With the increasing demand for green buildings, the efficient way to assess a building’s sustainability performance is via LEED certification. Obtaining this certificate brings many benefits to businesses in general and particularly it’s occupants. For example, by achieving sustainable development goals, businesses can reduce energy consumption, and save water as well as maintenance costs. As a result, this standard contributes to the growth of the company along with achieving a sustainable architecture.
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- What is leadership in energy and environmental design (LEED)?
- Why is LEED certification important?
Leadership in Energy and Environment Design (LEED) is one of the most popular green building certification programs. In fact, this is a rating system recognized by the US Green Building Council to assess the environmental performance of a building.
According to USGBC, “Green building is the practice of designing, constructing and operating buildings to maximize occupant health and productivity, use fewer resources, reduce waste and negative environmental impacts, and decrease life cycle costs.”
Furthermore, LEED certification helps to recognize best-in-class building strategies and practices in key areas of human and environmental health. Therefore, it is important for business owners, tenants, contractors, and others need to increase their understanding of the certification framework.
Why is LEED Certification Important?
When it comes to sustainable buildings, more focus is on efficiency and cost savings for occupants and the environment. This can refer to reduced costs of operation, specifically energy and water usage as well as general maintenance. At the same time, sustainable development contributes to safer and healthier environments for the people who work and reside there. In general, buildings that achieve LEED certification offer many benefits to people from all walks of life.
1. For building owners
Corporate leaders believe that sustainability leads to market differentiation and improved financial performance. That’s why buildings with LEED certifications will gain a competitive edge in the market. Moreover, building owners can receive both direct and indirect financial benefits from tenants as LEED-certified buildings can attract environmentally-conscious clients and command the highest rents.
2. For tenants
Green buildings bring fresher indoor space and create a comfortable and healthy environment for building occupants. For example, people will be exposed to fewer volatile organic compound (VOC) emissions in the indoor air thanks to proper ventilation and high-efficiency air filters.
3. For contractors
Green buildings are becoming increasingly important, and tenants are demanding more sustainable buildings. In fact, bidding on LEED-certified buildings enhances a contractor’s brand as eco-friendly building trends grow each year. Since sustainable buildings are more positively perceived in today’s market, contractors with experience in operating LEED-certificated building will gain more advantages over the competition.
4. For the environment
LEED-certified buildings have contributed to reducing stress on the natural environment in terms of carbon, water, energy, and waste. At the same time, buildings with above-average energy scores produce more energy and resource efficiencies.
From an economic point of view, LEED certifications implement management approaches toward saving on utility costs. In other words, it is a requirement of using less water, heating and cooling systems, and other resources leading to energy efficiency. In addition, sustainable buildings that receive a LEED certification provide substantial benefits for tenants and users.
From the company’s branding point of view, having LEED certification will boost the brand image of the organization. This is because people are now looking for more environmentally friendly products and services. Therefore, using an eco-friendly office space shows that your company has a green mindset, which can be used to set you apart from your competition.
From the employee’s point of view, LEED-certified green buildings help to increase productivity and quality of work. As a result, improving job satisfaction rate and boosting the performance of employees in the long term.
From an environmental point of view, sustainability strategies are currently focused on finding ways to reduce carbon emissions in the environment. For instance, some common methods include reducing dependence on conventional energy by using alternative sources and minimizing waste.
LEED Certification Minimum Requirements
To achieve LEED certification, every LEED project needs to meet minimum standards or characteristics. In fact, these minimum program requirements can guide the types of projects that are eligible for LEED certification. At the same time, it helps to reduce the number of issues that arise during the certification process.
- Ensure compliance with environmental regulations and standards
- Must comply with minimum floor area requirements
- Meet a minimum of building occupancy in terms of the number of users
- Maintain a reasonable site boundary
- Be in a permanent location on existing land
- Share energy and water usage data
- Must have a minimum building area to site area ratio
Main LEED Certification Categories
LEED certification is currently used for all types of buildings (commercial or residential) and projects. In other words, this can be a new construction or sustainability operations and maintenance upgrades. Obviously, it represents a certification that “creates healthy, highly efficient, cost-effective buildings” that improve environmental performance from carbon emissions to indoor environmental quality. In addition, obtaining a LEED certification brings a positive environmental image to the community. Thus, it is essential to accelerate the development and implementation of green building practices.