Becoming LEED certified has been a popular goal among building owners and developers within the last 10 years.This third-party building certification system was developed in 1993 by the U.S. Green Building Council to “transform the way buildings are designed, built, and operated” and to “enable an environmentally and socially responsible environment that improves quality of life.” LEED certification is the most widely recognized green building rating system in the world with more than 79,000 projects worldwide. Every day almost 5 million people experience a LEED certified building. If you are interested in LEED certification for your next project, keep reading for an explanation of what being LEED certified means, and how to achieve it.
What is LEED Certification?
LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. This certification is essentially a green building rating system.The points-based system certifies that a construction or renovation project is green, meaning that the project reduces or eliminates negative environmental impacts and/or creates positive ones. The certification process will outline green solutions for building areas needing improvement. Both old building renovations and new building developments can become LEED certified, and their purpose, whether residential or commercial, is irrelevant.
There are four LEED certification levels: Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum. These levels are achieved based on how many points your building project earns; the more points earned, the more sustainable your building. The lowest LEED certification level is Certified which can be achieved by earning 40-49 points. The Silver level can be achieved with 50-59 points, Gold with 60-79, and Platinum with 80+. The highest number of points that can be awarded a LEED-certified building is 110.
How to get your building LEED certified
LEED certification involves fees, There is a flat, upfront fee for registration and then another fee once your project is completed. LEED standards are flexible, and take a project’s unique needs and challenges into account. That is why there are specific LEED rating systems for different types of buildings, each with their own set of prerequisites, or minimum requirements a project needs to achieve for certification in addition to points earned. LEED rating systems include: Building Design and Construction (BD+C), Interior Designing Construction (ID+C), Building Operations and Maintenance (O+M), Neighborhood Development (ND), Homes, Cities and Communities, LEED Recertification, LEED Zero.
There are credit guidelines for each LEED system that outline what each project needs to do do earn credits or points towards its rating. Click here to access the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED credit library and select your type of project to see which credits are applicable. It is not necessary to there to every single credit’s guidelines to become LEED certified.
LEED certification credits fit into one of the following overarching concepts of: energy and atmosphere, indoor environmental quality, integrative process, location and transportation, materials and resources, sustainable sites, water efficiency. Improvements in any of these areas can earn you credits. These concepts are also filters in the LEED credit library so you can see specific ways to achieve these credits there.
In order to become LEED certified detailed record keeping of each project step is crucial. Each step of a project can alter your LEED rating either positively or negatively. Waste management, for example, can impact your score depending on how much waste was generated and how it was disposed of.
In summary, to get your building LEED certified you will need to pay the appropriate fees, adhere to the prerequisites and credit guidelines for your specific project, and keep records of each step of your project.
Interested in LEED certification?
If you are interested in LEED certification, head to U.S. Green Building Council’s website to get started. LEED certification cannot be accomplished without the right partner. If your building is in need of renewable & energy efficiency projects EnergyLink’s team of experts will guide you through the design, build and funding stages of your project. Our team will focus on creating the unique solutions your building needs to achieve LEED certification and better building sustainability. Click the link below to get started on a full building analysis that will pinpoint areas for green improvement. If you would like to speak directly with a team member call (866) 218-0380.