LEED, Leadership In Energy and Environmental Design, is a rating given to environmentally friendly building projects based upon use of best in business practices. LEED certification could make your property more valuable to tenants, which is why many projects pursue this accreditation. LEED is not only good for the environment but it also works as a great marketing ploy in the future, a true win-win for owner, tenant, and community at large.
Known as LEED certification in the USA, there is a similar program in the UK known as the SKA Rating. Both serve as a calculated method for assessing environmental methods used for non-domestic fit outs. This rating helps landlords and tenants analyze projects by measuring them against a collection of good sustainability practices. These practices are collectively known as Good Practice Measures (GPM). Together, the rating aims to find the most impactful ways to improve sustainability.
You apply for LEED accreditation online, at which point you select the category you’d like to apply for. These categories include:
- Commercial interiors
- New construction
- Major renovations
- Existing buildings
- Operation and maintenance
- Core and shell
The Point System
According to the number of points a project earns there are different levels of certification. You get a certain amount of points per the criteria within the category you apply and are accepted for. The levels of certification go as follows:
- 40-49 points: Certified
- 50-59 points: Silver
- 60-79 points: Gold
- 80+ points: Platinum
You earn these points through the following environmental criteria:
- Sustainable sites, worth 21 a total of points
- Water efficiency, worth a total of 11 points
- Energy and atmosphere, worth a total of 37 points
- Materials and resources, worth a total of 14 points
- Indoor environmental quality, worth a total of 17 points
The LEED Application Process
The entire application process is available online through the USGBC website. You must pay an enrollment fee of $900-$1200, price varies depending on if you are already a USGBC member or not. You will also have to pay an additional application fee when you submit all of the appropriate forms at a later date. You will find all of the details and deadlines for applications clearly marked on the website.
It is very important to double-check everything before you submit it, and since different parts of the report are coming in from different team members this can get a bit tricky. Have more than one person check off on everything before submitting it in. Only the project leader/manager can initiate a review.
One mistake can cost you points, and cause you to appeal a portion of the council’s final decision. This comes with an additional cost of $500 per appeal, which you can usually avoid by looking over everything more than once.
Once you submit your application for approval, the USGBC looks it over and decides if all areas meet qualifications or not. You may be approved for certain criteria and not others, this will simply impact the actual rating you receive, but regardless your project is considered LEED certified. If you disagree with the results you are allowed to appeal the decision, but you must make a separate appeal for each category.
6 Simple Steps To Apply For LEED Certification
Determine the category of project you are undertaking. Depending on the type building you are outfitting there are various classifications. These are listed in totality above and include Schools, Core & Shell and Commercial Interiors, just to name a few.
Sign up online here: http://www.usgbc.org/certification. The USGBC website includes a number of resources to help you throughout the application process. This is when you will pay the enrollment fee mentioned above.
Put together a project time frame and plan. Designate appropriate team players in charge of criteria needed for certification.
Collect substantial data for all of the categories you are pursuing. Check all of this information over more than once.
Paperwork time starts now! You will complete an assortment of forms provided online relating to the project in general as well as other prerequisites and criteria. Only the project leader has the right to initiate the review. Make sure to submit applications by the date outlined by the Rating System expiration terms. Once you submit your application you will pay an application fee, this is additional to your enrollment fee.
You will receive notice if you have been approved or disproved for different levels of LEED accreditation. You have 25 days to appeal a decision, every criteria you appeal costs $500.
You don’t have to try and take on all of the hard work yourself. PCI offers superior general contracting services to help ensure your project goes as planned every step of the way.