The spring and summer months often inspire a fresh start, which is why many home builders, enterprises, and cities may take on construction projects with environmental performance and sustainable design in mind. According to the United States Green Building Council, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification has grown to become the world’s most widely used green building rating system, with nearly 80,000 construction projects participating in LEED across 162 countries, including more than 32,500 certified commercial projects.
How can you take the LEED on going green this spring, summer and into fall? Follow this guide to building green in 2017 as a go-to resource, providing you with insider tips on why you should consider this growing trend.
What is LEED and Where Do You Fit In?
LEED is one of the most popular green building certification programs used worldwide. It works for all buildings–from homes to corporate headquarters–at all phases of development. You can pursue a LEED certification from these different categories:
- Building Design and Construction (BD+C)
- This category is for new construction and major renovations.
- Interior Design and Construction (ID+C)
- This category is for complete interior fit-outs for office space, retail, and hospitality.
- Building Operations and Maintenance (O+M)
- This category is for existing buildings that are improving sustainability in operating systems and more.
- Neighborhood Development (LEED ND certification)
- This category is for neighborhood level projects.
- Homes (LEED H certification)
- This category is for single-family, low-rise or mid-rise multi-family structures.
Why consider LEED certification?
LEED-certified buildings use less water and energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions making them resource efficient. LEED-certified buildings save money. Building green is shifting away from an alternative way of building and quickly becoming mainstream. According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), over 80% of builders expect that by 2020 more than 16% of the homes they build will be green housing.
Why should corporate and residential buildings take the LEED and go green? There are many options to improve home quality, reduce energy costs, protect your health and have a decreased environmental impact. Many federal agencies and state and local governments reward LEED certification.
Here are some tips to consider as you “LEED” toward a greener, healthier, more sustainable life:
- Build smaller
- Go solar: consider all the options, such as passive solar
- Biogas systems
- Harness geothermal power
- Use sustainable materials: cork, straw, reclaimed materials, etc.
- Work with your land
- Focus on water reduction techniques
- Use energy star windows
- Use programmable thermostats
How Do You Get LEED Certified?
Interested in obtaining LEED certification? Start your LEED Certification journey today through this 5-step process:
- Step 1: Check the deadlines. At any given point, LEED rating systems are either open for registration and certification; closed for registration, but open for certification, or closed for registration and certification (sunset).
- Step 2: Register and pay the flat registration fee.
- Step 3: Identify which credits you want to pursue and begin the application process. There are one hundred possible credit points distributed across six credit categories:
- location & transportation, materials & resources, water efficiency, energy & atmosphere, sustainable sites and indoor environmental quality.
- Points are allocated based on the potential for good, for example, more points go for actions with the least environmental impact and greater human benefit.
- Step 4: The Green Building Certification Institute will review your application.
- Step 5: Institute’s decision for certification- at this step the building owners can accept the decision or appeal it.
The LEED certification process is designed to inspire project teams to seek innovative solutions that are better for our environment and our communities.
What’s next for building green? Creating sustainable manufacturing facilities. According to the environmental leader, the US manufacturing sector alone is responsible for 30 % of the nation’s total energy consumption and uses an estimated 15,900 million gallons of water per day, which is roughly 4% of total daily water use. Through LEED certification though, industrial facilities are more resource-efficient and high-performing.
How to maintain LEED success?
In the planning process of building a green building, you may face challenges. Gensuite can simplify your challenges with environmental and sustainability software solutions. With Gensuite software solutions, you will reduce regulatory and management challenges, enabling you to continue your journey to a sustainable and green 2017.
- Sustainability and Energy Management Software. Gensuite sustainability and energy management software allows you to track your sustainability footprint while identifying trends in consumption, cost, and emissions.
- Water Watch. Gensuite’s Water Management Software enhances site wastewater compliance management processes. Record wastewater monitoring data, track exceedances and wastewater treatment systems performance. Track permit requirements to drive execution of procedures for wastewater and storm water to assure compliance with Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) wastewater regulations, including Clean Water Act (CWA) and National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES).
- Regulation Tracking. Gensuite’s Regulation Tracker enables you to monitor and track new and updated regulations by country and jurisdiction with customizable, subscription-based user notification emails and dashboards for applicable environmental regulations.
Use this guide to lead you on your new path toward a greener, cleaner future – one that’s filled with renewable resources and a recharged LEED-certified building. With Gensuite EHS software by your side, you’ll have the tools you need to transform your company’s energy and sustainability initiatives. Join us and together we can reduce emissions and continue along a sustainable path into 2017 and beyond.