On This Earth Day, Are You Ready to Take the "LEED?"


Earth Day was first conceived in 1970 by Wisconsin Senator Gaylord Nelson when he witnessed the damage of the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill. Inspired by the student anti-war movement, he realized that if he could garner the same amount of passion and energy to fight air and water pollution, it would force environmental protection onto the national political agenda. 

Today, some 45 years after the first Earth Day, the work towards a greener planet continues and has expanded beyond the original focus on air and water. For example, buildings account for nearly 40 percent of all energy and 70 percent of electricity use, making them a prime conservation target. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building certification program, driven by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), is helping building owners and operators use resources more efficiently, and Honeywell is helping to make this program and its valuable impacts more visible to building tenants and guests through the LEED Dynamic Plaque program. 

LEED certified buildings save money and resources and have a positive impact on the health of occupants, while promoting renewable, clean energy. To receive LEED certification, building projects satisfy prerequisites and earn points to achieve different levels of certification. There are now more than 23,000 LEED-certified commercial projects and that number continues to grow as more and more building owners realize the environmental benefits of the program. In 2013, in an effort to efficiently manage the energy performance of a facility, the USGBC introduced the LEED Dynamic Plaque to continually measure and monitor building performance in five areas — energy use, water consumption, waste output, occupant transportation and human experience. And the following year, the council teamed with Honeywell to develop a method to pull energy, water and indoor air quality data from the building management technology that powers most facilities, and use cloud connectivity to feed it into the Dynamic Plaque. The system aggregates all the data to provide an overall performance score that reflects the LEED rating system. Today, that system is the world’s most widely utilized green building rating system. It is the recognized standard for leadership in sustainability. 

The plaque is an easy-to understand display, ideal for mounting in a prominent location so tenants and guests know the building’s current rating. It also features an application for anywhere access, helping further incentivize occupants to engage in actions that can positively impact sustainability.

Honeywell technology plays a key role in making the plaque dynamic, automatically providing near-real time information from building systems. The LEED score updates as data feeds in. A changing score can raise awareness of issues — and potential fixes — affecting operations. These Honeywell-powered plaques are being piloted at two locations, the USGBC headquarters in Washington, D.C., and the San Francisco office of DPR Construction, a national building contractor that specializes in technically complex and sustainable projects. DPR is using the tool not only to assist in the recertification of its LEED building, but also to help meet its commitment to becoming a net-zero energy facility.

“Buildings are alive, always changing and evolving, and optimizing technology and operations requires a solid handle on performance at any moment in time,” said Scot Horst, Chief Product Officer, USGBC. “Honeywell’s track record of innovation and leadership complements our efforts with the LEED Dynamic Plaque, and will allow us to reach new heights in changing the way facilities and communities are designed and managed.” 

Learn more about Honeywell’s green building solutions and technologies, including information on the USGBC LEED Dynamic Plaque.