What Does LEED Stand For?
What Does LEED Stand For?
LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. It is a rating system developed by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) to reward and accredit buildings that follow good energy and environmental principles in design and construction.
Getting a building to become LEED certified is not easy to do. It requires an intensive documentation process that shows that the building meets the guidelines set by the USGBC.
Which Topics does LEED Certification Cover?
The LEED certification process covers 5 topics across the construction industry:
Covers environmental concerns related to building landscape, hardscape, and exterior building issues. Promotes responsible and innovative site design practices that are sensitive to plants, wildlife, and animals.
Addresses environmental concerns relating to building water use and disposal. Encourages the use of strategies that reduce the amount of potable water consumed in buildings.
Energy and Atmosphere
Green buildings reduce the amount of energy required for building operations and use more proficient forms of energy. Promotes the tracking of building energy performance, managing refrigerants to eliminate ozone-depleting CFC’s, and using renewable energy.
Materials and Resources
Focuses on environmental concerns dealing with materials selection, waste disposal, and waste reduction. Promotes responsible construction measures of selecting sustainable materials, practicing waste reduction and recycling.
Indoor Environmental Quality
Deals with environmental concerns relating to building occupants’ health, safety and comfort. Promotes responsible practices by improving ventilation, managing air contaminants, allowing occupants to control task lighting and thermostats, and providing daylight and views to the outside.
Building that meet set guidelines by the USGBC across these 5 topics will be able to achieve LEED certification.
Benefits of LEED Buildings
Some of the benefits of achieving LEED certification are:
1. Competitive Edge
Green buildings have lower operating costs and better indoor environmental quality, which makes them a more attractive option to potential corporate, public and individual buyers. Green qualities will give additional benefits that will enter into a tenant’s decision about leasing space and into a buyer’s decision about purchasing properties, building spaces or homes.
2. Attract Tenants
Today’s smarter tenants appreciate and are searching for the improvements that green spaces have over standard spaces. The new Class A office space exhibits a top quality interior environment and consumes less energy and water. Leasing rates for green buildings usually range from average to 20 percent beyond average.
3. Diminish Risk
LEED certification can provide a degree of protection against possible lawsuits through third-party verification of building quality measures. These quality measures are installed to protect indoor environmental quality, beyond just meeting code-required minimums. Buildings seeking LEED certification get city permits faster and special assistance, which is also considered a way of reducing risk.
Another risk mitigation benefit of green buildings is that they tend to sell and lease faster than similar buildings in the same city. Tenants are increasingly becoming educated and understand the benefits of them.
4. Great Return on Investment
The cost per square foot for LEED certified buildings in not that far off from buildings that are not seeking LEED certification. A 2% investment for a green building design results in life cycle cost savings of 20% of the total construction costs, which is more than ten times the initial investment. Additionally, building sale prices for LEED certified buildings are 10% higher per square foot than conventional buildings.
In the end, a LEED certified building will provide an owner a building with lower operating costs, greater indoor air quality and occupant comfort, reduced greenhouse gas emissions, increased energy savings and a very marketable real estate asset.