Looking for a way to make your construction projects more sustainable? With green building becoming more popular over the years, construction firms are following suit to adapt to the growing market. One of the most prominent ways of practicing green building is by having projects LEED-certified and finding workers who are familiar with LEED practices. But what is LEED, why is it important in construction, and how can your construction firm benefit from it?
What is LEED certification?
LEED certification recognizes achievement in sustainability and green building. Buildings that are LEED-certified are officially recognized to be operating sustainably and are deemed to have been constructed with regard to the environment and waste reduction efforts. Workers can also obtain professional LEED credentials to indicate that they’re well-versed in sustainable building practices.
What does LEED stand for?
LEED is an acronym that stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, and is a globally-recognized rating system for green, sustainable, and environmentally-conscious buildings. Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED is a program that’s used all around the world, with rating criteria adjusted for local climate regulations.
What are the 4 levels of LEED certification?
LEED certification for buildings has four levels of achievement, with each level accomplished after a project has been awarded a certain amount of points through the rating and analysis system. The four levels are as follows:
- Certified green: 40 to 49 points
- Silver: 50 to 59 points
- Gold: 60 to 79 points
- Platinum: over 80 points
Projects are analyzed using a set of criteria, which can vary depending on location. Regardless, some common standards include taking into account:
- The type of materials used to construct the building
- If sustainable construction methods were practiced
- How energy efficient the building is
- Water and waste management systems and reduction
- If protections are in place to prevent light pollution
- Whether the building provides access to public transit
- Whether natural habitats were protected or restored during building
While not every single piece of criteria needs to be to the highest standard for a building or project to be deemed green, the more standards a building or project fulfills, the more points it accumulates for greater levels of certification.
Why is LEED certification important in construction?
Now that we’ve answered the question, ‘What is LEED certification?’, you may be wondering why it matters in the construction industry.
Every year in the U.S, construction and demolition projects generate hundreds of millions of tons of waste that end up in landfills. These projects are also a major contributor to carbon emissions, and with the climate crisis worsening, every effort needs to be made towards sustainability and waste reduction efforts.
LEED is a program that’s designed to help businesses of all sizes reduce their environmental impact and become more environmentally conscious, with certification officially recognizing environmentally-responsible construction practices and sustainably-operated buildings.
And it’s not just about reducing your carbon footprint – LEED certification can also lead to cost savings and increased profits. In fact, it’s been proven that LEED-certified buildings save money by costing less to maintain while producing less waste, lowering carbon emissions, and creating healthier places for inhabitants to promote a sense of well-being. For residential projects, LEED standards allow for natural lighting and improved air quality, which can attract tenants and create less turnover.
Overall, LEED is important because it encourages meeting environmental goals and enhancing resilience within the construction industry.
How to obtain LEED certification
Here’s how you can obtain LEED certification for buildings and projects, as well as how workers can obtain professional credentials to show that they’re knowledgeable in sustainable building.
LEED certification for buildings and projects
Buildings and projects must be reviewed and certified by the U.S. Green Building Council. Points are awarded based on adherence to carbon, waste, water, energy, transportation, indoor environment, and health standards. Certification is available for all building phases and types, from new construction to maintenance.
The process of obtaining LEED certification starts with identifying which LEED rating level is most applicable to the project given its available budget. Once you’ve done this, you’ll need to gather supporting documentation and submit an application. The application will be reviewed by a panel of experts, who will then award the project a certification level.
Professional credentials for workers
The U.S. Green Building Council also offers professional credentials to workers who want to demonstrate a thorough understanding of green building practices.
The LEED Green Associate credential is great for both experienced workers and those who are wanting to learn more about sustainability. With construction firms starting to see the value of green building, Green Associates are expected to be in high demand in the upcoming years.
To obtain LEED Green Associate certification, a two-hour exam must be completed. While there are no official requirements needed to apply, it’s recommended to study and have experience with LEED concepts.
Since green practices and available technology are constantly advancing and changing over time, workers who have obtained the LEED Green Associate certification must complete 15 hours of continuing education every two years to keep it.
Afterwards, workers can further their qualifications by applying for the LEED Accredited Professionals (AP) credential.
Manage certifications with Bridgit Bench
After learning what is LEED and how these certifications benefit your construction firm, you might be wondering how to manage and oversee them.
Use Bridgit Bench to improve your workforce management strategy. Our solution provides you with a dashboard to supervise personnel, including tracking to help you keep an eye on contract stage and any worker certifications.
Put the right people on the job, with people profiles that let you see every worker’s skills, experience, professional goals, and certifications. Plus you can add certifications and relevant attachments any time, getting warnings when they’re about to expire. It’s effortless people management for general contractors.