What Are The Benefits of LEED Certification?
It’s the acronym on every construction manager’s tongue: LEED. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a certification program that denotes how “green,” or compliant in terms of energy conservation, water usage, air quality, and building materials, a building is over the course of its construction and thereafter. LEED certification comes in four levels. LEED-certified buildings have 40-49 credits, silver buildings have 50-59 credits, gold buildings have 60-79 credits, and buildings with 80+ credits are platinum.
In general, a company trying to be recognized as a leader in the construction industry would want to be LEED certified. Going green is already popular and momentum within the construction industry will only make green construction more prevalent. LEED is a big boost to your company's public image.
But beyond public relations, LEED certifications carry significant tangible incentives. For example, the US Green Building Council states, “LEED buildings have faster lease-up rates and may qualify for a host of incentives like tax rebates and zoning allowances. Not to mention they retain higher property values,” attracting more commercial construction companies to the field. And for residential construction companies? LEED-certified homes sell faster and for a higher price.
Home builders can also grab a $2,000 tax credit for building a green home. Construction companies can also advertise to future homeowners that a LEED-certified house could lower their insurance premiums by 5% and that their home’s value will be more likely to increase over time compared to similar, non-LEED certified homes in the same area.
Construction firms choosing to construct LEED projects will be adding to the security of their firm, as well. For example, Eco Brooklyn Inc points out that “the growth of LEED-certified buildings also seems to be recession-proof: despite a precipitous decline in new construction because of the bursting of the real-estate bubble, the total square footage of LEED-certified buildings grew by 14%.” In other words, LEED can help your construction business stay productive and profitable even in the hardest times.
Possible LEED Concerns
Some green builders have claimed that LEED certification is a gimmick to “get some plaque to put on your building.” Some notorious commercial buildings that achieved LEED certification have been revealed to be not as green or energy efficient as originally thought, causing legal problems not just for the USGBC but also for the architects and designers behind the building.
While there are valid concerns that LEED is more cosmetic than functional, LEED continues to be the industry standard for green building.
Showing the ability to design and construct LEED buildings can help any company—commercial or residential—attract clients. And on the individual level, as LEED and green construction becomes more popular, LEED professionals will become more and more sought after by employers.
Good for Your Company and the Environment
At the end of the day, LEED is a net benefit for construction companies who offer LEED compliance. LEED not only saves buyers money, increases building efficiency, and builds credibility for construction companies, but it's also an ethical system for sustainability. In reducing water waste and building on energy efficiency, LEED strives to make the world a greener place.