No matter who spins it, sustainable LEED construction has captured the attention of many people, impacting the design of everything from HVAC systems to building envelopes, from renewable energy use to LED (light-emitting diodes) lighting.

LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, has significantly impacted thinking about how our buildings and communities are designed, constructed, maintained and operated across the globe.

This construction is extremely beneficial to the environment and our society as a whole. It will help improve the lives of those who live around it for years and years after construction is finished.

LEED, as a green building tool, provides third-party verification of green buildings. Building projects must satisfy prerequisites and earn points to achieve different levels of certification. Prerequisites and credits differ for each rating system, and teams choose the best fit for the project.

LEED provides and excellent standard for new construction but what steps can be taken to lessen the footprint of a building that built utilizing older methods of construction?

One simple and cost-effective option involves retrofitting existing lighting with LED lighting technology. You might think that installing a little bulb that takes five minutes isn’t really doing much to help make your building greener. But according a 2012 DOE study some 49 million LED lamps that were installed in metropolitan test markets saved about 71 trillion Btu’s (British thermal units) of energy, or $675 million.

The report, Adoption of Light-Emitting Diodes in Common Lighting Applications, provides estimates of current energy savings. The DOE adds if these nine markets had switched to LEDs overnight, annual source energy savings could approach 3,873 tBtu, or about 3.9 quadrillion Btu (quads), saving nearly $37 billion in annual energy costs.

No small potatoes here. This amount represents approximately half of the total national lighting energy consumption in 2012. How’s that for a 5 minute install job?

Today you can buy an LED replacement for just about any type of standard commercial or residential light bulb at companies like  This makes it much easier to retrofit your out-of-date lighting with LED and reap the benefits that come with using this efficient technology. Today it is easier than ever to simultaneously do your part to save money, and save the environment at the same time.