Why LEED Certification Matters
Caring about the environment, going green, living a more sustainable lifestyle…they all sounded like cool phrases and fun trends to follow at one time, but nowadays, these former trends are taken seriously and even admired. Why? Because both people and businesses have made the push for a more sustainable and healthy way of living. For businesses, this means a focus on improved efficiency and a smaller environmental impact. Numerous organizations address these issues, but the U.S Green Building Council’s (USGBC) Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED®) program is one of the most influential.
Established in 2000 (and recognized worldwide), the LEED program has been certifying businesses and organizations that construct/retrofit, maintain and operate their buildings in an efficient and environmentally conscious manner. By adhering to their guidelines, you can earn a certification, which attracts tenants, creates a healthier environment, reduces energy costs, and earns you major bragging rights.
So, we know that having a LEED certification is kind of a big deal and that it promotes an eco-friendly approach to construction, design and operations, but what exactly is it? We like to think of LEED as a rating system that provides a framework for creating efficient, sustainable buildings. They evaluate these factors based on water and energy efficiency, indoor environmental quality, materials, waste, reductions in CO2 emissions and more. The building is then awarded points that translate into one of four certification levels: Certified, Silver, Gold and Platinum.
Regardless of the level of certification you’ve earned, it’s impressive. It shows that you’ve considered and implemented a design plan that will have a lower environmental impact, be highly efficient and provide occupants with a healthy and comfortable environment. Want to know more benefits? Let’s explore!
Tenants Love LEED
Remember how we addressed that going green is no longer some fading trend that only a few people are doing? Well, the same goes for businesses. In fact, government buildings are now required to be LEED certified! Employees, tenants, store owners and more are demanding a sustainable space that is clean, eco-friendly and minimizes their environmental footprint.
Whether it’s implementing a recycling program, installing bike racks or offering incentives for taking public transportation, businesses have already jumped on the bandwagon. The next step is LEED certification. It may seem like a lot of work to simply make tenants happy, but let’s take a look at what else LEED gets you.
USBGC studies show that LEED-certified buildings have up to 20% higher occupancy rates, lower turnover and their buildings lease out faster than non-certified buildings. Another big bonus is that these buildings are leasing for more dollars per square foot. Additionally, you can receive tax rebates, density bonuses and utility program incentives. Making your tenants happy really does pay off.
Healthy Occupants are Happy Occupants
We all hate being sick. And while having some time off work is nice, being stuck in bed with a massive head cold is most definitely not. So, why not help keep your tenants healthy and happy by maintaining clean air and getting rid of sick building syndrome.
If your building isn’t LEED certified, you’ve likely heard of or experienced sick building syndrome. It’s often a symptom of poor ventilation in the office that typically results in respiratory problems or headaches, which can cause absenteeism and lowered productivity. Not to worry though, LEED requires that certified building meet indoor environmental quality requirements, so your tenants are healthy, and their employees, tenants or guests are happy.
Studies conducted by USGBC show how working in a healthy indoor environment and access to daylight can help improve both productivity and engagement. This includes a 9-25% reduction in health problems such as allergies, asthma, headaches and respiratory diseases. Say goodbye to sick building syndrome!
Sometimes It’s About the Money
They say that money runs the world, so it makes perfect sense that we’re all in the business of making money. So, while being green is a great step towards environmental excellence and ensuring happy, healthy tenants, you want to make some green, too! LEED allows us to do both.
LEED-certified buildings offer cost savings across the board. They are cheaper to operate thanks to improved efficiencies that reduce water and energy costs by up to 40%. Cost savings of LEED Gold certified buildings compared to non-certified buildings include:
- Use 25% less energy
- Use 11% less water
- 9% lower operating costs over a single year; 13% within five years
Aside from the more obvious savings is the ability to use your resources elsewhere.
Purafil & LEED
Because Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) plays a big part in earning LEED certification, it’s important to have an HVAC system that not only rids the air of contaminants, but is highly efficient, too. This is where Purafil comes in. We design and engineer the media and equipment that filters pollutants and gaseous contaminants from the air, which vastly improves IAQ.
ASHRAE’s 62.1 IAQ procedure allows buildings to reduce outdoor air requirements by recirculating air cleaned with Purafil media. It ensures clean indoor air while helping to conserve energy. LEED’s Pilot Credit Program provides new, energy saving options to meet the HVAC requirements of ASHRAE 62.1 standards. Purafil makes this possible by offering solutions that effectively clean the air, remove harmful contaminants and allow you to recirculate cleaned air (as opposed to bringing in and heating/cooling more outside air).
LEED’s IAQ procedure has been especially successful in commercial applications. Because of lowered outdoor air intake requirements, commercial buildings are seeing reduced up-front capital costs for HVAC equipment, lowered HVAC system energy usage, and improved IAQ.
The Duke Energy Center in Charlotte, NC received the prestigious LEED New Construction Platinum certification, in part, by installing PuraGrid™ filters to clean and recirculate room exhaust. This meant less outside air was required, and it saved the center on energy costs by reducing fees associated with heating and cooling outdoor air.
Whether you’re focused on cutting energy costs, pleasing your tenants or simply want to be more environmentally conscious, LEED is a great route. If you’re looking for a way towards LEED certification or just want to improve your IAQ, learn more about Purafil and our solutions to discover how you can get rid of foul smelling and harmful gases.