Considering building a new facility for your business?
Are you considering building a new facility for your business? Are you also environmentally conscious and want your new building to be built with green building methods?
You may want to consider LEED certification. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a certification program that ensures a building is built with green building methods.
LEED is a rigorous program with several rating systems that evaluate the design, operation, construction, and maintenance of a building. Certification can be obtained on commercial and residential buildings. There is also LEED certification for entire neighborhoods. The program is international and provides building owners strategies to help ensure they use resources efficiently and in an environmentally friendly manner. During and after construction, verification by a third-party verifies that the building was designed and constructed using methods that help reduce water and energy use, improve quality of life and promote improved indoor air quality.
Considerations in obtaining a LEED rating…
The LEED program provides each building a rating, much like a car gas mileage rating. A building will accumulate points for various things such as being accessible to mass transit, using energy-saving systems and appliances, and mitigating storm water runoff. The LEED certifier tallies all the points for a building and then gives it a rating (Silver, Gold, and Platinum). The higher the number of points, the better the LEED rating.
There are several considerations in a LEED rating. Buildings that meet as many of the following as possible are more likely to be awarded LEED certification.
- Resources and Materials should be sustainable and locally sourced.
- How far is the building from available mass transit?
- What does the building have that helps improve indoor air quality and energy performance?
- Does the building reduce potable water use?
- If there is a particular concern because of the area, has this been addressed?
- Do the design and construction incorporate nearby ecosystems and natural resources, thus minimizing environmental pollution?
- Were new or innovative strategies incorporated into the building construction?
The 5 Rating Systems
There are five rating systems for LEED certification. These are as follows:
- Interior Design and Construction,
- Building Design and Construction,
- Neighborhood Development,
- Building Operations and Maintenance, and
- Homes Design and Construction.
The LEED rating system consists of credits and prerequisites. The prerequisites are green building strategies or elements which must be included for a building to be LEED certified. Credits are elements which are optional, but which can help gain points for LEED certification. To earn LEED certification, all prerequisites must be met. This earns a minimum number of credits. To earn higher LEED certification, other optional credits must also be met.