As the green initiative develops, the U.S. Green Building Counsel (USGBC) continues to take applicants through its LEED certification process. The certification has quickly become a public label of environmental consciousness and corporate responsibility, but some question its need.

According to reports from Las Vegas' Business Press, the USGBC has 2,900 projects registered with the council. Of those, only 345 projects have actually received certification. These statistics are raising eyebrows among architects who feel that a good architectural design already incorporates everything required for LEED certification.

At the same time, even the most energy inefficient building can get LEED certification, as is the case with the MGM Mirage Project CityCenter in Las Vegas. The project can use recycled materials and collect storm water to gain points that offset its high power use and poor air quality. It is also unlikely that the project will follow the no indoor smoking requirement, but will offset that by gaining alternative points. Upon its completion, officials hope to call the CityCenter LEED certified.

Because buildings can be environmentally friendly without the LEED certification, some question whether the system is more about public perception than a revolutionary new approach toward design.

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