LEED Can Lead Contractors to New Business

LEED Can Lead Contractors to New Business

What is LEED?

LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.  Essentially, LEED is an industry-wide (both nationally and internationally) recognized program for green building certification.

LEED’s rating system has four levels of certification:  Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum.  Each of these levels refer to the number of credits a project is awarded for meeting specific criteria within five design categories:

  • Sustainable sites
  • Water efficiency
  • Energy and atmosphere
  • Materials and resources
  • Indoor environmental quality

The United States Green Building Council’s website  provides resources and tools (such as checklists and reference guides) as well as extensive information on the LEED certification process.

Why should your company find out more about LEED Certification?

Whether familiar with LEED certification or not, any qualified general contractor understands that green building materials and implementation are initially more expensive.  With the current economic downturn and associated stagnation in both residential and commercial building it doesn’t seem to make sense for contractors to look to LEED, or green building in general, as a means to build business.   However, research indicates that green building along with LEED certification has the capacity to significantly contribute to recovery within the building industry and associated building trades.

Perhaps the best funded green building projects are energy retrofits within institutional buildings.  The most obvious reason for contractors to pursue educating themselves about LEED certification and green building best practices is that today many, if not most, institutional government projects ask for some level of green building LEED certification.  However, many contractors may assume that the majority of opportunities for green building projects are those that are federally funded – contracts that require a complex and cumbersome process.

However, a study by Pike Research indicates that the total number of federal non-industrial buildings is less than 3% of the total number of current commercial buildings in the nation.  This means that there a vast untapped market of private commercial buildings ready for energy retrofit.  A number of studies, including that of Pike Research, predict a trend for growth within green building for the next five years.  Factors contributing to this growth include government incentives (federal, state, and local) as well as changes in building codes to include sustainability.

LEED certification and green building practices protect and preserve the environment and natural resources.   Outside of the obvious benefits to the environment, energy retrofits and green building benefit the economy by reducing costs to commercial enterprise.  The United States Green Building Council (USGBC) estimates that between 2000 and 2008 green building practices and materials resulted in a $1.3 billion reduction in energy costs.  The USGBC also estimates that savings will increase to $6 billion between 2009 and 2013.  Additionally, this same study forecasts that green jobs with quadruple to 7.9 million and add $554 billion to our economy.

It is therefore conceivable that LEED certification could, in fact, become mandatory in the near future as a major component of our nation’s economic recovery, making it good practice for contractors to gear up by educating themselves about LEED certification.

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Posted on Dec 01, 2011 by admin | Posted in Green Building, Industry Certifications

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