An important framework for sustainable building is LEED certification.
LEED Certification Meaning: What Does LEED Stand for and What Does Its Process Entail?
LEED stands for Leadership Energy and Environmental Design. “A globally recognized symbol of sustainable achievement and leadership,” describes the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED is a framework for constructing “healthy, highly efficient, and cost-saving buildings.”
Various elements make buildings green, and qualify them for LEED certification; some of these elements include:
Design, construction, and operation considerations that prioritize the environment, as well as occupants’ quality of life
Scalable design capable of adapting to a changing environment
Use of renewable energy, like solar power.
Efficiency of resources, such as energy and water.
A waste reduction process, adhering to the “reduce, reuse, recycle” mantra.
Superior ventilation and indoor environmental air quality.
The use of sustainable materials that are ethical and non-toxic.
Is LEED Certification Worth It?
There are a number of benefits that make pursuing and obtaining LEED certification for your project worth the effort. Some of these benefits, which we will discuss in more detail below, include:
But did you know that U.S. buildings accounted for 38% of all C02 emissions? That’s where LEED-certified buildings, pardon the pun, lead the way to increased sustainability. According to the U.S. Green Building Council, LEED projects represent a 34% lower CO2 emissions contribution.
Divert over 80 million tons of total waste from landfills; by 2030, they will have diverted an estimated 540 million tons of waste from landfills.
Avoid 78 million tons in CO2 emissions.
Pro Tip: Completing your LEED project with sustainable products—like subbing out gas generators for battery power and more sustainable demo tools like battery-powered wreckers and cut off saws—can make your commitment to sustainability comprehensive, starting from the drawing board with the buildings you design, to implementation with the tools you use to construct them.
2. Economic Benefits of Green Buildings
But aside from these environmental benefits that are naturally sought by those completing a LEED project, the U.S. Green Building Council highlights many economic benefits that make LEED certification worth the effort.
Creating a competitive edge – 61% of corporate leaders, they report, believe that “sustainability leads to market differentiation and improved financial performance.”
Attracting new tenants – LEED-certified buildings, they report, command the “highest rents” with “vacancy rates… 4% lower than non-green properties.”
Being more cost effective – LEED-certified buildings from 2015-2018 estimated a whopping $1.2 billion in energy savings, $149.5 million in water savings, $715.3 million in maintenance savings, and $54.2 million in waste savings. Maintenance costs at these buildings have also reportedly been nearly 20% lower.
Increasing asset value – According to the 2016 Dodge Data & Analytics report, owners saw asset value of their green buildings increase by 7% over conventional buildings, regardless of whether they were new or renovated; they also saw a 14% savings in operational cost over 5 years for green retrofit and renovation projects, likely to have significant (welcomed) impact on the pocketbook. The report for 2018 saw this increase to 10% increase in asset value, and nearly doubling since 2012. Resell value is also better, with a study of the Austin-Round Rock Metropolitan statistical area between 2008-2016 showing an 8% boost in value, while homes built with a wider range of green standards saw an additional 6% increase in value.
Creating justification for increasing rental rates – In Los Angeles, tenants were willing to pay $2.91 per square feet for LEED-certified space.
LEED certification is a globally recognized symbol for sustainable achievement and leadership—a gold standard whose guidelines most construction companies are already incorporating into their builds. We recommend supplementing your commitment to sustainability through LEED projects by adopting environmentally friendly construction processes:
Combining these practices will have a positive impact on the environment, the economy, and on the health of your buildings’ occupants, and represent the important role our industry can contribute to sustaining our planet for years to come.
About the Author
Lucas is Content Manager for the One-Key team. He’s equally passionate about creating useful content that helps contractors be more productive and reporting on cutting-edge topics in construction technology that might inspire further consideration. When not working, he spends his free time riding and enthusing about motorcycles.
More Content By Lucas Marshall