There are many benefits to making your next project green. One of the easiest identifiable benefits is getting tax benefits and credits through the LEED certification process. In addition, you may also make your building run more efficiently and have a higher resale value. It is not always easy to identify what the LEED certification requirements are. In order to assist you, we have compiled a look at these requirements in this article. To further assist you in your efforts, we have a team of LEED trained professional consultants who can help you along every step of the way. First, this article will look at the different aspects of LEED certification. Then, it will include a brief analysis of how meeting these requirements can save you money.
There are many different categories in which a project can earn LEED certification. These include the following: newly constructed buildings, the core and shell of buildings, schools, newly constructed or renovated retail locations, and newly constructed or renovated healthcare buildings. Each of these six categories has different certification requirements. In order to gain certification in any one category, you will need to satisfy the requirements of that category. Some of the requirements overlap. For instance, you can use solar energy in any of these categories. However, some of the requirements are unique to a particular category. In the school category, you can earn points by buying and using furniture that is non-toxic and safe for school children to sit in all day.
There are also ways that you can satisfy LEED certification requirements for your building’s interior design. Part of the certification process addresses the green design and construction of a building’s interiors. In this large category, there are two subsets, and they are devoted to commercial interiors and retail commercial interiors. There is also a certification for the operation and maintenance of existing buildings. This certification requires your project to address everything from the types of cleaning solvents that it uses to the way it addresses whether or not idle machinery stays switched on. You can also earn credits for helping to develop your neighborhood from a green standpoint. Even residential properties can earn LEED credits.
In every LEED certification process, there are six categories in which a project can gain points. These categories look at the following aspects: the sustainability of the site, the efficiency of the water usage on the site, the total energy use in the project and its effect on the atmosphere in the area, the usage of green materials, and the environmental quality of the air at the site. Projects can earn a total of 100 points. In addition, they can earn six bonus points for being innovative and four bonus points for being a priority in their region. If they earn a minimum level of 40 to 49 points, they receive basic certification. In the next level, they must earn 50 to 59 points for a silver rating. If they earn 60 to 79 points, they will get a gold ranking, and if they earn over 80 points, they will receive a platinum ranking. Residential properties are ranked on a different scale.
However, even with this information at hand, it can be difficult to assess the value of the various requirements. For the purposes of this article, we can show you a few examples of how projects have saved money. If you would like to estimate how much a particular green building technology would save you, you should speak with one of our green consultants.
Recent studies indicate that the efficiency of LEED buildings is good enough to cover the costs of implementing those building methods. For instance, one contractor has suggested that if a building’s energy usages are reduced by 20 percent, it can save the building’s owner about 36 cents per square foot every year. In a 100,000 square foot building, that represents a savings of approximately $36,000 per year.
Some LEED requirements help businesses save money by the way that these green efforts affect the people who work in these buildings. When buildings have a less toxic interior, the personnel in those buildings are more productive and sick less often. In the United States, it is estimated that the labor costs of the average business are approximately $150 per square foot per year. If a cleaner indoor environment improves worker productivity by one percent, it will save the business about $1.30 per square foot per year. In a 100,000 square foot building, that equates to a yearly savings of about $130,000 per year. Ideally, indoor environmental efforts will equate to more than a one percent increase in productivity and will save the business owner more money.
These are only two examples of how the LEED certification process can save you money. For more information on certification requirements and how they can benefit you, we at Burnham Nationwide would love to speak with you. We can guide you to the answers about how to save money while helping the environment.