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MPhil in Engineering for Sustainable Development

global challenges, engineering solutions

Studying at Cambridge

Jennifer Gonser

The United States Army Adoption of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Neighbourhood Development Green Building Rating System

Over the course of a few short decades, sustainable development has gone from an abstract idea to a business reality.  Developers world wide are beginning to realize that building green can be marketable and profitable in addition to corporately responsible.  In the United States, developers have created standards by which they can rate and compare their projects’ sustainability.  Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design: Neighbourhood Development (LEED ND) is one such rating system that establishes a benchmark for design, construction, and operation of green buildings.  LEED ND is designed to assess an entire community to not only ensure green buildings, but to arrange the entire community in a sustainable way.

The United States Army is not known for its sustainability measures or its role as a major developer, yet Army instillations house over half a million soldiers and their families worldwide.   Due to a changing world, the Army is moving into a period of transition and consolidation.  Current programs allow the Army a unique opportunity to expand some of its instillations extensively.  As such, the Army will be able to build communities all at one time rather than the traditional method of requesting and building one building at a time.  Furthermore, understanding that the Army is currently strained for time, resources, and money, and recognizing that it has a responsibility to protect the land that is entrusted to it, the Army has become increasingly concerned with the sustainability of its operations.

This analysis investigates the possibility of the Army’s adoption of LEED ND’s standard for its instillations.  While some of the elements LEED ND requires are aligned with existing Army initiatives there are also significant barriers to LEED ND’s acceptance such as cost and culture.  The process of Army construction as well as funding and design standards would need to change.  This discussion presented which elements the Army could readily adopt, which would be more challenging and which changes would be unlikely.  Consequently, elements of the rating system might be adopted but the Army would have to make significant sacrifices to accept the entire system.