What is a LEED Certification?
LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a third-party green building rating program operating under the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The rating system is the globally recognized standard for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings and neighborhoods. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability.
The four-tiered LEED rating program awards points based on different aspects of sustainability, from location and planning to materials selection and energy efficiency. Buildings can obtain a Basic, Silver, Gold or Platinum LEED certification, based on how many points they score. Buildings of every type can register for a LEED certification, including schools, retail, data centers, warehouses, hospitality, healthcare and even single or multi-family homes.
You can find the LEED certification checklist and rating system for each project on the USGBC website!
LEED Certification Benefits
Healthier Workplace Environment
LEED building focus on improved indoor air quality conditions that reduce illnesses and increase overall employee productivity, health and happiness. In addition, the green initiatives supported by LEED buildings, including natural lighting, thermal conditions and other natural elements, make for higher performance in the workplace. A Harvard study found that working in green-certified buildings can improve employee decision-making and sleep quality, among many other health benefits.
LEED-certified buildings are designed to consume less water, energy and electricity, lowering utility costs significantly! Eco-friendly buildings also conserve materials, making it a worthwhile long-term investment. LEED buildings typically have recycling and composting programs that lower waste handling costs, as well!
A LEED certification demonstrates your business’s commitment to environmental sustainability and responsibility. By reducing your carbon footprint and maximizing energy efficiency, you can show customers that you care about the community and want to be a positive influence.
Potential Tax Incentives
Depending on your location and business, your company may qualify for tax incentives if you lease or own a LEED-certified building!
How to Get LEED Certification for Your Building
1. Identify your target LEED certification level
It’s important to know what LEED certification level you are aiming for so you can plan and budget accordingly. You want to make sure you can estimate the resources you need to get a return on your investment. Here are the four different levels:
- Certified (40-49 points)
- Silver (50-59 points)
- Gold (60-79 points)
- Platinum (80+ points)
2. Find LEED experts.
Seek out planners, architects, engineers and designers that are competent in LEED-certified construction and design. They’ll be able to help you maximize your investment and help you achieve the LEED points you need for your certification.
3. Register your building at http://www.usgbc.org/leed.
You’ll need to pay the flat registration fee. Then, select the rating system applicable to your project. There are five options:
- Building Design and Construction (BD+C)
- Interior Design and Construction (ID+C)
- Building Operations and Maintenance
- Neighborhood Development
4. Upload your information and documents.
First, identify the appropriate documents that you need to submit for the LEED points or credits that you want to acquire. Make sure the information is entered accurately and consistently.
5. Submit your application.
If you are using a LEED standard review, the submission will take one step. If you are applying for multiple projects, such as BD+C and ID+C, the application can be split into a design review and a construction review, which can be further divided into a preliminary and final review.
6. Get your LEED certification.
Once your application is reviewed by the USGBC’s Green Building Certification Institute within 20-25 business days, your LEED certification will be granted according to the points scored for your construction project!