Since its launch in 2000, the LEED green building certification program has been recognized internationally as the leading benchmark for buildings that are designed, constructed and operated sustainably. The new LEED International Program furthers the global reach of LEED by emphasizing global consistency, enabling a regional approach, and providing local outreach and support.

The increasingly global nature of the green building movement - and its unrivaled potential to effect real economic and environmental progress worldwide - is at the heart of the Greenbuild 2010 International Forum, being held in Chicago Nov. 16 in conjunction with the annual Greenbuild International Conference & Expo. The International Forum is also your first chance to learn more about the LEED International Program from representatives of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the nonprofit organization that develops the LEED rating systems and hosts Greenbuild. Learn more at www.greenbuildexpo.org/international.

"For years, the leaders of the global green building movement have looked to LEED as the benchmark for what it means to build green," said Scot Horst, Senior Vice President of LEED at USGBC. "The LEED International Program allows us to work collaboratively to bolster the power of LEED to transform the marketplace in communities worldwide."

Over the years, the green building community has found many innovative ways to adapt the LEED rating systems to locally and regionally specific needs. Under the LEED International Program, a globally consistent set of LEED rating systems will ensure that LEED certification represents the same level of rigor no matter where a LEED-certified building is located.

This global consistency depends on the ability of LEED credits to be applicable regardless of geographic or climatic region. Under the LEED International Program, this does not require a fundamental change in LEED or a rewriting of the credits; instead, alternative compliance paths will offer country-neutral ways to reach a credit's intended outcome, allowing teams a non-country-specific option by which to earn the credit.

The regional approach of the LEED International Program will incorporate global perspectives through the LEED International Roundtable, with representatives from green building councils and leadership organizations around the world. The roundtable will provide regular feedback on the non-country-specific options and the LEED International Program in general.

"The LEED International Roundtable enables us to collaboratively identify common solutions to regional issues," said S. Raghupathy of the India Green Building Council, a LEED International Roundtable member.

And because all green building occurs locally, the LEED International Program will provide resources, tools, education and other outreach to help advocates and project teams find on-the-ground success with LEED. This will include some translation of LEED materials into difference languages.

For more information on the LEED International Program, including current members of the LEED International Roundtable and access to local outreach and support, visit usgbc.org/international.

For more information on the Greenbuild International Forum, visit www.greenbuildexpo.org/international.