Wondering what LEED Certificate is and its benefits and the ways it works? If yes, then this article is surely the right choice for you. LEED certificate, which is also referred to by people as Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is one of a kind green building certification devised by the USGBC (The United States Green Building Council). It intends to recognize the infrastructural projects, including buildings that are in compliance with its rules and norms to ensure sustainability, efficiency, and no negative impact on the environment. To understand its significance in the present scenario, then the fact it has been recognized by over 165 countries, including India, all over the world should be more than enough. The purpose of this article is to give you a clear understanding of LEED certification, and its benefits for the infrastructural development, the environment, and the people of India.
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What is LEED Certification?
LEED, or we should say, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Certificate offers a framework for business entities to work for healthy, efficient, carbon-neutral, and cost-effective green buildings. Being recognized globally as a symbol of sustainability development, LEED is supported by an entire community of environmentally-friendly industries and individuals with the motive to transform today’s market and bring green buildings into the mainstream.
In more simple terms, LEED certification is a green building scoring mechanism to evaluate the environmental performance of all buildings, including commercial and residential ones. It assesses the architectural aspects of buildings from several perspectives, including sustainability, the efficiency of energy use, water conservation, materials, etc. Someone might ask, “What’s the point of all of these?” Well, for one we can say, it ensures the businesses that indulge in construction activities are operating as per the LEED certification requirements, which means, they are environmentally responsible, clean, and cost-effective.
Benefits of LEED Certification
We are sure that some of you might be thinking “Is LEED Certification relevant in India?” and there’s nothing wrong with it. Well, you would be surprised to know that India proudly grabbed the third position in the world for LEED green buildings in 2021 with a whopping total of 146 certified buildings and spaces, representing over 2.8 million gross area square meters (GSM) in the US Green Building (USGBC) annual list. Now, there must be something good going on with this, right? Otherwise, rarely anyone would go to such lengths to get their projects LEED certified.
Let’s take a look at some of the benefits the LEED Certificate in India can give you.
- Ensure Energy Savings
Who wouldn’t like to save operational costs, especially when it comes to building infrastructure which often involves massive investments? With LEED certification, you can make your building project energy efficient, using technologies like solar panels and bringing down the expenditure on energy use. Besides this, it can also help you contribute to a better environment as less energy requirement means less emission of harmful greenhouse gasses.
- Less Usage of Water
India comes among the most water-stressed countries as with over 18 percent global population and just 4 percent of the world’s water resources, the problem of water scarcity is at its worst today. Here, the LEED certificate can play an important role as it motivates the real estate industry to design their buildings to ensure the conservation of water as much as possible.
- High IEQ (Indoor Environmental Quality)
Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) is nothing but conditions inside a building, alongside the health of those who occupy it. It involves air quality, lighting, thermal conditions, and the effects they have on the people living in such a place. LEED certification aims for a high IEQ, to offer a clean and healthy atmosphere for occupants. That’s the reason we see LEED-certified buildings promoting concepts, like ventilation, delighting, and the use of low-emitting materials.
- Better Building Valuation
Higher valuation compared to traditional buildings is the reason major real-estate developers of the country are taking more and more interest in the development of green buildings. The quality and sustainability aspects of LEED-certified buildings not only bring more interested buyers but also lead to higher profit margins.
- Tax Incentive
Last but not least are the Tax incentives that the government of the country offers to the businesses involved in the development of LEED-certified buildings. Under the Income Tax Act, eligible real-estate developers can get up to a hundred percent depreciation on the cost of products used in green buildings. For instance, solar panels, waste management systems, or rainwater harvesting mechanisms.
Leed Certificate - Rating System
LEED Certification uses a 100-point scale, where businesses can get ratings and awards credits based on the environmental impacts of their activities. The logic behind this is simple, the more a business meets the criteria prescribed for sustainability, the higher points it earns. The range of LEED certificates varies as per the number of points, it can be just certified to Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Here, the first one is the lowest and the rest are of higher level.
So, now the question arises, is the LEED certificate applicable only to those buildings that are new or under construction? The answer is NO. People can apply for LEED Certification for any already existing buildings. All they need to do is go through the required process, which can involve the assessment of the building’s recent environmental performance to specify whether it passes the eligibility criteria.
Purposes to Apply For LEED Certification
Not anyone can apply for LEED certification as there are certain purposes only for which an individual or organization can obtain it. Below, we have listed down the most common types of LEED certification as per the different types of projects.
- LEED Certification for Building Design and Construction
Also known as LEED BD + C, this rating system is used for buildings that are recently constructed or have gone under major renovation in the preceding year with at least sixty percent of their gross floor area having to be completed by the time of certification. It usually involves an assessment of the sustainability performance of designs and construction of the building.
- LEED Certificate for Interior Design and Construction
Commonly referred to as LEED ID + C, it is applicable to those projects that are a complete interior fit-out. This means that no further construction and designing are required and the project is all good for occupancy.
- LEED Certification for Building Operations and Maintenance
LEED O + M certification rating system is used for existing buildings and verifies a project’s continued maintenance practices to keep a high level of sustainability performance over time.
- LEED for Neighbourhood Development Certification
LEED ND aims to promote and certify highly sustainable and well-connected neighbourhood development projects. It encourages the use of smart growth and New Urbanism best practices. Under this rating system, factors such as the level of accessibility, connectivity, and engagement among the community play a great role.
- LEED Certification for Residential
As the name itself suggests, LEED for Homes is applicable to residential projects. It takes into consideration several factors such as how energy and water efficient a home is, its level of indoor environmental quality, and to what extent it is cost-efficient.
Process of LEED Certification
Getting LEED Certification isn’t easy as it seems and the reason behind this is the number of steps it involves. The step that comes first for a business entity is to register its infrastructural projects with the US Green Building Council (USGBC) and opt for a relevant LEED rating system. What we meant here is the LEED rating system varies as per the specificities of the building projects, which can involve existing buildings, residential places, commercial interiors, nearby development projects, etc.
Once the registration with the USGBC is done, the business entity can go through the requirements prescribed under the LEED certification and devise a strategy to earn points for certain sustainability criteria. Remember, only upon the fulfilment of the prescribed requirements, one can obtain the certificate. Then, what about the earned points? They can only be earned for optional criteria to get a certification of high levels.
Read Our Blog: How to Obtain Green Building Certification in India
Under the LEED certification, the business entity requires to get in touch with an authorized and independent organization for the verification process. Basically, that organization, or we should say, the third party will assess the environmental performance of the infrastructure project and confirm whether it meets the LEED certification criteria.
Today, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design or LEED Certificate stands as the world's most recognized green building rating system. In India, the responsibility of administering it lies with the Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI), which has been working day and night to promote the development of green buildings and the use of sustainable practices all across the country. With LEED certification, an entity gets to enjoy several advantages, such as cost efficiency, tax savings, high IEQ, and many more.
The support India’s government shows for LEED certification is also commendable and the reason behind this is it can bring down the environmental impacts and help the country achieve its net zero targets by the year 2070.
Environmental Impact Assessment
Environmental impact assessment is an instrument to evaluate the consequences of the establishment of a new project or expansion of projects related to industries, mining, pipelines, etc. Enjoy simple processing and no hidden fees.
An environmental audit is an important part of a company’s environmental policy and performance. It checks whether the company has complied with the environmental regulations and requirements, and achieved the environmental goals set by them.
An environmental consultancy firm consists of a team of experts, who’re qualified in the studies of law, geology, environment, engineering, and have years of experience dealing with the aspects of regulations & norms associated with environmental laws.
This portion of the site is for informational purposes only. The content is not legal advice. The statements and opinions are the expression of author, not corpseed, and have not been evaluated by corpseed for accuracy, completeness, or changes in the law.
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