There has been a major push towards the development of
greener standards in nearly every industry. The reason for this range from
being more environmentally friendly to delivering higher performance. LEED®, or
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a rating system originally
spearheaded by Robert Watson in 1995 with the U.S. Green Building Council. It
has become the industry standard for defining the voluntary guides in
developing sustainable, high performance buildings. Because of its relative
early phase in development, the system is constantly being refined, updated and
modified –it has to be flexible enough to be consensus driven and open-ended.
Earning Points for LEED Certification
In order to achieve LEED certification, buildings need to
acquire points in various categories. These categories cover everything about a
building's design and implementation and are thoroughly examined before points
are awarded. It is based on these categories that a buildings LEED rating can
be given – Platinum, Gold, Silver or Certified. The LEED points system can be
broken down into six different categories.
- A building that has green
design innovations to set it apart from standard construction.
- The interior environmental
quality of the building.
- A property that is sustainable.
- The resources and the materials
used in the construction of the building.
- The quality of the interior
- The energy and atmosphere of
How to Apply for LEED Certification
For companies who want to apply for LEED certification, the
process starts by finding a LEED accredited professional. In Canada, the Canada
Green Building Council or CaGBC is the place to go to start the process. The
cost of certification varies based on the building, but can run from a couple
hundred dollars up to more than thirty thousand dollars for non-member, large
buildings. The paperwork involved in achieving LEED certification is often complex
and does require the expertise of a LEED accredited professional.
- LEED-NC – For new commercial
construction as well as major renovations.
- LEED-CI – For commercial
- LEED-CS – For core or shell
- LEED-EB – For existing
buildings wanting certification.
- LEED-H – For residential homes.
- LEED-ND – For full neighbourhood
Why Seek LEED Certification
The benefits of LEED
far exceed the basic desires of wanting to reduce your carbon
footprint, which should be something to be incredibly proud of in and of
itself. Other benefits of having a LEED rated building include:
- An increase in the value of the
property. In many cases, LEED certification has resulted in properties that are
valued much higher than comparable buildings that haven't been able to achieve
- LEED certification attracts
buyers as the new energy efficiencies are in high demand.
- LEED certification delivers
perks, in some cases you may qualify for tax breaks, the speed in which your
permits are processed is faster and there are often other perks as well.
Overall there are many benefits and reasons to have your
building LEED certified, not only for the environmental benefits but also for
the perks that certification offers.