Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certifications and credentials from the U.S. Green Building Council have grown in significance and popularity over the last decade. Public awareness of construction impacts on the environment has also grown. Learn why LEED may matter now more than ever.
What is LEED?
For a building to receive LEED certification, its construction process needs to adhere to certain green guidelines set forth by the USGBC. There are different guidelines for every type of project: building design and construction, interior design and construction, building operations and maintenance, neighborhood development and homes. Within each category, a structure can gain various levels of certification, from standard all the way to platinum. Professionals can also gain LEED accreditation through a USGBC exam.
Why is LEED important?
LEED operates as a third-party certification system, meaning that it adds another entity to every project besides simply the contractor and the consumer. According to the USGBC, this is crucial when it comes to quality and accountability. When construction and design agencies make guarantees about the caliber and sustainability of their work to customers, LEED certification can ensure that the promised standards are being met. This instills confidence in consumers, making them more likely to return to LEED certified organizations for all their building and design needs.
From a business perspective, getting your projects LEED certified or becoming an LEED professional is crucial for maintaining a competitive presence in your industry. This is mostly because of how widely accepted LEED is – it’s even used as a reference point outside of the U.S. It’s also currently the most difficult certification of its kind to acquire, meaning that an LEED stamp of approval satisfies most other existing building standards.
According to a 2013 study performed by McGraw-Hill Dodge, LEED certifications and credentials go a long way toward growing organizations as well as personal careers. The survey revealed that almost 70 percent of firm executives said having LEED accredited workers helped to expand their businesses. Poplar Network noted that many freelancers are also seeking LEED certifications for their work and themselves, as this can make them far more attractive to potential employers and consumers.
Of course, beyond giving your career a boost, LEED is also working to improve the environment. Projects that gain this certification have been built using methods that don’t leave major environmental footprints. Everything from water use to waste recycling is closely measured during the construction process, and the final structure has plenty of green and sustainable features.