LEED Certification is a green building standard that is driving new construction and renovations for businesses around the world. Green building, which includes standards such as LEED, is an important way for companies to establish themselves as leaders in sustainability and innovation while also increasing the value of their buildings and their brand. Solar energy can be an important part of a building’s LEED Certification plan as part of the overall requirement to reduce the company’s reliance on fossil fuels and maximize energy efficiency.
What is LEED Certification?
LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a globally-recognized standard for green building that can be applied to almost any type of building project. While LEED Certification is common when designing new construction, it can also be obtained for interior renovations and operations and maintenance activities.
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) launched the first LEED version in 1998 as a pilot program. Over the next decade, the USGBC developed two new versions of LEED and expanded the categories of certification. LEED has become the de facto standard for new construction in the U.S., and other countries also have begun seeking LEED certifications, including India and China. LEED 4.1 is the current standard and there are more than 20,000 commercial LEED Certified projects globally.
Certification levels start at “Certified” (the minimum requirement) and go up to “Platinum” based on the points a project earns across a variety of categories, including Water Efficiency, Energy & Atmosphere, and Materials & Resources. Prior to earning points, each project must meet certain baseline prerequisites, such as establishing a plan for preventing construction pollution and meeting a minimum level of energy efficiency. Energy modeling is required to accurately project a building’s energy use.
Having LEED Certified buildings provides many benefits for businesses. It is a clear indication of a commitment to sustainability that can satisfy shareholder and investor demands. Companies with LEED buildings are attractive to employees who are seeking environmentally-conscious employers and healthier places to work. And because LEED is a globally-recognized and reputable standard, it enhances a company’s public image locally and abroad. Consumers today want businesses to help them live their sustainability values, and a LEED Certified building is a visible way to do that.
LEED + Solar
Solar projects align closely with the goals of LEED since they reduce a building’s dependence on fossil fuel. Formerly known as the “On-Site Renewable Energy” credit, solar installations are now included in the “Renewable Energy Production” credit, which is part of the Energy & Atmosphere category. The number of points awarded is based on the percentage of a building’s energy needs that are produced by renewable sources.
Certain municipalities also offer incentive programs to encourage green building. Incentives can range from faster permit application processing to tax credits to training opportunities. If you’re planning a green building project, find out about incentives in your municipality that could help you.
Get Your Building LEED Certified
If you would like to reap the benefits of LEED certification at your facility, EnterSolar can help. Our team of solar experts can work with your sustainable building design to incorporate solar as part of your renewable energy mix and propel your building towards a LEED certification. To get started, contact EnterSolar today.
For more than 10 years, EnterSolar has provided turnkey solar and energy storage solutions to clients such as Amazon, Target and Bloomberg that help lower energy costs, increase property value and meet sustainability goals. We manage all aspects of the solar project, from development to execution and asset management, and work with real estate owners and tenants to make the process as simple and seamless as possible. Contact us today for a free solar assessment.