19 Aug What is a LEED Certified Building?
LEED is an acronym which stands for “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.” It is effectively a metric system which is used to determine how energy efficient a structure is.While many other types of certifications are binary, LEED operates off of a tiered point system. Depending on the level of efficiency the building demonstrates there are multiple levels of certification which can be earned. These rankings are as follows for a LEED Certified Building.
Why Does LEED Certification Matter?
LEED Certification is mainly used by federal and state organizations throughout the U.S.
Obtaining LEED Certification opens up a wide breadth of helpful opportunities to building owners such as tax credits or grants.
In some municipalities green certification on new constructions is mandatory and certain minimum standards may be required to be met. Having a highly scoring LEED rating may contribute towards or even completely fulfil these requirements.
Even in the case that LEED certification is not mandatory in your area, there are a number of other advantages that come about from obtaining LEED certification. In general, a LEED certified building is cheaper to maintain thanks to the minimized water, gas, and energy usage. Demonstrating progressive green building practices also can help promote your building, providing a great talking point which helps with public relations.
How Do I Get My Building LEED Certified?
In order to have a building undergo LEED evaluation, one must first register the building with the United States Green Building Council. The USGBC created LEED certification and are the ones who conduct evaluations. In order to register there is a fee which must first be paid and preliminary requirements which must be met. After registration there is a secondary certification fee which is determined based on the size of your project and its LEED certification ranking. More complex building projects with a denser volume of paperwork will net a larger certification fee.
In order to prepare for LEED evaluation the handy online certification guides found on the USGBC’s website will guide you through the requirements and considerations which will factor into your building’s LEED evaluation. While LEED certification is available for just about every type of building project, the requirements and score weights will vary depending on the type of project. Because of this it is important that you select and review the certification guide most fitting to the type of project you wish to have reviewed.
How Can You Tell If A Contractor’s Work Is LEED Certified?
Communication and oversight are key here. If you are interested in attaining LEED Certification when embarking on a new project, make this clear to the contractors you are working with as soon as possible. When selecting a contractor, check their previous work to see if they have any prior experience working on LEED certified projects. If the contractor has completed multiple high ranking LEED certified buildings in the past, it is likely they are intimately familiar with the requirements already.
In order to achieve the highest possible point values, many factors must be taken into consideration at the planning phase of the project such as the location of a building and materials used in construction. These factors can be difficult or even impossible to change in the middle of a construction project, but the extra points gained from them just might make a difference in determining your final certification level.
Once you have made your goals clear and have started on the project, you can use the LEED Certification rubric in order to ensure that the contractors you are working with are meeting your goals. A good contractor will be honest, transparent, and work with you to properly communicate the steps they are taking in order to ensure the project is meeting LEED scoring points.