It is likely that you have heard of LEED certification. You probably have heard it in association with the construction of a new building, or a redesign of an old one.
You know that it means that the building meets some requirements for sustainability or “green” construction.
But what exactly is LEED?
LEED stands for “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.” It is the name of a series of rating systems from the US Green Building Council, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promote sustainability in building. They promote responsible use of resources.
There are five categories and a total of ten specific specialties offered for LEED certification.
The “Green Building Design” category descriptions of sustainable achievement in the areas of New Construction, Core & Shell, Schools, Healthcare, and Retail: New Construction and Major Renovations.
In “Green Interior Design & Construction” there are specifications for Commercial Interiors and Retail: Commercial Interiors.
The remaining three categories each have only one specialty. These are Green Building Operations & Maintenance, Green Neighborhood Development, and Green Home Design and Construction.
Within each specialty, four levels of achievement are possible: Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. These are earned by meeting the meticulously described specifications that award points to each sustainable portion of every project.
Why is LEED certification important?
Setting aside the whole “save the planet” mindset, and whether or not it matters that an individual building’s construction can help accomplish that goal, there are still lots of great reasons to seek LEED certification and to hire companies that are experienced in earning it.
LEED certified companies take care to use recycled materials that nonetheless meet demanding specifications. They generally work sustainably, wasting less that other companies. With more thought to their footprint and use of resources, they often make up in efficiency what they seem to lose in upfront cost. This is especially true in their resource use over time. It is true that there is additional cost just for seeking the certification, because the evaluation process is not free.
One of the longterm benefits of earning LEED certification comes from savings in the use of resources. Sustainable design takes advantage of natural light and elemental truths to create healthier and often less expensive solutions to common problems.
Using reclaimed or recycled material for waterproofing is one common-sense step toward LEED certification. This doesn’t mean simply placing old materials into a new construction site. Instead, using upcycled plastics shifts waste that would end up in landfills to instead create a permanent water barrier in a building for a generations to come.
In this way the impermeable permanence of certain plastics becomes a benefit to exploit to protect your building, rather than a permanent problem in a landfill, a stream, or the ocean.
Having the opportunity to win on both sides of the spreadsheet – longer lasting solutions with less waste – is a great reason for every builder and customer to seek out LEED certification and LEED certified suppliers.