Since LEED certification had emerged, it changed the whole US building and construction industry. LEED also gave the better, standardized definition to the Green and Energy saving architecture which aligned the construction's value-chain into more single direction from project initiation, design and development, building material products, construction works to commission and maintenance of the building.
LEED itself is just the good combination of standards and guildlines to achieve the goal of green building which might be reasonable or not depend on your perception. However, it was referable and coverd most of the aspect involved in the construction of the green building. And this makes the certification more practical and rapidly adopted.
Beside the construction industry, LEED certification influenced the emerging of 'Green Economy'. The economic benefits of green or sustainable building and development as EPA endorsed that “Well-designed, constructed, operated and maintained green buildings can have many benefits, including durability; reduced costs for energy, water, operations and maintenance; improved occupant health and productivity; and the potential for greater occupant satisfaction than standard developments.” It was mainly more efficiency and better for people that use the bulding. Furthermore, Green Building created many jobs which many of them never existed before.
Since LEED certification demanded the construction project to be complied with lot of standards, the task of the project team was also environmental impact assessment, ..
The materials and resources is the category that included in the LEED which is mainly about the environment impact of building materials used in the construction project. In this case, the materials that used for the building must not retrieved from nature or at least minimizing the impact of its production as well as the disposal of the them which also needed to be managed.
And within The Materials and Resources, the project required to be completed with certain amout of Regional materials, the materials that are parts of the building which are extracted, harvested, and manufactured within a certain distance of your project site. According to LEED Version 2009, the distance from site was stated to be within 500 mile or 800 kilometers radius. Moreover, the latest version of LEED (V.4) might not state the regional materials credit directly, but put more strict condition to purchased the local materials within 100 miles or 160 kilometers.
What will happen from this requirement? It turns out the LEED creates an opportunity for local producers of the building materials since the project are needed to purchase the locally produced material with some certain amount.
Although there are not many local producer of everything, especially the materials from the heavy industry such as steel beam, precast concrete part or metal pipe. But there are a plenty of that able to put the available local building materials into the project. for example, Bike rail, paving block, wood, curtain, etc,
Normally you will look for the familiar name of the barnd of products to specified to you projects. If you are an architect that need to specify for for LEED project, you probably look in catalogue for the producers within the distance as much as possible. And that how LEED provide benefit to local economy. The regional materials also create job opportunity in the building material companies as they expands their production facility to other area.
The local catalogue for LEED was created to ease the trouble of finding the suppliers within the region. There is the page provide in the AIA's Architect Magazine that advertise the building product with specific area. And there is the special sectoin for the local building product in the Green Build EXPO, the largest US green building material and technology exhibition.
I personally not sure if they expected this effect from start of LEED scheme. But what we experience today is that LEED has more positive impact to the society not only the environment. And whatever we complain about the complexity of its, LEED certification will go on with more influence and will have more endorsement from both governmental and private sectors as LEED can saves american local economies.