GOING GREEN WITH LEED
What Is a Green Building?
Green building simply refers to a structure that is environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building’s life-cycle. From design, construction, operation, maintenance and renovation. It is designed to have a positive effect on the environment and its residents. Green buildings have also proven to be very cost effective, in some cases provided financial and other rebates, such as the PSEG – LI, upon going green.
LEED Certifications: A Way To Build Green
LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. It is one of the most popular Green Building Certification programs used worldwide. Developed by U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), it includes a set of rating systems for the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of green buildings that aims to help building owners and operators be environmentally responsible and use resources efficiently.
Any Building can be a Green Building, ranging from a house to a large factory. The good thing about LEED is that it has designed its guidelines for both, new buildings and existing buildings. LEED constantly comes up with rating systems customized according to the type of building, for example, the guidelines for a home will be designed keeping in mind the residents comfort and optimal usage of the resources. A large building has to comply with more stringent guidelines to reduce its negative effect on the environment.
LEED Green Homes
Simply put, a green home uses less energy, water and natural resources compared to a standard home. It is more efficient, and thus creates less waste. In addition, a green home can be a much healthier habitat for the people living inside.
LEED Certification: A building is categorized into 4 types of certifications according to how well they perform on the set guidelines.
Points are awarded under six credit categories:
- Sustainable Sites
- Water Efficiency
- Energy and Atmosphere
- Materials and Resources
- Indoor Environmental Quality
- Innovation in Design.
According to the total score, a building is then certified as
- Certified: 40–49 points
- Silver: 50–59 points
- Gold: 60–79 points
- Platinum: 80 points and above
Benefits of a LEED Green Home Certification:
Now the question arises, what are the benefits of going for a LEED certification and spending money on a consultant? Well, here are just some of the benefits:
1- Savings: You will be saving money!
LEED-certified homes are:
- Built to be energy-efficient, ensuring that the home can be comfortably heated and cooled with minimal energy usage; Designed to minimize indoor and outdoor water usage.
- Predicted to use an estimated 30-60% less energy than a comparable home built to International Energy Conservation Code.
Based on some studies, these homes could potentially see energy reductions of:
- Up to 30% (for LEED Certified homes)
- Approximately 30% (for LEED Silver homes)
- Approximately 48% (for LEED Gold homes)
- 50-60% (for LEED Platinum homes)
**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.
Several government bodies provide financial and other type of benefits to Green Building owners. Financial, extra Floor Area Ratio or tax rebates are just some of the incentives.
2- Value: Green Homes Create Value
Researchers found that between 2007 – early 2012, the value of homes in California with a green certification label was an average of 9% higher than comparable, non-certified homes.
Consumers ranked green/energy efficiency as their top requirement for their dream homes.
- Green homes sell at higher prices and faster than comparable, conventional homes. In 2011, the Earth Advantage Study found that, on average, green-certified, new homes sold for 8 percent more than non-certified green homes. Additionally, resale prices of existing green homes were about 30 percent more than conventional homes.
- Today’s tenants understand and are looking for the benefits that LEED-certified spaces have to offer. The new Class A office space is green; lease-up rates for green buildings typically range from average to 20 percent above average.
3- Well Being
The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that indoor air is two to ten times more polluted than outdoor air. LEED-certified homes are designed to maximize the quality of indoor air and minimize exposure to airborne toxins and pollutants. They require proper ventilation, high-efficiency air filters and measures to reduce mold and mildew.
Each LEED-certified home undergoes onsite inspections, detailed documentation review and performance testing to ensure the health and safety of home dwellers.
4- Saving The Environment
The LEED Certified Buildings have an overall positive impact on the environment. The guidelines ensure that the impact of the building is positive as compared to other buildings.
Some green homes further reduce our dependence on conventional energy by using alternative sources such as solar, wind, geothermal and biomass. Similarly, there are other sustainable methods that can be adopted to ensure the positive effect on environment.
Standard building practices use and waste millions of tons of materials each year; Green Buildings use fewer resources and minimize waste. LEED projects are responsible for diverting more than 80 million tons of waste from landfills, and by 2030 that number is expected to grow to 540 million tons.
So you will be saving costs, creating more value and doing your bit for the environment in the process.
How to go about a LEED certification?
The Cotocon group caters to LEED Certifications, ENERGY STAR Benchmarking Certifications and more. Get in touch with the Cotocon Group for a detailed explanation on how you can get your home LEED certified or call us at (212) 889-6566.