Have you heard of more and more buildings becoming LEED certified? Are you familiar with any of the many facets that go into LEED certification? If not, you should take some time to understand some of the basics of green building.
Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Certification
According to the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), “LEED … is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices. To receive LEED certification, building projects satisfy prerequisites and earn points to achieve different levels of certification.”
LEED certification has become the recognized standard for environmentally friendly building practices. The mission of the LEED certification program aims to “[transform] the way we think about how buildings and communities are designed, constructed, maintained and operated across the globe.
LEED’s popularity has only risen with its’ proven effectiveness. According to the USGBC, “LEED certified buildings save money and resources and have a positive impact on the health of occupants, while promoting renewable, clean energy.”
Levels of LEED Certification
There are four levels of LEED certification (from lowest to highest): certified, silver, gold, and platinum. Buildings obtain a certain number of credits for their adherence to the standards set forth for five major design areas: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality.
LEED Certification Benefits
For commercial construction and renovation projects, as well as interiors projects and existing building operations, going through the LEED process can reduce cost streams, reduce environmental impacts, foster a healthier working environment, and provide public recognition for leadership in sustainability.
The LEED certification process can also come with a number of additional benefits, including increasing the value of the building, reducing liability, improving employee relationships, reducing energy and water use, improving indoor air quality, and decreasing maintenance and operating costs.
The LEED process also encourages the use of recycle materials, which contribute to the overall sustainability of the facility’s site. Some LEED facilities have also reported that their improved standards have helped to ease the burden of recruiting quality employees and has reduced employee turnover.
According to the USGBC, “LEED v4 is the newest version of the world’s premier benchmark for high-performance green buildings. This version is bolder, more specialized, and designed for an improved user experience.
LEED v4 focuses on improving the understanding of materials we spec for buildings and the effect those components can have on human health and the environment. It also makes an effort to improve occupant comfort by using a performance-based approach to evaluating indoor environmental quality.
The newest version of the LEED certification process incorporates the benefits of smart grid thinking by offering a credit to reward green projects for participating in demand response programs. It also includes an evaluation of the building’s total water use to paint a clearer picture of water efficiency.
At Smith Bros Flooring, we have a variety of LEED certified flooring options. Please don’t hesitate to give our flooring experts a call at 1-403-255-7791 to discuss your specific green building needs today!