What is a LEED Certified Business?

LEED certification can be a valuable asset for any business, big or small. With the environment becoming a key factor in building and maintaining new and existing companies, LEED certification could be the next logical step for any business with goals around making their business more environmentally friendly.

What is LEED anyway?

According to the US Green Building Council – LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is a “green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices. It provides building owners and operators with a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations, and maintenance solutions.”

How is it determined?

LEED certification is a commitment, but if your business is serious about it, it’s worth the time. The certification is based on a point and scale system distributed across six categories: Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality, and Innovation in Design. Once the review process is complete, a business will receive certification based on the number of points received. The four levels of LEED certification are Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. To learn about the process, check out the Guide to LEED Certification.

What are some of the advantages and disadvantages?

LEED certification acts as compelling proof to you, your clients, peers, and the public that you've achieved the environmental goals for your building and business practices. Getting certified allows you take advantage of many state and local government tax incentives, and can help boost public interest in your business.

However, the initial cost of making changes to current infrastructure and business practices to fit environmental standards set by LEED can be discouraging, especially if it requires drastic changes. It’s not ideal for every business so every business owner should weigh the cost against the benefits of getting LEED certified.

Tips for Getting Started

Do you think that LEED certification could truly benefit your small business, but not sure how to go about it? Start with these handy tips:

  1. Be Prepared for the Time Commitment – Expect to spend around two years connecting all the dots for the certification process, so use this time wisely to focus on the basics of certification.
  2. Set Your Budget – What level of LEED certification you are aiming for? Set your goals and determine a budget you’re comfortable with. Higher levels of LEED certification like Gold or Platinum have much higher costs.
  3. Stick to Your Goals – Throughout out the design and building process, stay focused on meeting your LEED goal and staying on budget. Maintain the environmental and economic integrity of your project at every turn.
  4. Aim for Longevity – Be sure to examine green investments in terms of how they will affect expenses over the entire life of your operation. Many energy-saving features allow for the upgrading or elimination of old equipment, or reduce total costs of new equipment by recouping immediately or over the course of use.
  5. Hire the Right Talent. There are thousands of architects, consultants, engineers, product marketers, and other LEED professionals around the world that have a demonstrated knowledge of green building and can assist you in meeting your LEED goal.
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