"Green" building techniques are here to stay, and Boston is a leader in the field. But being "green" isn't just about adding solar energy panels and additional insulation. Architects and builders make hundreds of decisions that affect a building's energy footprint, and the LEED checklist is how we stay on track. To give you an idea of what goes into a LEED-certified building, take a look at this top-level checklist for new construction.

Within each category, there are more checklists to further refine your thinking.

  • Is the building oriented in relation to the sun in order to maximize passive solar and natural lighting?
  • Can framing be optimized to use less wood and more insulation?
  • Can rainwater be diverted from the roof to water lawns and gardens?
  • Better yet, is a rooftop garden possible, to absorb heat and water, and improve air quality?
  • Where can residents lock and store their bikes?
  • Is the building near public transportation?
  • Where can we place receptacles for recycling?
  • Are the building's finishes friendly for those with allergies, asthma, and lung disease? (no toxic varnishes, no wall-to-wall carpets!)
  • Is the building handicapped accessible?
  • Are all appliances Energy Star rated?
  • How can we minimize light pollution? Noise pollution? Air pollution?

The building at 823 Main Street in Cambridge earned enough LEED "points" to earn the highest level, "platinum" status. You can watch it being built in these educational videos.