LEED certification is a designation given to buildings that meet exacting standards of energy conservation and sustainability in construction, maintenance, operation or all three.
The qualifications required to receive this designation are exacting but worthwhile, because the LEED designation provides a variety of demonstrated advantages for the facility owner and the occupants. If you plan to build a new facility or upgrade an existing building, consider adopting the green energy standards that herald the future.
What Is LEED Certification? Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards were created by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), a private, nonprofit entity that promotes sustainability in building construction and operation.
LEED certification is a rating system that indicates the level of environmental impact and human benefit a building or facility carries. Certification levels begin with “LEED Certified” and increase to silver, gold and platinum. Factors that are considered in the certification process include compliance with environmental regulations, occupancy, construction materials and processes, site conditions and energy and water usage factors.
Advantages of LEED Designation Many governmental agencies offer incentives for LEED certification, including property tax exemptions, sales tax credits, reduced fees, grants and priority permitting.
The USGBC reports that certified buildings save energy and resources, reduce operating costs and attract better tenants. These facilities provide a more desirable and healthy environment for employees and increase staff productivity as well as retention. Energy certification also is a great public relations tool that companies can use to get media coverage.
The USGBC reports that 80 of the Fortune 100 companies currently use LEED.
Achieving High Standards in Your Facility To achieve certification for your facility, it is important to work with architects, engineers and construction professionals who are familiar with the process. The current set of standards is called LEED v4, and rating requirements vary for new construction projects, core and shell projects, data centers, schools, warehouses, and buildings for health care, hospitality, retail and distribution.
Separate standards are designated for operations and maintenance; interior design and construction; home building; and community development. It is also possible to certify multiple buildings together, such as a university campus or industrial complex. The USBGC awards credits for each factor listed in the v4 standards, and certification is awarded based on the facility’s total number of earned credits.
For example, a building can get credits for having a reduced parking footprint, easy access to public transportation or improved indoor air quality. Even if you don’t plan to seek official LEED certification for your facility, you may want to consider incorporating some of the Green Building Council standards.
DesignTek Consulting Group is Salt Lake City’s premier engineering and design-build firm. Our professional engineering staff understands the exacting requirements necessary to achieve this important certification with regard to mechanical, electrical, plumbing and structural design and engineering.
If you are considering LEED certification for your facility, contact DesignTek Consulting Group today for more information.