We are increasingly aware of the significance of environmental design in promoting smart growth through eco-friendly measures. LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is changing the way our buildings are designed, constructed and maintained by accelerating global adoption of sustainable green building and development practices. For both the commercial & residential construction and building maintenance industries, LEED is a method of regulating just how efficient the building practices are, and the specific impact these measures have on the environment as a whole.
What is LEED Certification?
U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) oversees the certification to a green building project (LEED certified), or an individual (LEED accredited), through the creation and implementation of universally understood and accepted tools and performance criteria. To receive LEED certification, building projects must satisfy prerequisites and earn points to achieve different levels of certification. LEED is flexible enough to apply to all project types and there are five broad rating systems to cater to multiple projects:
- Building Design and Construction
- Interior Design and Construction
- Building Operations and Maintenance
- Neighborhood Development
The more eco-friendly a building is (from how it is built to its projected longevity and sustainability values), the better LEED certification it receives. There are four levels of certification – the number of points a project earns determines the level of LEED certification that the project will receive. Typical certification thresholds are:
- Certified: 40-49 points
- Silver: 50 -59 points
- Gold: 60-79 points
- Platinum: 80+ points
LEED Performance Criteria
LEED scoring system recognize and award when “a building, home, or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at achieving high performance in key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.” LEED credits and prerequisites revolve around performance in these key areas of human and environmental health:
- Sustainable Site Development
- Water Efficiency
- Energy Efficiency
- Materials Selection
- Indoor Environmental Quality
- Location and Transportation
- Innovation and Design Process
- Regional Credit Points
LEED for Neighborhood Development have the following additional credit categories
- Smart Location and Linkage
- Neighborhood Pattern and Design
- Green Infrastructure
And it focuses on social responsibility through environmental stewardship in areas such as energy conservation, improving indoor air quality, reduction in water consumption and making better building material choices.
Why LEED Matters?
LEED certification must be of some benefit to justify the cost and effort in getting it. Consider the advantagess of LEED certification –
- Access to expert technical support and advice
- Marketing benefits of the LEED brand provides assurance of quality and proven performance
- The environmental impact on communities leads to a more energy conscious planet
- Integrated energy and water efficient design contributes to the well being and health of its occupants
- A more conscious energy use leading to cost reductions of 30% to 60%, which means real savings.
- Value addition to real estate price of the building, boosts the resale value.
- Sustainable and resilient buildings save money and energy
- LEED buildings have faster lease-up rates and may qualify for a host of incentives like tax rebates and zoning allowances
LEED building certification matters if you are serious about saving money, conserving energy, reducing water consumption, improving indoor air quality, making better building material choices, and driving innovation.
Learn more about our LEED Friendly Materials.