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LEED the Way!

Is your property on the path towards a sustainable future? LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is a certification process for buildings showing achievement in sustainability. It is the most recognized and widely used green certification rating system worldwide. LEED Certification covers a wide array of features, focusing on a building’s composition as well as utility performance. Let’s take a look at what it takes to become LEED certified.

Virtually every property type is eligible to apply for LEED certification – from commercial buildings to residential homes to various communities and entire cities. LEED understands that properties are, by their nature, often unique and vastly different from one another, so LEED has created a number of categories with different specifications for each. The USGBC website can help you with the most up to date information on what you need to know for each specific category.

These main categories are:

          Building Design and Construction (BD+C)
          Interior Design and Construction (ID+C)
          Building Operations and Maintenance (O+M)
          Neighborhood Development (ND)
          Homes (from single homes to six-story housing)
          Cities and Communities

 

Does your property meet the requirements?

In general, LEED certification is concerned with the materials used to build and maintain a property, the use and maintenance of building utilities such as power, lighting, and water, and the quality of health and comfort of a building’s inhabitants - all with a focus on environmental sustainability. While there will surely be many differences between property types and functionality of different types of buildings, there are three minimum requirements which all property types must meet in order to achieve LEED certification:

Must Be in a Permanent Location on Existing Land

LEED certification is tied to the building, neighborhood, space, and structure. For this reason, LEED Certification is available only to permanent structures. Requiring that the structure be on existing land protects ecosystems from unnecessary or harmful development.

Must Use Reasonable LEED Boundaries

All land that supports the operation of a project’s operation must be included in the boundary put forth for LEED Certification. This includes:

     land used by occupants of a project
     land changed or altered by construction
     parking lots, sidewalks, and other hardscape
     landscape
     septic and water treatment systems

     This requirement ensures that portions of a project’s land or building cannot be removed in order to better comply with requirements.

 Must Comply with Project Size Requirements

The LEED property types mentioned above have a specific guideline of size requirements. Check here to see if your project meets the size requirement for your project type:

Building Design and Construction (BD+C) & Building Operations and Maintenance (O+M)

Must include 1,000 square feet minimum of gross floor area (93 meters squared).

Interior Design and Construction (ID+C)

Must include 250 square feet minimum of gross floor area (22 meters squared).

Neighborhood Development (ND)

Must include two habitable buildings and be a maximum of 1500 acres.

Homes (from single homes to six-story housing)

The LEED project must be defined by all applicable codes as a “dwelling unit”. For this, LEED references the International Residential Code, stipulating that the dwelling place include (but is not necessarily limited to) “permanent provisions for living, sleeping, eating, cooking, and sanitation.”

Cities and Communities

LEED doesn’t specify a minimum for cities and communities (we are just going to hope that your city is already bigger than the property types listed above).

If you’re ready to become LEED certified, the USGBC website has a wealth of information that may apply to your project. Check out the full requirements and get your property up to LEED standards!

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