05 Nov Renewable Energy & LEED – Changing the Way we Build
What Is a LEED Certification?
LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a global green building certification program that ensures buildings have been constructed with key sustainability metrics in mind. Established by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED certifications verify the efficient use of materials, water, and energy for the entire lifespan of the buildings, from initial design to retrofitting. It assesses buildings on five distinct categories: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality.
What Are LEED Certification Levels?
There are four different levels of LEED Certification that buildings can achieve: Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. LEED uses a point system to designate which level a building qualifies for. Buildings can either be Certified, Silver, Gold, or Platinum, depending on their score.
What Are the Benefits of LEED Certification?
One of the biggest benefits of LEED certification is cost savings. Since LEED buildings are designed to be energy-efficient, they require minimal energy for heating and cooling, and this cuts maintenance costs dramatically. In fact, the USGBC has reported that LEED-certified buildings have 20% lower operational costs than conventional commercial buildings. Plus, LEED certification can increase the value of your property; building owners have reported an average increase of 10% after LEED certification.
Many aspects of LEED certification can also be written off in taxes or qualify for rebates. Ductless mini-splits, heat pumps, water heaters, and several other energy-efficient retrofits that can help with LEED certification are eligible for tax credits. Additionally, the federal solar tax credit is available for solar systems and battery storage until 2022. This means that you receive 22% of the original cost of your installation through tax returns. Massachusetts also offers a 15% state tax credit worth up to $1,000. Since solar and storage can play a key role in LEED certifications, these tax credits make the certification even more lucrative.
LEED certifications can also help you impress customers or tenants. More than ever, consumers are conscious of their environmental impacts, and they’re looking to align their purchases with these environmental standards. In fact, it’s been estimated that 8 in 10 consumers consider sustainability efforts when shopping. A LEED certification demonstrates that your business values the health of the planet and local communities, and it shows customers that your beliefs hold up to their ethics as well.
Renewable Energy – The future
Since buildings are the major energy-consuming sectors in the world causing energy inefficiency, they can act as a promising target with the greatest potential to reach the common goal toward sustainable development. Nevertheless, too high building energy consumption will raise negative impacts on the environment, such as air pollution, greenhouse effect, urban heat island effect, and others, which can even do plenty of harm to human health and social economy development.
1 Use of solar systems in buildings
The sun is an unlimited source of light and heat energy. The basic principle in the designs for using solar energy in buildings is as follows. The flow of thermal energy of the sun through conduction, convection, and radiation is used. These natural processes are managed through a building design that helps to warm up and cool the building.
The sunrays coming to the building surface are reflected, transmitted, or absorbed by the building material. In addition, the heat generated by the sun causes predictable air movements within the designed areas. This basic effect of solar heat leads to the selection of materials and design of building elements that provide a heating and cooling effect within the building, such as thickness, density (δ) (g/cm3), heat conduction coefficient (λ) (W/m0K) specific heat (c) (Wh/m3 0K), surface absorption, and reflection coefficient smoothness or roughness, cavity, and fullness. It is possible to utilize solar energy as active and passive through the measures taken in architecture design.
2 Use of wind energy in buildings
The wind has been used as an energy source for a very long time, and it is an important source of environmental-friendly energy and has become more and more important in the recent years.
It is possible to benefit from wind energy by using passive and active systems. These methods are described below.
2.1 Use of wind energy with passive systems in buildings
2.2 Use of wind energy with active systems in buildings
3 Use of geothermal energy in buildings
Geothermal energy is obtained by the fact that the heat accumulated in the underground is released from the cracks to the earth. Sometimes, it can be extracted from the underground as hot water, hot water and water vapor mixture, or steam.
4 Use of hydrogen energy in buildings
Hydrogen energy can be used for heating the houses, supplying hot water, cooking, and meeting electricity needs. In order to use hydrogen, it must first be produced, stored, and transported. Hydrogen can be produced from renewable energy sources such as solar, hydroelectric, wind, and geothermal.