Industry players cannot ignore the increasing demand for green buildings because of their several benefits. As a result, they strive to ensure their projects are LEED-certified. In this article, we will explore what it means to be LEED-certified, and the numerous benefits it offers.
What is LEED?
The US Green Building Council (USGBC), a not-for-profit private organization founded in 1993, developed the LEED program in 1994 to encourage professionals in the building, construction, and design industries to incorporate sustainability into their work practices. LEED is short for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. It has since become the global leading green building regulator. It acknowledges and certifies efficient and cost-effective buildings that are better for residents and the environment. These certifications are available for both new and existing buildings. Environmentalists, industry players, and consumers highly value LEED certifications because they encourage good green building practices.
What is a LEED Certified Building?
A LEED-certified building is one whose construction and design incorporates sustainability methods. The choice method is a function of the building type, its designer focus, and the certification level it intends to achieve. A building can qualify to be LEED-certified when it considers the following metrics:
- Responsible use of natural resources
- Energy savings
- Reduction in CO2 emissions
- Volatile Organic Compound (VOC) emissions reduction
- Reduction of negative environmental impacts
- Improved indoor environmental quality
- Efficient use of water
LEED-certified buildings usually consider the well-being of humans, who are the most crucial component of the building. They enhance their health and safety by incorporating the above metrics while boosting their productivity.
Learn more about the LEED requirements for Solar Reflectance Values of building materials.
Different Types of LEED Certification
There is a LEED certification suitable for all building types in all building phases. The USGBC awards you certification after considering the nature of your project. You must play your part by selecting a category that is well suited to you, depending on your goal. The LEED certification categories include:
- Building Design and Construction (BD+C)
- Building Operations and Maintenance (O+M)
- Interior Design and Construction (ID+C)
- Neighborhood Development (ND)
- Cities and Communities
Building Design and Construction (BD+C)
This certification is ideal for new construction projects and major renovations. The category also fits many core and shell projects and is suitable for distribution centers, hospitality, healthcare, retail, schools, etc., providing a comprehensive blueprint necessary to achieve a holistic green building and maximize its benefits.
Building Operations and Maintenance (O+M)
LEED O+M certification is suitable for improving existing buildings. Kindly note that these improvements may require minor or zero construction. The certification creates room for project developers to ensure the optimum operation of an entire building and its interior spaces. The inefficient operation of many old buildings informed the design of this certification.
Interior Design and Construction (ID+C)
Sometimes, an interior design and construction team may not influence the entire building operations. LEED ID+C comes to play here, as it enables such a team to develop environmentally sustainable indoor spaces. It remains suitable to certify green interior spaces in a wide range of environments, including commercial, retail, and hospitality.
Neighborhood Development (ND)
Developers handling virgin land development and redevelopment projects can apply for LEED ND certification. These developments may contain residential and non-residential buildings or a mixture of both.
Cities and Communities
Measurement and management of a city’s waste disposal, water consumption, transportation, energy use, and human experience is possible with LEED cities and communities certification. It is appropriate for either an entire city or a section, as it allows for a revolutionized city and community planning.
Various kinds of homes, including single-family homes, low- and mid-rise multi-family homes, can be LEED-certified to ensure lesser energy use, fewer resource consumption, and a healthier environment for the family.
How Does the LEED Rating System Work?
A credit-based system that appraises projects aspiring for LEED certification is the LEED rating system. The project earns points based on its compliance level with various green building strategies in several categories. There are four LEED rating levels including:
Certified is the lowest LEED rating level a building or project can attain by earning 40 to 49 points.
The Silver LEED rating level is one step above the Certified level. Buildings or projects can attain it when they earn a point range of 50 to 59.
This rating level is the second highest. Buildings or projects that have earned 60 to 79 points can attain it.
This is the highest LEED rating level. It demands buildings and projects to earn at least 80 points.
Why Should I Get LEED Certified?
Getting LEED-certified implies that you place a top priority on the design and construction of green buildings. It further strengthens your claim of being green. A certification from the USGBC can prove to the industry and your clients that you have attained a very high sustainable development standard. It can make your building more attractive to eco-friendly organizations and other businesses that recognize the value of green buildings. This next section explores various other benefits of a LEED-certified building.
Benefits of LEED Certification
LEED-certified buildings are beneficial to their owners, occupants, and the environment.
As the owner or operator of a LEED-certified building, the increasing demand for green buildings means a corresponding increase in patronage. The building’s positive perception in the market can allow you to charge a higher lease, and the effective management of its resources and facilities results in lower utility costs.
LEED-certified buildings ensure a healthier indoor environment for their occupants, as they properly manage various harmful emissions. Also, businesses that use these buildings typically have higher employee productivity.
The environmentally sustainable practices of LEED-certified buildings, like reduced waste generation, lower water use, utilization of renewable energy, amongst others, have an incredibly positive impact on the environment.
Trust Kaneka Energy Management Solutions with Your Next LEED Project
Kaneka Energy Management Solutions is dedicated to providing high-quality industrial solutions to all of our clients. Our energy solution services can guarantee you a boost in your LEED rating for both new and existing projects.