What is LEED Certification and Why is it Important in Construction?
Sustainability is a major concern for modern construction companies. It’s crucial to consider how a construction project will impact the environment and the health and safety of our global community.
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) first developed the LEED certification program in 1993, and it has been evolving ever since. Now the most widely used green building rating system in the world, LEED—which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design—provides a framework for green buildings that contractors can follow to meet sustainability goals and ensure their processes are environmentally-friendly.
What are the LEED guidelines?
The goal of the LEED certification program is to promote better, more sustainable construction practices through all phases of a project, including final use. LEED guidelines focus on reducing contribution to climate change, protecting water resources, promoting sustainable and regenerative material usage, and protecting human health.
There are different sets of LEED criteria for:
- Building design and construction
- Interior design and construction
- Building operations and maintenance
- Neighborhood development
- City and community development
- Residential construction
The specific guidelines for each of these areas of construction vary. However, they share a focus on monitoring carbon emissions, energy usage, waste management, transportation methods, and the project’s overall effect on environmental quality. Contractors are also expected to use materials that are both safe and—if at all possible—renewable.
Official LEED requirements are linked through the USGBC website.
How does LEED certification work?
To achieve LEED certification, first you must properly submit a project for consideration. All relevant information about a project must be collected, organized, and submitted to USGBC along with an application.
After a careful review process, USGBC will reward each project points according to a standardized rating process. The better the project adheres to LEED guidelines, the higher that project’s LEED score will be.
The four levels of LEED certification are:
- Certified (40-49 points)
- Silver (50-59 points)
- Gold (60-79 points)
- Platinum (80+ points)
Why is LEED certification important?
The LEED program gives contractors clear guidelines for environmentally-conscious construction. Conserving the environment, reducing pollution, protecting human health, and using renewable resources ultimately improves the lives of members of both our local communities and the population worldwide.
LEED certification can also give your construction company a competitive edge—LEED certified buildings are efficient and cost-effective. Following LEED guidelines generally leads to reduced costs in energy, water, waste management, and building maintenance.
You’ll also attract better business. Because sustainability is an increasingly important issue for many people, LEED certification can make your construction company stand out as a leader amongst the crowd.
How can I ensure my project meets LEED standards?
The key to meeting LEED certification standards is effective project management. You’ll not only need to monitor your progress to ensure you’re consistently following guidelines, you’ll also need to organize and submit all the relevant information required to achieve certification.
Raken’s construction management software makes collecting and reviewing high quality data easy. With digital daily reporting, photo and video documentation, and streamlined material tracking, you will be able to assess the status of your project in real time—and correct any potential issues to keep your LEED certification on track.
When it’s time to submit, all your information will be stored in the same place.