Thursday, November 03, 2011

Green Standards to Incorporate Bird Safety

For a long time, green building standards, as codified by the LEED program, focused on a building's energy use, often to the exclusion of other environmental considerations. One significant problem is that LEED-certified buildings often have large expanses of glass to let in light and heat and reduce energy use. Those same energy-efficient windows attract birds, which crash into the windows when they mistake reflections for trees and sky. Thanks to the work of the American Bird Conservancy and the Bird-Safe Glass Foundation, LEED certification will soon include credits for reducing bird fatalities.

To earn the credit, buildings must comply with one facade requirement, one interior light requirement and one exterior light requirement and develop a monitoring program.

The facade requirement focuses on the creation of “visual noise” to help birds distinguish inviting sky from unwelcoming wall by the making glass less reflective and more textured and/or opaque.

The lighting requirements can be met through actions as simple as turning off all the interior lights in a building at night or making sure that exterior lights are not angled up into the sky.
This looks like a step in the right direction. A green building ought to be safe for wildlife, to the extent that this is possible.