LEED Buildings Should Also Be Bird-Friendly

Robin. Image Credit: Identify Birds.

Though solar lighting is easily one of the highlights of green buildings, but they’re not doing birds any favor. In fact, solar lighting may well be the proximate cause for the second top reason for bird kill—birds running into glass windows. In fact, the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s Migratory Bird Program reports that around one billion birds die from crashing into glass windows.

Billions of birds are killed every year for the seemingly absurd reason that they run into glass windows. Birds cannot distinguish between open space and glass. Since most buildings take advantage of passive solar lighting, birds easily mistake the interior of green buildings as the extension of the open skies.

As more green buildings with solar lighting are made, birds are increasingly under the threat of running into buildings windows and getting killed. The solution of LEED to this growing problem is to give credits for bird-friendly measures to the overall LEED score of a building.

Measures that are added to building windows primarily center on adding “noise”, which allows birds to tell open space for glass windows. One example is by placing in changes in the UV protection of the glass windows. Note that this won’t only make the building bird-friendly, it will also give additional protection to the building occupants. Another way is to place different coatings on the glass windows. In any case, Norsteel has mastered the art of integrating both advanced and simple technologies not only to protect the building occupants but also birds.

Aside from these building designs, there are also simple ways to make a building bird-friendly, such as turning the lights out when not in use.

Making buildings bird-friendly might seem to be the least of your worries when applying for LEED certification, building codes and the like, but there’s a pending federal law, the Bird-Safe Buildings Act of 2011, which might persuade you to think about investing in bird-friendly structures.


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