A Beginner’s Guide to LEED Certification

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You’ve heard companies mention LEED certification before, but you’ve never really understood the meaning behind it. Don’t feel bad – it’s relatively new to the world of facility design, construction and renovation. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, and it’s the rating system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) in 2000 that has changed design, construction and operations of facilities in a little more than decade.

Simply put – LEED certifies that a building has achieved measurable environmental performance (and a corresponding rating) across five categories:

  • Site sustainability
  • Water efficiency
  • Energy efficiency
  • Materials selection
  • Indoor environmental quality

That’s right. It’s not just about energy efficiency; it’s the measurement of achievement based on the environmental goals put forth by the LEED rating system. Performance in these five categories can be measured a variety of ways. Are appliances water efficient? Does the building control storm water runoff? Do facility managers actively monitor energy usage? Does the facility encourage recycling? Is natural daylight available to employees? It’s a wide range of metrics, but that gives your business a wide range of projects to attack to obtain certification.

LEED certification has become a badge of honor of sorts for many businesses.

How so you ask? Many have found that it’s an important way to show customers that their business is committed to the environment. And between the attraction of new customers, and the potential of local, state and federal incentives associated with LEED certification, sometimes going green helps your business attract more green.

So what’s the first step in obtaining LEED certification and how much will it cost? Visit the USGBC’s LEED Web site for starters.

Fact: Did you know that the TXU Energy headquarters is also LEED certified?

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