15 Apr What is LEED Certification & Steps for Getting a Certification
How LEED Certification Started
It started in 1989 with an environmentally conscious architect, Bob Berkebile from Kansas City who happened to start an entire movement that revolved around sustainable architecture. In a very bold move consequently, the American Institute of Architects was petitioned to study how architects to potentially exercise optimum integrity with regard to the environment by designing environmentally responsible buildings.
Within a few years, the United States Green Building Council (the ‘it’ organization promoting sustainable architecture) developed ‘Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, or LEED – known globally as the standard rating system for sustainable buildings.
It is the most widely used & acknowledged rating system in effect worldwide. It applies to all building forms – commercial and/or residential. The certification signifies a building “that creates healthy, highly efficient, cost-saving green buildings’ ‘.
The framework for every project – new construction & interior fit-outs, to sustainable operations & upgrades, is grouped into five categories mentioned below:-
1. Building Design and Construction (BD+C)
2. Interior Design and Construction
3. Operations and Maintenance
4. Neighborhood Development
The certification process is rather complex and comprehensive, that involves extremely detailed standards and guidelines. The checklist used to evaluate scores in a point system includes the following:-
-Energy & atmosphere
-Materials & resources
-Indoor environment quality
The pointer system operates with 4 major results:-
1. Certified (40-40 points)
2. Silver (50-59 points)
3. Gold (60-79 points)
4. Platinum (80+ points)
Preparing For The Certification
It is essential that substantial planning and strategizing go into preparing for the certification well before the registration begins. With more than 100,000 commercial buildings that have either been granted the certificate or are awaiting one, stand out by ensuring the following steps:-
1. Start budgeting
The certification can be an expensive deal with minimum charges starting from $2,900 that only shoot up because after all the certification is an investment. For larger projects, the fees alone can be up tp $1 million, along with additional project costs. However, various government incentives and rebates are available too.
2. Know your target level
This is crucial to identify all the resources you will need and evaluate your choices. The objective is part of the initial design phase essentially and it’s recommended to enter the construction information in the management software you use.
3. Have a competent team
You will need a highly skilled team of planners, engineers, and architects who can guide you optimally in this pursuit and develop a tangible certification strategy. The Cotocon Group has extensive experience in LEED Certification with a team of experts capable of tending to your needs.
The whole process of application, review and certification process is done online. The certification is granted by a LEED accredited third party.
Step 1: Register Online
On the official LEED website, select the rating system most applicable to your building or project type from the choices – Building Design and Construction (BD+C), Interior Design and Construction, Operations and Maintenance, Neighborhood Development, Homes. The website also gives you various options and resources to successfully submit your application.
Step 2: Uploading Information & Documents
This is also in accordance with the specific points and credits you wish to acquire. It is recommended to double-check that all information entered is accurate. This might seem generic but the checking of estimates, bids, regulatory compliances etc., needs to be rigorous.
Step 3: Submit The Application
This can be in one step, using a LEED standard review. It can also be in as many as four separate steps if you are applying for a BD+C and ID+C project (see step 4 above). In these cases, the application can be split into a design review and a construction review, each of which can be further split into a preliminary and a final review. So that makes a total of 4 possible review steps—but only for BD+C and ID+C projects.
We, The Cotocon Group, have a proven history of providing compliance services in New York City to building owners that helps acquire LEED certifications of all categories. Our highly skilled team ensures building owners meet all the requirements from strategizing, budgeting, and handling documentation along with curating the information that needs to be shared by conducting energy audits and retro-commissioning to generating and submitting the Energy Efficiency Report within the deadline. We will demonstrate that the greatest return on investment for building owners is investing in energy efficiency.