Green Buildings and LEED Certification

Going Green

Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC),1 LEED provides building owners and operators a concise framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions. LEED is an internationally recognized green building certification system, providing third-party verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving performance across all the metrics that matter most: energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.2

By going green with LEED certification, there are both environmental and financial benefits. LEED certification helps to: lower operating costs and increase asset value, reduce waste sent to landfills, conserve energy and water, reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions and qualify for tax rebates, zoning allowances and other incentives in hundreds of cities.

What is LEED?

LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED). It is a building rating system created under the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) to ensure greater environmentally and socially responsible action by encouraging the construction of green buildings. LEED provides building owners and operators with a concise framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions. It is an internationally recognized building certification system, providing third-party verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving performance across all the metrics that matter most.

These metrics include: energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts. Obtaining LEED certification brings many financial and environmental rewards. For example, LEED certification lowers operating costs, increases asset value, allows for qualification of tax rebates, zoning allowances and other financial incentives. Environmentally, LEED certification helps conserve energy, reduce harmful greenhouse emissions, minimize waste sent to landfills and shows your commitment to environmental sustainability.

What does it take to get LEED certified?

The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED building rating system is flexible with all types of commercial and residential buildings. Eligibility for LEED qualification consists of following a LEED Rating System Checklist that contributes to your specific project tally point total. Once all tally project prerequisites exceed the minimum number of points necessary to meet the Certified Level, LEED certification is granted. LEED applies to the entire building lifecycle – design and construction, operations and maintenance, tenant fit out, and significant retrofit. LEED for Neighborhood Development extends the benefits of LEED beyond the building footprint into the neighborhood it serves.

LEED levels and classes

When it comes to LEED classes, there are four. In LEED 2009 the threshold levels for LEED certification are:

Certified: 40 – 49 Points
Silver: 50 – 59 Points
Gold: 60 – 79 Points
Platinum: 80 or more Points

The LEED certification rating process is explained in complete detail in the Reference Guides issued for each of the LEED rating systems as well as on line at www.usgbc.org.

Minimizing your LEED certification costs

The cost of LEED certification depends on a variety of factors, including the type of certification desired, the project demographics and characteristics, grant availability and the experience of the LEED design team. Another important factor that can save you money is selecting the right stage of the design process to seek LEED certification. Universal Modular Building Solutions works hard to ensure costs are minimized while maintaining quality.

Conclusion

There are many benefits available to you when you build green. You can save both time and money by acting now. Universal Modular is able and willing to help you with LEED certification. As the US Green Building Council and the LEED building rating system continues to evolve, we encourage you to visit www.usgbc.org/ and www.gbci.org regularly to obtain the latest information on the LEED family of rating systems.

  1. 4. U.S. Green Building Council, "About USGBC". U.S. Green Building Council. 8/9/2009 .
  2. 5. U.S. Green Building Council, "Intro – What Leed Is". U.S. Green Building Council. 8/9/2009.

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