Definition, Opportunities, and Benefits to Becoming LEED Certified for Your Commercial or Industrial Building
As a business owner, and perhaps even a facility manager, you've likely heard of the acronym LEED. Many of our Commercial customers have at Blue Dot Services of Maryland. But they don't necessarily understand what it means, let alone why they should strive for LEED certification in their facility.
So, What Exactly is LEED?
LEED stands for Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design. The LEED system was developed in 1998 by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and is recognized as the international benchmark in the environmental performance of buildings in regards to design, construction and operations.
The LEED system measures such factors as energy savings, water conservation, indoor air quality, CO2 emissions, and our overall usage of non-renewable and renewable resources. A good LEED rating for your building symbolizes your concern for the environment and the impact your building has.
What are the LEED Certification Opportunities for Commercial and Industrial Facilities?
There are 6 certified projects in the LEED rating system that apply to non-residential facilities. Each system is tailored to encourage sustainable and efficient building and operation procedures.
LEED for New Construction: This system applies to the design and construction activities for both new commercial buildings and major renovations of existing buildings. Major renovations could include more efficient HVAC installation, building envelope modifications, and significant interior improvements to improve indoor air quality. Examples of buildings that could obtain this rating are offices, libraries, museums, hotels, and multi-occupancy buildings.
LEED for Schools: This system has a strong focus on indoor air quality and the health of our children. Such things as sound transmission, amount of daylight, quality of air, mold prevention and overall site assessment are measured. LEED for schools is meant for projects on academic buildings (K-12) that involve construction or major renovations.
LEED for Core & Shell: This system can be used for projects in which a developer controls the design and construction of the core and shell base of the building. This design and construction could apply to mechanical, electrical, and/or plumbing systems. This system can be applied to commercial office buildings, medical office buildings, laboratory facilities, retail centers and warehouses.
LEED for Retail: This system is meant for buildings that are used for retail purposes and spaces are leased out.
LEED for Commercial Interiors: This system is similar to the LEED for Retail system, but it addresses tenants in office, retail and institutional buildings. Individual tenants of these facilities can seek the LEED rating, although the rest of their building may not be LEED certified.
LEED for Existing Buildings - Operations and Maintenance: This system was designed to address the efficiency and sustainability of day-to-day operations in commercial and institutional buildings. It analyzes such things as building processes, operations, upgrades, and minor alterations. Establishments that could obtain this rating include schools, libraries, museums, churches, hotels and multi-occupancy buildings that are more than 4 levels high.
Why Strive for LEED Certification in Your Facility?
You may wonder WHY you should make changes to your current building, simply to qualify it for a good LEED rating. With LEED, it's not just your "score" or a number that is important. LEED symbolizes significant changes you've made in your facility that have resulted in both improved environmental and financial impact. Here are a few benefits to obtaining LEED certification:
- Lower operating costs and add to your bottom line
- Increase asset value
- Decrease overall waste produced
- Decrease energy and water consumption
- Provide healthier and safer internal environment and breathing air for occupants
- Protect natural and non-renewable resources
- Decrease in amount of harmful greenhouse gas that are emitted
- Qualify for tax rebates and other green incentives, both through the state and the federal government
- Demonstrate environmental stewardship and social responsibility
How Can Blue Dot Services Help You and Your Facility Become LEED Certified?
Blue Dot Services provides LEED administration and consulting services for building owners, developers, and architectural firms. Our vast experience with energy efficiency, sustainable building, water conservation, and alternative technology sets us apart from other LEED consulting firms.
Blue Dot has many LEED APs on staff, as well as multiple years experience in helping other facilities obtain their LEED certification. We will help you:
- Identify sustainable and mechanical improvements to your facility that can help you reach your LEED goals
- Plan the design and implementation of those improvements
- Manage and facilitate new construction if needed
- Identify the LEED processes you need to follow at every step
- Register your building and/or project with the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC)
- Ensure the construction team are following LEED procedures and requirements
- Document the construction at various points to show LEED processes are being followed
- Test design and implementation to make sure LEED goals have been achieved
- Submit your facility's final application to the USGBC for approval
- Manage rulings and appeals processes if your facility is not approved
Call 410.803.4200 today, or contact us online, to discuss LEED certification and Energy Star ratings for your facillity.