The LEED certification (Leadership an Energy & Environmental Design or, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is synonymous with excellence, sustainability and efficiency in construction with Sky Marketing.
This evaluation method, based on scientific criteria, certifies that some projects, buildings (both homes and newly built and/or rehabilitated premises) and even entire neighborhoods are eco-efficient.
Unlike other documents such as the Energy Efficiency Certificate, necessary to carry out sales transactions or to rent a premises or a home, LEED certification is not mandatory.
However, due to its recognition both in Europe and in the US, its obtaining guarantees, through a non-governmental and independent body (the Green Building Council or USGBC® – US Sustainable Buildings Council -), the application of certain quality standards in the execution of a construction project.
What is LEED certification?
Broadly speaking, LEED certification recognizes the use of sustainable strategies in all construction processes of a building: from choosing a plot to making use of it, through the use of sustainable materials, the execution and orientation of the work, the optimization of resources or the consumption of water or electricity.
In this sense, obtaining LEED certification is not only “valid” for the construction company or the property owner, but also for all professionals (architects, engineers, bricklayers, electricians, carpenters, plumbers, etc.) involved in the process of construction or rehabilitation.
What are the requirements to obtain this certificate?
The six criteria or categories evaluated to obtain LEED certification are:
- Sustainable Sites. Sustainability in the location of the property, respect for the environment and efficiency in the construction processes.
- Water Efficiency (Efficiency and use of water). Both during construction and when the building is finished.
- Energy and Atmosphere. Energy efficiency and minimal impact on the atmosphere.
- Materials and Resources. Use of sustainable, reusable, and environmentally friendly materials.
- Indoor Environmental Quality. This aspect mainly affects the air conditioning of the house. Those buildings that do not have to resort to the use of energy for air conditioning (heating or cooling) will obtain a higher rating.
- Innovation and Design. In this last category, all those design improvements will be observed so that the performance of the building and its facilities is above the LEED standards or requirements.
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Benefits of LEED certification
LEED certification implies that a building meets certain standards of efficiency and respect for the environment.
In this evaluation, different factors are taken into account, including the location of the home or the type of building, since it is not the same to analyze a house built in one region as in another.
The efficiency criteria will not be the same in single-family homes as in community buildings or commercial premises.
Still, getting LEED-certified always has benefits. Some of the most important are:
- Savings in construction. The expenses related to all phases of project development are lower (materials are reused, the use of resources and personnel is optimized, etc.).
- Less waste. This translates into fewer costs for moving to landfills, recycling plants, specialized waste collection companies, etc.
- Respect for the environment. A LEED-certified building reduces the negative effects of construction on the environment. This means that the gas emissions emitted into the atmosphere are minimal and that the environment and the biodiversity of the area have been respected.
- A higher value of the property. Buildings designed according to LEED certification guidelines save between 30% and 50% in energy. These types of buildings are in greater demand and, furthermore, their market value is higher.
- Healthy buildings. The green buildings are healthier and safer. As efficiency and design go hand in hand, the aim is to obtain living spaces with plenty of natural light, sufficient ventilation, adequate acoustic levels and thermal control. In general, living in a sustainable building improves the quality of life of its inhabitants.
- Tax benefits. Some authorities and governments subsidize the construction or rehabilitation of highly efficient buildings. Their owners also have tax benefits and economic incentives or improvements in the qualification of the land.
- Better business image. For companies, collaborating on LEED-certified buildings is beneficial in terms of image as a sign of their commitment to the environment.
LEED certification typology and levels
The first LEED-certified building was constructed in the US in 1998. Today, an estimated 14,000 homes and buildings around the world meet these quality and efficiency standards associated with this document.
Depending on the type of building, we find the following LEED certifications:
- LEED NC. For new buildings.
- LEED CS. For flexible use buildings and plants.
- LEED EB BD. For rehabilitated buildings and properties.
- LEED CI. For commercial interiors.
- LEED H. For private homes.
- LEED NB Neighborhoods. For the global assessment of urban areas.
In the same way, and depending on the points obtained in the different parameters evaluated (minimum of 40), the LEED certification levels can be:
- LEED Platinum. For buildings that score 80 or more points in the evaluation.
- LEED Gold. For buildings that score between 60 and 79 points.
- LEED Silver. For buildings that get between 50 to 59 points.
- LEED Certified. For buildings that score between 40 and 49 points.
Do you want to get LEED certification?
Now that you know what LEED certification is, what are its advantages or what types of LEED certificates exist, you may want to know what are the steps you must follow to obtain this certificate.
If you aspire to achieve LEED certification, you must start working on it from the first stage of your project and include all the actors and professionals involved in its development.
For the Green Building Council, the phases to obtain LEED certification for a building, premises or home are:
- Check that it meets all the technical requirements.
- Collect all the documentation.
- Register your project at the GBC national headquarters.
- Prepare the application.
- Submit all documentation and correctly fill out the application according to the criteria and standards of the Green Building Council.
- Review the evaluation criteria.
If the building meets all the requirements, you will receive a plaque and an accrediting certificate.
Currently, there are different criteria for the energy certification of buildings. The LEED certification is one of the most important, as it is increasingly recognized internationally.
Are you looking for a home with energy certification? At Tajarat properties we can help you find the home of your dreams. Contact us!