Gu, Donghwan (2015-05). The Effect of LEED Certification on Urban Heat Islands. Master's Thesis.
Sustainable building performance has become one of the most critical concerns recently, in architecture and urban planning disciplines. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification studies have proven that the LEED badge provides certain types of ownership benefits. However, it has not been shown whether or not a LEED certified building also enhances environmental benefits to its surroundings. For example, if LEED certification promises a standard for an environment-friendly building, then a group of these certificates should imply greater environmental benefits to the society. This is the main question of this study. The author answers this question through examining possible relationships of LEED certificates and their influence on outdoor temperature of surroundings. Overall results suggest that both LEED certification levels and the mass effect of LEED buildings do not have significant influence on regional climates in the Texas and Florida States. It should be noted that, however, the State of California resulted in an interesting output as it showed higher negative coefficients for the LEED concentration areas, and all the coefficients showed negative correlation with the regional climate. The modeling results by California State indicate that LEED certified buildings could lower the outdoor temperature by 0.3 Celsius, with Gold and Platinum certifications showing even better reduction capability.