What is LEED?
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a nationally-accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. The rating system assigns points in six main categories: Site Selection, Water Efficiency, Energy & Atmosphere, Materials & Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality, and Innovation & Design Process. Buildings can earn Certified, Silver, Gold or Platinum level certification, depending on the quantity and quality of measures pursued.
If you weren’t aware, buildings are responsible for an enormous amount of global energy use, resource consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. As the demand for more sustainable building options increases, green construction is becoming increasingly profitable and desirable within the international construction market.
In the United States alone, buildings account for almost 40 percent of national CO2 emissions and out-consume both the industrial and transportation sectors, but LEED-certified buildings have 34 percent lower CO2 emissions, consume 25 percent less energy and 11 percent less water, and have diverted more than 80 million tons of waste from landfills. 1
The market is responding to these cost savings and environmental benefits at a dramatic rate. According to a Dodge Data & Analytics World Green Building Trends 2016 SmartMarket Report, the global green building sector continues to double every three years, with survey respondents from 70 countries reporting 60 percent of their projects will be green by 2018.
Benefits of LEED
Leadership in Energy and Environment Design or LEED is a globally system of certification developed by USGBC. The main objective of LEED is to evaluate a building’s environmental impact and to promote the use of sustainable designs. Further below are benefits of LEED.
- Cost Savings: Large organizations that change their interior lighting and HVAC systems to make them more energy efficient due to LEED certification usually experience a significant reduction with regards to their annual power costs. Furthermore, energy efficient structures have better value in real estate than the traditional buildings. When you opt to sell your building, it is likely that you will have a much easier time getting a buyer due the considerable energy savings.
- Enhances Productivity: Attaining LEED certification increases productivity since working in energy efficient atmospheres has been shown to boost employee efficiency. In fact, employees who carry out their duties in facilities and offices that have enhanced natural lighting and better air quality have a reduced absenteeism rate and retain their posts longer.
- Provides Significant Environment Proof: Getting the LEED certification usually involves a very strict process and it provides compelling evidence to your peers, clients as well as the public in general that you have attained the environmental goals. This particular certification also enables you to take advantage and use the increasing number of local and state government incentives. You will become more noticeable in your field and it can assist enhance interest in your business.
- Enhances Employee Health: Since implementing LEED strategies entail improving water and air quality in a particular building, it leads to enhanced employee comfort and health. This benefit is also reaped by every person involved in the project including designers, occupants and the society in general.
Green Building is Cost-Effective
- Upfront investment in green building makes properties more valuable, with an average expected increase in value of 4 percent. By virtue of lowered maintenance and energy costs the return on investment from green building is rapid: green retrofit projects are generally expected to pay for itself in just seven years. 3
- Green buildings reduce day-to-day costs year-over-year.LEED buildings report almost 20 percent lower maintenance costs than typical commercial buildings, and green building retrofit projects typically decrease operation costs by almost 10 percent in just one year. 4, 5
- Between 2015 and 2018, LEED-certified buildings in the United States are estimated to have $1.2 billion in energy savings, $149.5 million in water savings, $715.2 million in maintenance savings and $54.2 million in waste savings. 6
The Benefits of Green Building are Expanding the Market and Breaking Records
- The green building sector is outpacing overall construction growth in the United States and will continue to rise.By 2018, green construction will directly contribute 1.1 million jobs and $75.6 billion in wages by 2018 in the United States. The industry’s direct contribution to U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is also expected to reach $303.5 billion from 2015-2018. LEED building construction projects are estimated contribute 386,000 jobs and $26.2 billion in wages by 2018. 7
- As of May 2018, more than 19.8 billion square feet of building space is LEED-certified worldwide and an approximately 2.2 million square feet achieves LEED certification each day.
LEED Buildings Perform Better and are Internationally Acclaimed
- LEED is the international standard of excellence in green building, with more than 93,800 LEED projects in 167 countries and territories.
- LEED projectsare getting results across the board, scoring an average ENERGY STAR score of 89 points out of a possible 100. In a study of 7,100 certified construction projects, more than 90 percent were improving energy performance by at least 10 percent.