Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design is a certification that aids in improving building performance and reduces the impact on the environment. It provides guidelines to create an efficient and sustainable built environment that encourages market competitiveness and public health improvement. People are becoming more conscious about their carbon footprint.
LEED’s Five Main Categories
LEED certification verification means a building has been designed and constructed using strategies to improve performance across all metrics under LEED’s five main categories. The categories include the following.
1. Sustainable Sites
The sustainable sites category supports site preservation, restoration, or management strategies that enhance the site’s natural setting, biodiversity, ecological functions, and associated watersheds. Site design minimizes the impact on the environment through strategically planned water and energy use, waste disposal management, and runoff water quality.
2. Water Efficiency
In LEED, water efficiency is defined as reducing water used indoors or in building materials during construction. It also includes how water is managed and treated after use to prevent pollution.
3. Energy and Atmosphere
Energy and atmosphere measure the building’s impact on the environment, considering energy performance, water efficiency, pollution prevention, and indoor environmental quality.
4. Materials and Resources
LEED’s materials and resources category reduces the impact of buildings by limiting the use of materials with high embodied energy, ozone-depleting substances, or highly toxic substances. This is done by tracking Material by Design (MBD) credits that include a requirement to use product categories identified in the LEED Product Category Library. Those building project teams that choose certified sustainable building materials get a 1-point credit for each certified MBD metric ton of product used for their building project over a baseline tonnage set for their rating category.
5. Indoor Environmental Quality
Indoor environmental quality (IEQ) is an interrelated set of attributes, many of which are monitored with the same types of instruments and technologies. They reflect the impact throughout a building’s life cycle: how products are designed and used, built, maintained, and operated; how materials are selected and processed; and how water is treated, distributed, and reused. IEQ protects human health by ensuring that occupants can breathe clean air, have good visibility and acoustics, and stay comfortable year-round with appropriate thermal control maintaining a safe environment for occupants.
Importance of LEED Certification
If you plan to construct a new commercial office building, there is a lot at stake. Factors like the location, tenants, available space, etc., need to be considered before construction begins. But one factor that is often ignored is the environmental performance standards. Some of the benefits include:
1. Indoor Environmental Quality
An indoor environment with good IAQ can help reduce sick building syndrome and increase employee productivity. Indoor environmental quality (IEQ) refers to a building’s air, water, materials, and lighting. The LEED certification program has several credit categories related to IEQ, including low emission materials and sustainable sites. LEED aims to improve IEQ to help reduce energy usage in all new buildings.
2. Reduced Pollution
LEED certifications help reduce pollution by reducing the amount of energy used for heating, cooling, ventilation, and lighting. Buildings have a reduced impact on water use and stormwater runoff. This is through water-efficient plumbing fixtures, sensors, and controls for irrigation systems landscaping with native plants that require less water, solar panels to generate electricity, and natural light provided by windows in work areas.
3. Implement Sustainable Strategies
Becoming LEED-certified can be a significant benefit for your business. It helps save money and attract new customers, most of whom are sensitive to issues. If you implement the many sustainable strategies recommended in LEED, you’ll be on the right track toward better things.
4. Reduced Energy Use and Carbon Emissions
Buildings that earn LEED certifications have been designed and built according to strict industry standards, reducing energy use and carbon emissions that positively impact our environment.
Building owners who invest in energy-efficient renovations can realize an immediate return on their investment, particularly when constructing new buildings. Using LEED-certified materials and following the best practices, you can save money by using lower-cost materials. Your purchase will last longer than if you chose conventional building materials. Many of those “conventional” building practices are less efficient and use higher levels of individual components, so they need to be replaced more often.
6. Manage Performance
The LEED provides building owners and managers with a method to measure how well a building performs from inception to operation. The certification process includes establishing prerequisites for certification, meeting conditions through design and construction, and conducting a performance period (must be maintained for a minimum of three years) verification review.
7. Conserving Water
Water is one of our most precious resources. It has become more critical than ever to conserve water and make the most out of what we have. To conserve water, homeowners are installing low-flow showerheads and replacing old faucets. These items have helped many people contribute to their LEED certification by reducing their household’s environmental impact.
8. Reducing Waste
Waste reduction is a vital part of the LEED certification process. A reduction in waste lowers costs and helps prevent adverse environmental impacts. By trying to reduce waste through recycling, donating usable goods, and repurposing unused pieces, hotels can take an essential step in becoming more environmentally friendly.
LEED certification is not something that you can afford to ignore. It’s a proven method of ensuring that your building meets the highest sustainable design standards. The fact that it is recognized globally makes it all the more important. And in an age when consumers are becoming more aware of their impact on the environment, LEED certification could quickly become a baseline requirement for any developer hoping to attract customers seeking out sustainable buildings. The bottom line is that this certification isn’t going anywhere anytime soon; it’s only going to keep growing and evolving as we see more and more companies commit themselves to sustainable design.