Time for another definition! Let's look at LEED. I realized I didn't define it in my earlier post on LEED and formaldehyde.

The USGBC (that's the United States Green Building Council) says that "The LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System is a voluntary, consensus-based standard to support and certify successful green building design, construction and operations."

In short, LEED certification offers third-party validation of a project's green features and verifies that the building is operating exactly the way it was designed to.

LEED was launched in the U.S. in 2000 and in Canada in 2004. Rating systems in both countries continue to evolve and improve over time as technologies, techniques, understanding, motivation and awareness improve. The Canadian and U.S. versions are very similar but adapted for regulatory environments and climates.

LEED-certified buildings demonstrate a commitment to environmental stewardship and social responsibility. Economic benefits include lower operating costs and increased asset value and many projects qualify for tax rebates, zoning allowances and other incentives.

Note: It is "LEED," not "LEEDS," and many LEED professionals take that 's' seriously, so don't call it LEEDS!

Feel free to suggest future acronyms to be defined in the "Alphabet Soup Series."

Elizabeth Baldwin has over 20 years of international wood sourcing experience. Very widely traveled, her résumé's "Special Skills" section includes "the ability to eat anything from raw horse to deep-fried scorpion." She serves as Metropolitan Hardwood Flooring's (metrofloors.com) ECO (Environmental Compliance Officer) and deals daily with the "green alphabet soup" of today's industry: FSC, CARB, LEED, and much more. She blogs for Hardwood Floors on all things green (and, as she says, " 'grey' and 'blue' and almost every color except 'black and white.' Nothing in this world is black and white, particularly not 'green issues.'")