Becoming LEED Certified: Guidelines for Green Structures

Heather Atkinson

Nvate Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, LEED,U.S. Green Building Council, LEED rating, Wounded Warrior Bachelor Enlisted Quarters, Kantor Residence, LEED certification

With today’s growing concern for the environment and our increasing desire to reduce our carbon footprint, many companies and individuals across the country are redesigning their homes and buildings to uphold certain standards. These standards can earn these people and companies awards in various degrees of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, certification.

According to the U.S. Green Building Council website, LEED is a tool for green building that takes into consideration the entire structure and devises personalized building strategies that will help the structure conserve resources; provide a safer, healthier atmosphere and dramatically lower operating costs.

How LEED Helps Builders Conserve the Environment

Nvate Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, LEED,U.S. Green Building Council, LEED rating, Wounded Warrior Bachelor Enlisted Quarters, Kantor Residence, LEED certification

Credit: freedigitalphotos.net patpitchaya

The LEED directory has a list of 42,061 completed projects—and many more in the works—which have received LEED ratings that include certified, silver, gold and platinum qualifications. Ratings are awarded based on a series of credit categories that determine the building’s functionality as an environmentally conscious structure. According to the LEED rating system, these categories include credits in sustainable sites, water efficiency, indoor environmental quality, energy and atmosphere as well as in materials and resources.

There are additional criteria geared toward residences and neighborhood-specific areas that include location, design, and awareness credits, which can add to the LEED rating. Each project must satisfy the requirements in the categories to earn points, and the number of points earned determines the level of certification awarded.

Structures with Top LEED Ratings

The projects in the LEED directory include almost every type of building imaginable, from elementary schools to offices, conservatories to football stadiums. The Wounded Warrior Bachelor Enlisted Quarters in Oceanside, Calif., earned a platinum rating in 2011. According to their LEED listing, “Using a high level of coordination, [Building Information Modeling] technology and sustainability, the project team was able to create a model rehabilitation and administration facility that maximizes the quality of life for its occupants and minimizes its impact on the planet.”

The St. Louis Art Museum Expansion in St. Louis, Mo., earned a gold rating last year. The 200,000 square foot expansion to the historic museum is the biggest in the museum’s history, and all the changes were made without disturbing the surrounding parkland. The automated daylighting system makes use of natural light to allow for minimal energy use and produces an enhanced experience for visitors.

Nvate Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, LEED,U.S. Green Building Council, LEED rating, Wounded Warrior Bachelor Enlisted Quarters, Kantor Residence, LEED certification

This is the Kantor Residence, which was certified platinum by LEED.

Many private homes are also becoming LEED certified. Green features in these structures include solar panels to meet most energy needs, gray water storage and wastewater recovery, recycled rubber and plastic roofing, rainwater collection and composting toilets, as evidenced in the Kantor Residence in New Canaan, Conn.

How to Get Involved

To apply for LEED certification, the party will need to choose the rating system that would best suit their project. Next, they will need to register their project with LEED, and then submit their certification application and a review fee which will vary depending on the project. Once all documentation and the payment are received, the project will become available in LEED Online.

The application will then be reviewed, and a certificate decision sent to the party, which they can choose to receive or appeal. Once they receive the certificate, their project will officially be LEED approved, adding to the growing community of the environmentally aware, and contributing to LEED’s objective to “deliver energy and water efficient, healthy, environmentally-friendly cost saving buildings, homes and communities.”

If you are interested in submitting your residence or building to be LEED certified, or would like to check out the guidelines and instructions on how to begin preparing for certification, their website offers a simple plan to follow.

More To Read:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *