LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. It is a program designed to encourage and reward forward thinking in building design to help reduce waste, conserve energy, and meet the Green standards for building and construction. This is a program that has gained international recognition and is considered the goal to meet for companies building around the globe.
In order to qualify for the certification new buildings must meet specific regulations regarding efficiency of water consumption, energy efficiency, lessened CO2 emissions, a commitment to lessening the impact of business on the environment, and a higher level of indoor air quality.
The LEED certification program was developed to give builders and designers a tangible goal with particular requirements. Existing buildings can meet the standards by following guidelines which implement practical solutions that reduce energy consumption and waste.
The program is completely transparent and does not serve itself or any lobbied interest. In order for a requirement to be included throughout the guidelines there are more than 20,000 members that provide a review of the proposal. Companies and builders have to agree that the standards are reasonable and attainable.
Those who wish to participate in LEED inspections, collaborations, and developments can earn their own accreditation through the program. There are numerous tests that must be taken and passed in order to prove the overall level of knowledge necessary to inspect or consult on upcoming projects.
The increase in efficiency in building, business, and even the private sector has proven that the need for regulations that can be attainable is essential. In the first year alone those buildings that became part of the program were reporting a consistent minimum of 20 percent greater efficiency. This would have a dramatic impact on the environment if every business sought to comply.
Over the last several years efficiency ratings have gone up for most buildings that apply for the standard recognition. Many buildings have improved by almost 50 percent. For building owners this translates into a higher rent per square foot average, fewer long term vacancies, and greater sale prices when it comes to their tenant statistics. Apartment buildings to malls have more consistency when it comes to maintaining a full, higher paying clientele.
The LEED program is one that many people would like to see passed into law. The biggest issue with this is that the transparent nature of the program is likely to disappear. As it stands, the program is reaching throughout the world and providing all kinds of businesses with attainable energy efficiency goals.