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LEED Ratings and How to Achieve Them: A Comprehensive Guide to Sustainable Building Solutions

LEED Ratings and How to Achieve Them: A Comprehensive Guide to Sustainable Building Solutions

In today’s world, where environmental consciousness is at the forefront of global concerns, the concept of sustainable building practices has gained immense traction. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is internationally recognized as the preeminent green building certification program, providing a framework for designing, constructing, operating and maintaining energy-efficient and environmentally responsible buildings. By adhering to LEED standards, building owners and developers are showing their commitment to making a positive impact on the world. 

In this blog, we will delve into the significance of LEED ratings, explore the categories that contribute to achieving those ratings, and highlight how AirFixture can partner with you in contributing to a more sustainable future and a healthier planet. 

What are LEED Ratings? 

In terms of evaluating and scoring a building’s energy efficiency and environmental or green friendliness, LEED is the most popular scoring system in the world. LEED is a rating system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) that provides a comprehensive set of standards for sustainable building practices.  

Buildings are evaluated based on their performance in various categories, including energy efficiency, water conservation, materials selection, indoor environmental quality, and innovation. Buildings achieving higher LEED ratings are recognized for their commitment to energy efficiency, reduced environmental impact, and overall sustainability. Based on the accumulated points earned in these categories, buildings are awarded LEED certification at one of four levels: Certified (40-49 points), Silver (50-59 points), Gold (60-79 points), or Platinum (80+ points).  

What are the different LEED rating systems? 

There are many different LEED rating systems, and each is geared towards a specific type of property type. Here are a few of the systems in which AirFixture has projects: 

  • Building Design and Construction (BD+C) 
  • Building Operations and Maintenance (O+M) 
  • LEED Recertification 

Why are LEED ratings important? 

LEED ratings go beyond mere certification; they signal a transformative commitment to sustainable practices and environmental responsibility. Achieving LEED certification enhances a building's marketability, increases its value, and often leads to operational cost savings through improved resource efficiency. Beyond financial advantages, LEED-certified buildings contribute to a healthier environment by promoting resource conservation and reducing carbon footprints. Learn more about LEED certification at the AirFixture Glossary!

Achieving LEED certification offers a multitude of benefits, not only for the environment but also for building owners, occupants and the broader community.  LEED-certified buildings are designed to: 

  1. Reduce energy consumption - LEED-certified buildings typically consume 25-30% less energy than conventionally constructed buildings, leading to lower operating costs and a smaller environmental footprint. 
  2. Conserve water - LEED standards encourage water-efficient practices, such as the use of low-flow fixtures and rainwater harvesting systems, resulting in significant water savings. 
  3. Improve indoor environmental quality - LEED-certified buildings prioritize the health and well-being of occupants by promoting the use of non-toxic materials, improving ventilation, and controlling indoor air quality. 
  4. Reduce waste generation - LEED standards encourage waste reduction strategies, such as recycling programs and the use of recycled materials, minimizing the environmental impact of construction and operation. 
  5. Financial incentives – Buildings with LEED certification can qualify for tax breaks, government grants, and expedited permitting (in some cases).  They also have increased marketability and allow for higher rent from tenants.

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Source: USGBC, CBRE EA, CBRE Research 2022

 


How to Achieve LEED Certification: 

  1. Register: Registration indicates your intent to pursue LEED certification. Complete the required forms and submit payment via the LEED Online platform.
  2. Apply: Your application showcases your target LEED credits and their implementation. At this stage, collect information, perform calculations, analyze data, and prepare documentation that demonstrates you have achieved the selected prerequisites and credits. Once all documentation is ready, submit the application and pay the certification fee.
  3. Review: Once submitted, your application is reviewed by Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI), an independent third party responsible for verifying completed project requirements. Your project will face a preliminary review followed by an optional final review if revisions or supplementary information is necessary.
  4. Certify: Upon completion of the review, you can accept the results and confirm your LEED certification or appeal the judgment to contest decisions on certain credits. Your final certification report will indicate the level of LEED certification you have achieved (Certified, Silver, Gold, or Platinum).

How AirFixture can help you achieve LEED Ratings: 

AirFixture, a leading provider of innovative HVAC solutions, plays a pivotal role in helping buildings attain the credits needed to achieve a LEED rating. Our cutting-edge technologies focus on key LEED categories, ensuring sustainable and efficient building design and operation, including: 

  1. Energy & Atmosphere: AirFixture's Underfloor Air Distribution (UFAD) systems and displacement ventilation offer energy-efficient alternatives to traditional overhead HVAC systems, reducing energy consumption and improving indoor air quality. UFAD systems operate at higher temps with lower fan speeds, which leads to more free cooling and higher energy efficiency. This attention to detail supports LEED's Energy & Atmosphere criteria.  
  2. Indoor Environmental Quality: AirFixture's cooling and heating systems provide a comfortable and energy-efficient alternative to traditional overhead systems, providing fresh air directly to the breathing zone and reducing noise levels. Additionally, our IAQ solutions, such as air filtration and ventilation controls, further enhance the health and well-being of occupants.  
  3. Innovation: AirFixture's commitment to innovation and collaboration with architects and engineers ensures that our HVAC solutions are seamlessly integrated into the overall building design, contributing to a holistic approach to sustainability. Our lower first-build cost goes hand in hand with the flexibility underfloor air provides for future changes to the space. 

AirFixture stands as a key ally in the pursuit of LEED ratings, offering innovative HVAC solutions that align with the core principles of sustainable building practices. By addressing crucial LEED categories such as Energy & Atmosphere, Indoor Environmental Quality, and Innovation, AirFixture plays a pivotal role in enhancing building performance and achieving green building certification.  


Check out Our Examples

Here are some examples from each LEED certification are:

Silver

Donald W. Maine College of Business, Davenport University, Grand Rapids, MI

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Gold

IDEXX Laboratories, Westbrook, ME

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Platinum

Mary Idema Pew Library, Grand Rapids, MI

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AirFixture has had a hand in helping the following projects achieve LEED certification:  

  1. Birmingham Social Security Administration Center, Birmingham AL 
    2008 
    LEED Silver 
  2. Banner Bank, Boise ID 
    2004 
    LEED Platinum 
  3. Birmann32, Sao Paolo, Brazil 
    2020 
    LEED Platinum 
  4. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Tennessee Corporate HQ, Chattanooga TN 
    2006 
    LEED Gold 
  5. Disney Grand Central Creative Campus, Glendale CA 
    2014 
    LEED Platinum 
  6. Koll Intellicenter, Oklahoma City OK 
    2010 
    LEED Silver 
  7. Michigan Alternative & Renewable Energy Center, Muskegon MI 
    2001 
    LEED Certified 
  8. Mitchell Physics Building, Texas A&M, College Station TX 
    2011 
    LEED Silver 
  9. Service Credit Union, Portsmouth NH 
    2013 
    LEED Gold 
  10. Wells Fargo Duke Energy Center, Charlotte NC 
    2010 
    LEED Platinum 
  11. William A. Jones III Building, Joint Base Andrews, Price George’s County MD 
    2016 
    LEED Gold 
  12. Wellmark BlueCross BlueShield 
    2008 
    LEED Platinum

LEED certification is a significant accomplishment that demonstrates a commitment to environmental stewardship and social responsibility. AirFixture provides innovative and sustainable HVAC solutions that empower building owners and designers to create environmentally conscious spaces that promote occupant well-being and contribute to a healthier planet. 

Are you ready to elevate your building's environmental impact and achieve LEED certification? Contact AirFixture today for a free consultation with our experts. We will help you explore the best solutions for your project and guide you on the path to achieving your sustainability goals.  

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