One of the biggest issues many energy efficient building operators face is knowing where their building succeeds and where it fails. From poor insulation to artificial lighting systems that could be replaced with natural sources, there are numerous energy inefficient building elements that are often missed by building owners.
Thankfully, the LEED rating systems – Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design – make it easy for building owners and energy efficiency professionals to spot a particular building’s energy efficiency advantages, its shortcomings, and its potential for improvement.
LEED 2009: A 100-point rating system for energy efficient buildings
Since its implementation as an energy efficiency rating system in 1998, LEED has evolved several times to suit the needs of modern buildings. The current system is LEED 2009 – a 100-point system devised to assess all elements of energy efficiency.
LEED 2009’s points are divided into five primary categories, which are:
1. Indoor Environment Quality
2. Materials and Resources
3. Energy and Atmosphere
4. Water Efficiency
5. Sustainable Sites
In order for a building to achieve the highest LEED certification, it needs to qualify in all five categories. LEED points are also issued in two extra categories: Innovation in Design, and Regional Priority.
The Four Classes of LEED Certification: Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum
While buildings can score from zero to one hundred using LEED’s point system, the Green Building Certification Institute only grants LEED certification to buildings that achieve one of the following four scores:
> Buildings that achieve a score of 40 or more qualify for the most basic level of LEED certification.
> Buildings that achieve a score of 50 or more qualify for Silver LEED certification.
> Buildings that achieve a score of 60 or more qualify for Gold LEED certification.
> Buildings that achieve a score of 80 or more qualify for Platinum LEED certification.
LEED certification isn’t just for offices – it’s for all commercial buildings
Many people mistakenly believe that LEED certification is only possible for modern office buildings. The reality, however, is that numerous manufacturing plants, malls, and industrial facilities have achieved fantastic scores during LEED certification.
Examples of LEED Platinum buildings include the Taipei 101 skyscraper in Taiwan, the David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, and a Shearer’s Foods plant in Massillon, Ohio, which is the world’s first LEED Platinum manufacturing plant.
Businesses can easily improve their LEED rating with energy efficient lighting
One of the easiest ways for a commercial building to improve its LEED rating is by installing energy efficient lighting. Many commercial buildings, particularly office complexes, depend on artificial lighting equipment that’s thoroughly inefficient.
By using natural daylighting solutions, businesses can improve their energy usage through a reduction in artificial lighting dependence, a decrease in air conditioning and heating bills, and an increase in the quality of their building’s insulation.
It’s easy to learn more about LEED certification and its benefits
As one of the world’s most respected energy efficiency certifications, gaining LEED certification is a major goal for many businesses. Learn more about how increasing your LEED rating could help your business by visiting the LEED section of the Green Building Council’s website.