How LEED Certification Represents Sustainable Purpose

Mara Freeman's picture
Mara Freeman
Designer
November 9, 2018
The green building industry has exploded in the last decade. Designing new construction with an emphasis on sustainability is the norm rather than exception!
Green Building Design
Green Building Design
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A foundational purpose of sustainability and responsibility can help a building in more ways than one, and designers, builders, and owners are exploring new ways to communicate this purpose.

The importance of the green building industry has exploded in the last decade and in many regions, designing new construction with an emphasis on sustainability is the new norm rather than the exception.

Building owners and developers have begun linking sustainability strategies to the business strategies. Using sustainability as a tool to influence your operations means that you can transform the way either you or your clients run your business, with a focus on transparency and efficiency rather than waste and consumption.

Tom Paladino, founder of the green building consultancy Paladino & Co., says that "the green building professionals who have the greatest success are the ones who also understand business science. Once you are familiar with the languages of finance, operations, human resources, and investing, you are able to use sustainability as a tool to serve your clients’ businesses and values. Sustainability translates to the ability to endure – and it can be used to increase the endurance of their businesses and organizations."

Paladino, whose company was named the best green building consultancy in the United States by BUILD this year, has led green building efforts for a large number of sustainable firsts in the US. He says that "sustainability translates to the ability to endure – and it can be used to increase the endurance of their businesses and organizations."

There are several key developments in environmental design and green building in general that inspire professionals in their careers.

One massive benefit is that green building best practices reduce building operating expenses. Not only can your tax liabilities be significantly reduced, but you can increase rents, boost occupancy rates, reduce environmental impacts, and improve asset value.

One of the best ways to represent a building's dedication towards sustainability is through LEED certification.

LEED uses five major criteria to rate buildings, including water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality. Buildings are required to meet multiple requirements in order to be LEED certified. This is the most prominent green rating system in use in the United States and in the rest of the world, so many building professionals choose to become LEED accredited in order to work with these projects.

Tom Paladino thinks that the largest development in sustainability isn't advancing technology or design techniques, but "the visceral connection that businesses are making between their buildings and the world around them."

Certifications form an essential part of communicating the values behind a building's use. Tom says that "in each case the certification is the proof, and not the purpose."

"Sector leaders are cutting through this complexity by owning the intersection of business, design, and environment. Their arc – the story of how they ensure their ability to continue – combines a vivid picture of their ideal sustainable future with crystal clear operating principles. In this way they remain true to their purpose and focused on business outcomes that matter." - Tom Paladino

With well over 12 billion square feet of buildings certified as LEED, it's a trend that is growing rapidly and doesn't show any sign of slowing down.

Why is this important? Considering the future is one of the most crucial reasons for sustainable building. A failure to design buildings with efficiency in mind means that building will consume energy inefficiently for years, and sometimes decades, until it is due for a remodel.

"Environmentally that is a tragedy," says Brandon Weiss, a LEED certified master builder based in California. "Because we need every new building and major remodel to be net zero by 2030 and every building to be net zero by 2050 to hold temperature rise to 1.5 C, which gives the planet a chance to stabilize and return to pre-industrial revolution conditions."

Energy codes will also continue to increase over the next few decades, making it essential to consider forward-looking design principles in buildings with longer lifespans. That's why it's so essential to stay on top of the progress in the field.

Poplar Network's LEED accreditation exam prep guides provide a thorough way of understanding the principles of environmentally-oriented design.

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