The most widely recognized green building certification system in the world, LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Read the following overview of the LEED-certified building process and learn why it’s important for sustainability.
Green Building Concept
The green building concept acknowledges that buildings can have positive and negative effects on human occupants as well as the natural environment. It covers all building project phases, including planning, design, construction, demolition, and operations. Based on timeless design principles of economy, utility, durability, and comfort, green building considers the following factors:
- Energy and water use
- Indoor environmental quality
- Building materials
- Site and location impact on the community
Using green building principles, project teams can work toward meeting LEED certification requirements.
LEED Project Rating Systems
Before a leed-certified building project begins, the project team must choose a relevant LEED rating system based on the scope of the project. Rating systems include:
- LEED Building Design and Construction
- LEED for Interior Design and Construction
- LEED for Operations and Management
Each rating system can be adapted to a specific type of project, such as schools, warehouses, and multifamily residential. Once the project team confirms that the project meets the requirements and prerequisites for the chosen rating system, it’s time to develop a certification strategy.
LEED Building Certification Strategy
Next, the project team decides what certification credits to pursue. The team will probably develop two certification strategies:
- Ideal case — the project meets all desired credit requirements for LEED certification.
- Minimum care — the project meets requirements for 40 points, which is the minimum requirement for certification.
Resources are available to help project teams develop certification strategies, including
- LEED Scorecard — Helps teams develop environmental and financial goals for their project.
- LEED Credit Library — Provides information on documentation and other strategies for obtaining credits.
- United States Green Building Council (USGBC) People Directory — Helps teams find general contracting professionals and other experts for their projects.
- USGBC Project Directory — Provides insights into similar LEED building certification projects.
How LEED-Certified Buildings Help Sustainability
Green building and LEED certification can help project teams and communities reach sustainability goals. In fact, LEED certification incorporates the three pillars of sustainability:
LEED buildings have a positive impact on all three pillars. For example, green buildings are designed to have cleaner indoor air, which has a beneficial effect on people’s well-being. LEED-certified buildings often use alternative energy, such as solar or biomass power, which has a positive effect on the environment. By 2030, green buildings are expected to divert up to 540 million tons of waste from landfills.
Finally, green buildings contribute to prosperity in many ways and can be a valuable option for investment property owners. Examples include reducing energy use by 30 to 60 percent and increasing home sale prices by as much as 9 percent. Research shows that existing green homes sell for up to 30 percent more than conventional homes.
Are you ready to begin the LEED-certified building process for your Boston-area investment property? Contact the experienced general contracting team at RH Blanchard for a free quote.