The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) established the LEED rating system to universally recognize green building initiatives. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Designs, is globally regarded as a high-performance standard in building energy efficiency and sustainability. In 2016, the USGBC launched their LEED for Cities program to recognize geographical areas prioritizing green building designs. In September of 2018, Chicago became the seventh city in the world to earn Platinum LEED certification and now sits at number one on the USGBC’s list of “Top 10 States for LEED in 2018.” With extensive efforts to reduce energy consumption, the city of Chicago reported that its largest buildings decreased emissions by nearly 20 percent over the past two years.
There are several tiers of LEED building certifications including the standard certification followed by silver, gold, and platinum. The level of certification is based on a points system where credits are awarded by a third-party reviewer. Your building gains points on a variety of credits such as light pollution reduced, building-level energy metering, enhanced commissioning etc. In order to start earning points, your building must first meet the required prerequisites. Once the prerequisites are met, you can earn credits awarded through various rounds of public comments with the USGBC board and staff. According to the USGBC, there are more than 93,000 projects participating in LEED and over 2.4 million square feet LEED certified each day. Earning a LEED certification for your building will not only create a more sustainable environment for your employees, but your building will save energy, water, resources and set your company apart as a leader in energy efficiency.
General LEED certification requires 40 to 49 points, silver certification requires 50 to 59 points, gold certification requires 60 to 79 points, and platinum certification requires 80 or more points. According to the USGBC, “LEED certification ensures electricity cost savings, lower carbon emissions and healthier environments for the places we live, work, learn, play and worship.”
There are five primary LEED categories including building design and construction, building operations and management, neighborhood development, and LEED homes. The LEED rating system has evolved to match the technology and green standards of today. The current rating system is LEED v4.1 which was introduced in 2019. This new version is designed to be more accessible and user friendly while increasing initiatives to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
To get your building certified simply register your project and apply for certification. Once your application is reviewed and approved by Green Business Certification Inc., your LEED certification will be awarded. Energy efficiency is a large part of the LEED rating system and it’s also a 360 Energy Group specialty. Whether you are working to increase light quality or optimize your heating and cooling equipment, we can help. Remember that once your building receives LEED certification, your energy efficiency efforts don’t stop. Your building may need a tune-up to keep your efficiency measures in check and ensure that your building is running the way it is intended. Contact 360 Energy Group at 312-265-3971 or email@example.com.