Businesses around the world are beginning to better understand the environmental impacts of their operations, whether in products or services. With more attention focusing on “green” choices and eco-friendly options, many companies may have encountered the term “LEED credits” and wondered what they were and how their business could earn and use them.
The U.S. Green Building Council
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, credits exist as a result of the U.S. Green Building Council’s work. This non-profit organization promotes sustainability and a low environmental impact in construction, building design, and business operations. Founded on the belief that all humans should have a safe and healthy place to live and work, the USGBC promotes the idea that leading long, healthy lives is a right, not a privilege.
Why Use LEED Credits?
LEED credits are basically a scoring system that any business can participate in; the LEED scorecard will reveal how well a company adheres to sustainable practices in the operation and construction of their physical locations. Available for nearly any type of building, this rating system is globally recognized and provides certification for businesses that complete the evaluation.
Why should a business bother with LEED credits? Businesses that complete a LEED rating and make appropriate changes to their buildings based on the results report improvements across a wide range of areas, as well as a better reputation due to higher USGBC ratings.
LEED is associated with economic improvement for businesses. Building efficiency can decrease operational costs and increase the overall value of business assets. 61% of corporate leaders view sustainability as an overwhelmingly positive trait that leads to improved financial performance. Tenants are willing to pay more for space in a LEED-certified building. Rent is higher than comparable non-LEED locations, and vacancy rates remain approximately 4% lower than competitors. LEED offers multiple economic benefits, from waste and energy savings to a reduction in maintenance and water expenditure.
Because LEED-certified buildings have earned their rating through sustainable practices and healthy choices, they also offer numerous health benefits. Energy-efficient buildings reduce pollution, improve a company’s public image, cut down on smog, and benefit the local environment. This means that employees will experience cleaner air, safe materials (rather than the potentially harmful chemicals used in paints and construction items), and access to natural daylight to keep them healthy and comfortable.
Workers who enjoy LEED-certified workspaces report higher workplace satisfaction, which is a key metric for employee retention. Employees are likely to be more productive and take fewer sick days for issues like asthma, allergies, and depression. This is partly due to the natural feel of a LEED building.
Businesses seeking LEED certification will discover that their CO2 emissions may drop by as much as 34% due to making smart choices in materials for construction or renovation. With an average of 25% less energy consumed, LEED businesses boast a much smaller environmental footprint compared to similar companies. They consume less water, divert more waste from landfills, and use energy in conservative ways that save an equivalent of 1.3 million tons of coal each year.
While the steps that a business needs to take to receive LEED certification points will vary by individual company, some general guidelines are available for all businesses to follow as they begin the certification process. A building must comply with regulations and standards to begin, and pre-specified requirements like floor area and building to site area ratios must be followed. The location must maintain a reasonable site boundary and be a permanent building. The business must also be willing to share energy and water usage data before the process can begin.
Any business seeking LEED certification must complete four specific steps. First, the business must register by completing the required forms and preparing the appropriate payment. At that point, the completed application can be sent in for review. Next, Green Business Certification Inc. will review the application; during this time, the business must wait. Finally, the company can review the GBCI’s certification decision and begin making changes according to the organization’s determinations.
Get Started on LEED Credits with Tower Water
Seeking LEED certification might seem overwhelming, but the process is relatively simple. Tower Water can review your water usage and reuse capabilities using water treatment knowledge and advise you on improving the systems to be more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly. Reach out to Tower Water today to get improve the quality of your water treatment and filtration systems while obtaining certification points towards LEED Certification.