

“Additionally, 10 bonus credits are available, four of which address regionally specific environmental issues. A project must satisfy all prerequisites and earn a minimum number of points to be certified,” the website says.

UMKC has two buildings on campus that received the LEED certification, Johnson Hall, completed in August of 2009, and the Student Union, opened in August.

All future UMKC buildings will be built by these USGBC standards.

For more information about LEED certification, please visit

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