LEED Certification Will Include “Bird-Friendly” Credits
This includes animal life. Sustainability enthusiasts often say that the actions we take affect the environment. They’re usually taking about the harm we create to our air supply with carbon emissions. Let’s look at an even more obvious example of harm to the environment: the effects of passive solar lighting on birds.
A building’s passive solar lighting utilizes natural light and heat from the sun. While this sounds like an innovative and energy efficient product, the problem is that birds cannot differentiate between an open space and glass. People joke that birds fly straight into glass windows. The reality is that this sometimes severely injures, or kills, the birds. As more buildings utilize passive solar lighting in place of normal windows, the more birds will be in danger.
Fortunately, there is a pilot program from LEED that has been developed to fix this problem. Credits are now being given to buildings that take this understanding of birds into account. Ways to prevent the dangerous confusion include so-called “noise” that allows the birds to differentiate between the window and the open air. This includes changes in the UV, different coatings, and other technologies.
It takes a true environmentalist to not only care about the energy efficiency in a building, but to also consider how his or her actions are affecting the wildlife that survives near the building. This is certainly a program deserving to be heard. Hopefully with the success of this program, more LEED professionals will consider the indirect losses to wildlife that could occur as a result of their LEED certified buildings. What good is preserving our environment with LEED Certification of buildings, if we are (ironically) harming other parts of the environment?