If you are looking to go green and earn LEED points and credits, it’s important to understand the different LEED Certification Levels made available. In total, there are four different levels starting with Certified, and building up to Silver, Gold, and Platinum.
LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. This international green building certification program is run by the US Green Building Council (USGBC). They are tasked with providing a third-party certification system to determine to what degree a building is constructed using green and eco-friendly practices.
The goal of this program is to improve the methods used to better protect our environment using a point system. It’s not a fail or pass scenario, instead there are different LEED Certification Levels that a project may qualify for. Certain aspects of a project qualify for varying points; the more points your project earns, the higher LEED Certification Rating you earn.
4 LEED Certification Levels
Certified: buildings that are certified LEED must earn between 40 and 49 points; this is the lowest level of qualification.
Silver: buildings that are certified as Silver must earn between 50 and 59 points.
Gold: buildings that are certified as Gold must earn between 60 and 79 points.
Platinum: buildings that are certified as Platinum must earn 80 points or more. This is the highest level of certification available.
The higher level of certification you earn, the more perks that will come with. Although, it is easy to assume that the costs and efforts will go up when trying to obtain a higher level.
To become certified, a building must be compliant with all environmental laws and regulations, as well as “occupancy scenarios, building permanence and pre-rating completion, site boundaries and area-to-site ratios.” Furthermore, the building manager must submit water and energy usage of the building for the next five years after construction is complete and building use begins.
Does it Cost More to Become LEED Certified?
It does cost money to apply for LEED certification, as well as extra time. All in all, it requires an additional investment, but oftentimes, this results in greater savings over time. Hence, why so many organizations, builders and corporations choose to spend the extra time and money up front in exchange for the benefits of being LEED certified. Also, many eco-friendly building design practices can reduce energy costs considerably, yet another way to save money.
Benefits of Obtaining LEED Credits & Certification
- Better for the environment and local communities
- Earn state-based tax breaks which can add up to millions of dollars over time
- Expedited permitting for LEED certified projects is available in some cases
- Saves money over time by using long lasting materials, as well as energy efficient designs that can reduce energy costs each month.
- Shows that your organization cares about the environment
- The end result is safer for future occupants
- Buildings that are LEED Certified have higher lease-up rates
- Take advantage of the benefits offered for recycled content, using renewable materials, and using materials that reduce waste over time.
- Get a backlink to your website – hey, it’s a small perk but it’s worth mentioning that every LEED certified project is listed on the USGBC website. Backlinks for government websites can help your rank on the web by showing you are a reputable company.
- LEED credentials can be used on your profiles, business cards, and so forth; thus, improving your professionalism and giving more credit to your name.
It’s important to know all the things you can qualify for points with, that way you can apply for everything that is applicable to your project. For instance, close proximity to bus stops can change your status. Also, the products you use to outfit landscaping can increase the points you earn.
LEED Standards are tough, and it takes time and commitment to apply for them and meet all the regulations put in place. Although, judging by all the benefits that can be earned – for you, your company, and the environment at large –it’s well-worth the investment of time and resources.
How TerraCast Can Help
TerraCast Products can help your project earn more LEED points, as many of our products qualify for credits. That’s because we make long lasting durable products right here in the USA using sustainable practices. Our black products can be made using nearly 100% post-consumer recycled materials. Learn more about our commitment to go green and preserve our planet over the long haul.
Looking for more information on LEED Certification? Visit the official website at www.usgbc.org