With the growing trend toward energy-efficient and environmentally friendly consumer products, it was inevitable that building materials and design would follow suit.

Seeing that burgeoning interest in earth-conscience design, the U.S. Green Building Council in 2000 developed Leadership in Energy Efficient Design, or LEED.

LEED is a system based on points whereby building projects qualify for a range of certification levels based on categories like sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy consumption, materials, indoor environmental quality and innovation in design.

The green building council is the gold standard in rating environmentally conscience building design and features.

According to the U.S. Green Building Council’s Web site, more than 15,700 builders and organizations participate in LEED building standards. The council also notes that more than 3.6 billion square feet of building space in the U.S. meet the energy conservation standard.

It’s not only business that’s met the demand for conservation and environmentally sensitive building standards, but governments have also begun to take on LEED standards.

For example, last August the Oro Valley Town Council unanimously adopted LEED standards for all new town buildings, renovations and additions.

The town’s planned Municipal Operations Center in Rancho Vistoso and, if approved by voters in November, buildings at the Naranja Town Site both will be constructed to meet LEED standards.

Oro Valley joins the state government in mandating strict energy-saving measures for publicly funded buildings.

According to the Green Building Council, at least 78 cities, 24 counties, 19 towns, 28 states, 12 federal agencies, 13 public school districts and 36 institutions of higher education across the country have adopted similar mandates.

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