LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is one of the green building rating systems developed by the American Green Building Council (USGBC). LEED, which is the most widely used in the world among international rating systems, reveals the criteria for sustainable design, construction, and operation at the building and city scale. It is a system that defines healthier, environmentally friendly, and economically efficient buildings compared to traditional buildings.
LEED certification is the most preferred green building rating system in the world. Also, it is regularly updating the requirements based on current conditions. It is possible to apply for LEED certification within the scope of different building types.
LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification is becoming increasingly popular as individuals and organizations show greater interest in sustainable building practices. LEED certification is a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement, and it is highly sought after by businesses and institutions looking to demonstrate their commitment to environmental responsibility. The benefits of obtaining LEED certification are numerous and include energy efficiency, cost savings, improved air quality, and enhanced building occupant health and productivity. By obtaining LEED certification, businesses and institutions can also attract environmentally-conscious customers and employees, demonstrating their leadership and commitment to a more sustainable future. As we become more aware of the impact of our built environment on the planet, LEED certification is becoming a highly coveted mark of distinction for those who are committed to sustainability.
LEED certificate reflects the Energy Efficiency, Water Efficiency, and Comfort Levels of the buildings. In order for a structure to be certified, it must first meet the minimum requirements and mandatory prerequisites. By meeting these conditions and with a minimum of 40 points, the LEED Certificate is entitled to receive. As the credits determined by LEED are provided, the points earned increase, and the certificate level rises. The maximum score is 110.
LEED is rated at 4 levels. These are:
LEED BD+C (Building Design + Construction)
Applies to newly constructed or heavily renovated buildings. Under this certificate type, building types are divided into subcategories, and some requirements vary. These building types are: New Buildings, Core and Shell, Schools, Commercial Buildings, Accommodation, Data Centers, Warehouses and Distribution Centers, and Health Buildings.
LEED O+M (Building Operations and Maintenance)
The purpose of this certificate type developed for existing buildings is to reduce the environmental impacts of buildings by improving their energy, water, material and indoor quality performances. Improvement of Energy/Water efficiency and indoor quality; It reduces the operating costs of the relevant building and helps to achieve sustainable goals and objectives. There are also sub-categories under this certificate type: Existing Buildings, Healthcare Buildings, Data Centers, Warehouses and Distribution Centers, Schools and Commercial Buildings.
LEED ID+C (Interior Design and Construction)
Applicable for indoor fit-out projects. Subcategories under this certification type are Indoor, Healthcare, and Commercial Indoors.
LEED ND (Neighborhood Development)
It is valid for new site development projects or urban transformation projects involving residential use, non-residential uses or mix projects. Projects may be in the design or construction phase while developing.
LEED Homes: Applies to single-family homes, low-rise (one to three stories) or mid-rise buildings (four to six stories).
Integrative Process: It is the performance and cost analysis of the project with interdisciplinary work, starting from the preliminary design stage, and then following the implementation of the targeted green building strategies from the beginning to the end.
Location & Transportation: To prevent environmental pollution resulting from the selection of the project site and to reduce the amount of carbon released for transportation to the project location.
Sustainable Sites: Preventing pollution from construction, evaluating the existing site area before design, protecting or renewing the habitat, creating open spaces, preventing the accumulation of rainwater on the surface and regaining it to the ecosystem, reducing the heat island effect, and reducing light pollution.
Water Efficiency: To reduce water consumption inside and outside the building, to protect natural water resources by using alternative water resources, and to determine strategies for efficient systems by measuring water consumption.
Materials & Resources: Raw material use, waste reduction, material reuse, and recycling.
Energy & Atmosphere: It covers topics such as basic testing and commissioning verification, advanced testing, and commissioning, minimum energy performance, optimizing energy performance, renewable energy, building energy measurement, advanced energy measurement, and carbon reduction.
Indoor Environmental Quality: To reduce the carcinogens that can be found indoors, to provide indoor air quality, to provide daylight and scenery to the building users, to provide indoor air quality, thermal, lighting, and visual and acoustic comfort.
Innovation: It is aimed to support different studies that are outside the scope of LEED credits but may be green building applications.
Regional Priority: As soon as the project is registered, the credits that can be scored according to the location of the project are determined from approximately 20 credit titles determined by the USGBC.
In the 1-day workshop for the initiation of LEED studies, the requirements of the projects and the field are examined together with the LEED consultant, project team, employer, contractor and other project stakeholders, based on LEED credits. This work: While ensuring that all project stakeholders learn about LEED, the responsibilities of everyone involved and the LEED Certificate level to be applied are determined. With the conclusion of the aforementioned preliminary evaluation studies, the project is registered with the USGBC.
In order to meet the requirements in line with the target determined in the preliminary evaluation, ERKE works with the project team to develop projects (architectural, electrical, mechanical, infrastructure, landscaping) without adversely affecting the process in order to obtain more credits and save energy when necessary. Next is the documentation of design credits for review and approval.
During the construction phase of the project, the task of the LEED consultant is to complete their work on the completion of construction LEED credits, which can also be submitted to the USGBC for review and approval. In addition, the ERKE team provides the necessary resources by answering the questions of the construction management firm of the contractors regarding the LEED certificate.
The subject of 'Green Building' is becoming common all over the world.
The certificate does not require any additional costs other than consultancy fees and some simulations. In the design and construction process of green buildings, it helps to increase the knowledge level of all relevant people and partners, to make more conscious design, and to make a more conscious purchase. The additional construction cost, which increases slightly up to the LEED Gold level, varies within the scope of renewable energy and other innovative systems that will be made upon the investor's request for certification at the highest level, namely the LEED Platinum level.
In addition, considering the economic savings in terms of the value and efficiency that the certificate will bring to the projects, the additional cost paid loses its importance.
As ERKE Sustainable Building Design Consultancy company, our interdisciplinary team of experts and our work as an engineering firm give confidence to the investor, optimize the solutions we direct, and therefore do not bring unnecessary additional costs to the investor.
First of all, the building owner, operation, maintenance, cleaning, purchasing, sales and rental managers should work as a team. In addition to this team, an experienced LEED consultant firm should be involved in the process. Having LEED experts from many different disciplines in the consulting firm is very important for the process to be carried out effectively.
Generally, testing and commissioning and energy audit issues are important, as the primary purpose of being a candidate for LEED certification is to reduce operating and maintenance costs. A team specialized in testing and commissioning and energy audit should conduct inspections on the building, and the applications to be made as a result of these inspections should be presented to the project team as a report within the framework of the life cycle analysis. The owner of the building can recover the investment cost within an average of 2 years with a suitable test and commissioning process.
It is wrong to think that these works will bring additional costs to the building owner. When sustainability studies are carried out, the financial return will be achieved in a short time when building operation and maintenance costs decrease and sales and rental prices increase.