Interested in going green? Not quite sure where to begin? You’ve come to the right place! Today we’d like to share with you some key information and successful tips on going green with our very own Mario Sanchez-Palacios, a LEED Accredited Professional (AP).
It is no secret that going green is becoming more of a priority for everyone. There are great environmental benefits as well as impacts on a company’s bottom line. So why aren’t more companies taking that first step to go green?
Going green can be costly. But it doesn’t have to be! With a great IWMS, like ARCHIBUS and a hand to guide you, going green really can be simple.
What is LEED?
The United States Green Business Council developed LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, to help change the way buildings and communities are designed, built, and operated. LEED is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices. It is the most widely recognized and used green building program across the globe, certifying 1.5 million square feet of building space each day. Over 130 buildings satisfy prerequisites and earn points to achieve different levels of certification. Prerequisites and credits differ for each rating system, and teams choose the best fit for their project.
A LEED AP is an accreditation that demonstrates that an individual understands the complicated LEED green building principles and concepts. A LEED AP is capable of managing a LEED project and helping projects acquire the appropriate number of points to gain either certified, silver, gold, or platinum building levels.
Where to Begin
There are a few types of Rating Systems that apply to Corporate Real Estate:
- Building Design + Construction (BD+C)
- Interior Deisgn + Construction (ID+C)
- Building Operations + Maintenance (O+M)
Each rating system is made up of a combination of credit categories. The number of points a project earns, determines the level of LEED certification (Certified, Silver, Gold, or Platinum).
Since not all companies are ready to build, rebuild, do a complete interior fit-out, or do major renovation, the LEED Rating System easiest to start with is Building Operations + Maintenance. O+M “Applies to existing buildings that are undergoing improvement work or little to no construction; includes Existing Buildings, Schools, Retail, Hospitality, Data Centers, and Warehouse & Distribution Centers.” 1
A few of the applicable credits categories with their corresponding credits for O+M include:
- Location & Transportation
- Alternative Transportation
- Sustainable Sites
- Rainwater Management
- Light Pollution Reduction
- Heat Island Reduction
- Water Efficiency
- Outdoor Water Use Reduction
- Indoor Water Use Reduction
- Water Metering
- Energy & Atmosphere
- Energy Metering
- Refrigerant Management
- Materials and Resources
- Waste Management
- Indoor Environmental Quality
- Green Cleaning
- Indoor Air Quality Management
- Interior Lighting
- LEED AP
- Regional Priority
- Specific Credits based on location
A company can earn points for many, many things like: How close the building is to public transportation (BART, Subway, Bus, etc.)?; Does your building have bicycle parking?; Do your windows have reflective blinds?; Is your building eligible to receive an ENERGY STAR rating?; Are 50% of the products and materials your company uses (pens, paper, etc.) or 75% of furniture made from recycled material, bio-based materials, wood, etc.?; Do you maintain your HVAC systems?; Do you use green cleaning products, materials, and equipment?; Do you recycle?; Do employees have the ability to control the lighting in their work space? Survey employees/building occupants on their typical transportation patterns once every 5 years; Shade 50% of paved areas; use pavers instead of cement; Install a vegetated roof; Perform waste reduction and recycling program; and many more!