It’s time for your business to “LEED” the way in sustainability (getting the puns out the way early). Getting certified is an essential step in the process. It helps to put your business on the map, too. 

Continue reading to learn what it takes to have a green approach to your projects. 

What is the LEED Certification?

LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, a section of the U.S. Green Building Council (GBCI). They provide a framework for sustainable, efficient, cost-saving projects. The goal is to help create a standard for the most environmentally beneficial buildings possible when looking at the big picture of the project.

The certification is internationally recognized and is available for cities, housing communities, and neighborhood development operations. Nearly any project can be LEED certified, including:

  • New construction
  • Maintenance and operations
  • Interior design

Even buildings or projects that already exist can be LEED certified. It takes innovative initiatives to reduce carbon footprint within the business, including staff, equipment, and operations.

Read: how to reduce your carbon footprint at home

How LEED Works

When aiming for certification, a project will go under a review. Upon review, your project will receive points corresponding to the certification level. The points system works like this:

  1. Certified: 40-49 points earned
  2. Silver: 50-59 points earned
  3. Gold: 60-79 points earned
  4. Platinum: 80 or more points earned

Benefits of Being Certified

Getting a LEED certification isn’t a requirement for your business. Although, if you receive any government funding for a project, the funding might require you to be certified. Regardless, LEED certified projects have many benefits.

The two biggest benefits are positive environmental impact and cost savings . The GBCI reports that LEED projects have led to 78 million tons of avoided CO2 emissions, 25% less energy used, 11% less water used, and 80 million tons of potential waste not ending up in landfills.

Overall, your building and operations will perform much more smoothly and effectively. That means less spending, more savings, and more efficiency. Win-win.

With an LEED certification being so well known, in the public eye, it’ll communicate to people that your business cares about cleaner air and environment.

According to Forbes, consumers demand sustainable products and companies. “A desire to help the environment was found to be the primary reason consumers purchase sustainable products and brands.” This makes you more attractive to potential customers and partners.

Requirements for Certification

Getting this certification is no easy task; it’s not as simple as applying and getting certified. You need to strategically think about your business project. Rushing through it or improperly planning will lead to some extremely costly mistakes.

Step 1: Build the Business Plan

Creating a business plan for sustainability
Image by fauxels

Certification isn’t free; at minimum it’ll cost $2,900 but the actual price depends on how big the project is. Factoring that in is important when trying to determine the entire project cost.

As you’re developing the blueprints, have an environmentally friendly eye. The more green initiatives, the better but the price of the plans will cost quite a bit upfront. 

As you’re coming up with these initiatives, think about what level certification that you want to get. Do you want the highest rating or are you content with a simple certification? Is the highest rating possible with your budget or will you have to settle for one of the middle ratings?

While you’re planning, gather some LEED certified professionals to work with. They’ll already know the standards without you having to retrain current staff. 

Step 2: Register

Before you can begin a project, register it. Visit the LEED library to see what minimum requirements are necessary, depending on your specific project.

Step 3: Submit Application for Review

When you’re ready to apply, get your fees and documentation ready. The documentation needed depends on the certification level you’re trying to reach. 

Ensure that in these documents you highlight information relating to your desired level. This will boost your chances of getting the level you want. To help even further, give your project a narrative that shows your intent of a green initiative.

The review process goes through three stages:

  • Preliminary: this takes 20-25 days. Look through these results in detail to see if you’re happy with the rating at the moment. Provide more information if you’re dissatisfied with something.
  • Final: this occurs if you’ve submitted extra detail to change the results from the preliminary review.
  • Appeal: If after both stages you’re still not satisfied with the results, you can enter a supplemental review. However, it’ll require an additional fee. 

What Determines Your Certification Level

Here are the categories in which you can earn points for your certification.

  • Location and transportation: Does the property have access to public transportation or is close to heavy foot traffic? Is it accommodating to green vehicles or bicycles?
  • Sustainability: How sustainable is the development? Is there low light pollution or high rainwater management?
  • Water efficiency: How well is water use managed throughout the project?
  • Energy: There should be energy-efficient power throughout everything with effective power usage.
  • Indoor air quality: High air quality management and emphasis on proper, low-emitting lighting. Natural lighting through multiple windows is helpful.
  • Resource management: Make sure that the material used for making and continuing the project handles recyclables and waste effectively.

Can Robotic Lawn Mowers Help with LEED Certification?

Robotic lawn mowers can help in a fantastic way, depending on the project. Many landscaping companies rely on traditional gas-powered lawn care equipment to make the land look good. A simple lawn mower is so environmentally ineffective that it causes 11 times as much pollution as a typical sedan. 

If you partner with a landscaping company, work with one that uses battery-powered tools. Doing so would help you get more points in the sustainability, air quality, and resource management categories. 

Regarding sustainability, robot mowers contribute very little to noise pollution, making significantly less noise than a traditional mower. For air quality, you won’t have to worry about any fumes releasing in the air since the battery-powered tools are zero-emission. 

For resource management, you can say goodbye to gas. That means no more risk of any potential gas spills while a mower is in use. And it means money saved; powering robot mowers is much cheaper annually than refueling traditional mowers.

There are plenty of high quality robotic lawn mowers suited for any finished project.

Read: which robotic mower manufacturer is best in 2022?

Show Your Business’s Drive for Sustainability With a LEED Certification

Getting certified isn’t just to make your business look good. It’s a great way to operate without contributing as much of the CO2 that the world already produces so much of. 

Aim for as high of a certification rating as you can; the world will be grateful. You can get a small start by learning more about our commercial solutions.