How to Get LEED Certification for your Green Building in California

How to Get LEED Certification for your Green Building in California

California is an environmentally-friendly state, so it’s no wonder there’s a trend for certified green buildings. In this blog post, we’re going to discuss how to get LEED certification in California. We’re also going to mention its benefits and easy ways to get LEED credits.

Ready to go green? Read on!

What Is LEED?

LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. It’s globally used and recognized green building rating system available for all types of building projects. The system provides verification of a building’s eco-friendly features benefitting the environment, people and profit.

Why Get LEED Certification?

Getting your building project LEED-certified comes with many benefits. It means the building not only puts less stress on the environment, but also provides a healthier and more productive space for tenants and employees. Additionally, benefits include savings from decreased utility costs and higher profits from increased lease rates and value of the building.

LEED Certification Benefits

  • Improved Tenant and Employee Well-Being

With well-being trend on the rise in commercial design, tenants and employees seek spaces designed with their health in mind. LEED-certified buildings offer better quality of indoor environment which. As a result, the certification leads to increased recruitment, productivity and retention rates.

  • Increased Lease Rates

Green office spaces attract tenants making LEED-certified buildings more competitive in the market. As a result, their lease-up rates go up to 20 percent above average.

  • Increased Savings and Lower Operating Costs

Every year, LEED-certified buildings save hundreds of millions of dollars in savings for water, energy, maintenance, and waste.

  • Better Public Relations

It’s more important for a business than ever to show sustainability efforts, especially in a state like California. Getting a building LEED-certified is a great opportunity to get good publicity.

  • Increased Rental Rates

According to a study of the competitive San Diego market, the vacancy rate for eco-friendly properties (11,7 percent) is four percent lower than for non-green buildings (15,7 percent). Moreover, LEED-certified buildings have higher rental fees.

  • More Environmental Benefits

Green buildings contribute to environment by saving water, energy and other resources. On top of that, LEED-certified properties have reduced waste and CO2 emissions. It’s one thing to simply say that a building is green. LEED certification demonstrates the actual effort to keep the business environmentally-friendly.

How to Get LEED Certification in California?

There’re a few steps you’ll need to take to certify your building project with LEED. Let’s take a closer look at each of them.

  1. Make Sure You Meet the Minimum Requirements for LEED Certification
  2. Know the Type of Your Project
  3. Count Your Potential LEED Credits
  4. Find LEED-Certified Associate Professionals
  5. Apply for LEED Certification
  6. Check the LEED Certification Deadline
  7. Go through the Review Process
Make Sure You Meet the Minimum Requirements for LEED Certification

Before meeting with a member of LEED, make sure your building is eligible. Generally, if it’s a permanent structure that meets state and city building codes, it’s eligible to be certified. However, don’t forget to check LEED size requirements as well.

Know the Type of Your Project

The type of your green building project determines the process of certification as well as the type of professionals who will work with you.

There’re five types of LEED projects:

BD+C (Building Design and Construction)
This type of LEED certification is for new buildings or buildings going through a major renovation.

ID+C (Interior Design and Construction)
This applies indoor spaces, including retail, hospitality and commercial interiors such as offices.

O+M (Building Operations and Maintenance)
This type of certification is for existing buildings undergoing renovation that includes little to no construction.

ND (Neighborhood Development)
This certification applies to neighbourhood construction for residential or commercial use.

Homes are eligible for LEED certification as well. It helps homeowners save money and bring up the resale value of their home.

Count Your Potential LEED Credits

In the LEED Credit System, you can earn up to 100 LEED credits. Some credits are mandatory for LEED certification. Plus, you need a minimum of 40 credits to get certified.

Higher levels require more credits – at least 50 for Silver, 60 for Gold, and 80 for Platinum. Check the list of potential credits in the LEED Credit Library. It’s also a good idea to talk to your architect or designer to see how you can boost your LEED Score.

Find LEED-Certified Associate Professionals

Speaking of architects and designers, you might want to consult a LEED AP. Such professional can help you plan a project with LEED in mind. Having gone through rigorous test and training, AP knows everything about making your building green.

Apply for LEED Certification

Finally, you can apply for your LEED certification. To apply, create an account with USGBC. After that you can register your project and provide required documentation. The process will take a few months.

Check the LEED Certification Deadline

The deadline changes every year. You can find the deadlines on the USGBC website.

Go through the Review Process

In three to four weeks, you will get a review of your application where you will find details on credits you will receive. If there’re any issues with the projects, they will also be in the review.

Next, you can either accept the review or make changes to the proposal. If you choose not to resubmit, USGBC will review your proposal again before accepting or denying it.

In case USGBC denies your proposal, you have an option of appealing and add new documents, credits, or testimony to the application.

What’s an Easy Way to Earn LEED Credits?

After you’ve met minimum requirements, you have a choice of LEED credits to pursue. Some of them are more popular than others as they offer a chance to get more points.

For instance, the majority of projects apply for Optimized Energy Performance with potential 19 points. Other credits many existing building projects get are Additional Indoor Plumbing Fixture and Fitting Efficiency and Green Cleaning.

While there’re no shortcuts to getting LEED Certification, it doesn’t hurt to get innovative. Sometimes a single solution can work wonders. For example, did you know that you can earn up to 13 LEED points with window film?

Using solar control film in your project, you can get:

  • 1 point for Light Pollution Reduction
  • Up to 3 points for Optimizing Energy Performance
  • 1 point for Improved Thermal Control
  • Up to 2 points for Daylight and Views
  • 1 point for Glare Reduction
  • Up to 3 points for Innovation in Operations & Upgrades
  • 1 point for Indoor Environmental Quality
  • 1 point for Optimized Use of Alternative Materials

Metropolitan West offers solar control window film we manufacture locally in Southern California. It’s a cost-effective solution that improves design, allows energy savings, and earns you extra credits with LEED.

We’re dedicated to staying green and helping our clients to do the same.

Contact us today to see how we can help your project. Get extra points for your green building with Metropolitan West!

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