Washington DC is the first LEED Platinum city in the world. Pictured is 1225 Connecticut Avenue, the first redeveloped office building on the U.S. East Coast to receive LEED Platinum status. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
What is LEED?
LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environment Design. It has set the standard for today’s new building criteria – construction and design. It is the one building tool that addresses the needs of the entire building and life-cycle from initial conception and design to maintenance.
For a long time, green construction was mostly limited to houses, and it could get expensive — often considered too expensive or impractical for commercial use. These days, however, not only will building green save companies money over time, it’ll also score them tax breaks, rebates, grants and other incentives.
West Memorial Place Phase I, a development of Skanska at 15375 Memorial Drive in Houston, earned LEED Platinum certification from the U.S. Green Building Council in 2016. Photo courtesy of Houston Chronicle.
What makes a building “green?”
A building that is green is often referred to as being sustainable, or environmentally friendly. This means that the design, construction and materials used for construction employ and incorporate an array of strategies that, together, make the building more energy efficient, healthier and don’t deplete natural resources. The use of sustainable materials is very important in building construction. But this is just one aspect of the overall process.
The ideal green building would be a building project that would allow you to preserve most of the natural environment around the project site, while still being able to produce a building that is going to serve a purpose. The construction and operation will promote a healthy environment for all involved, and it will not disrupt the land, water, resources and energy in and around the building. This is the actual definition of a green building.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) best describes green building as “the practice of creating healthier and more resource-efficient models of construction, renovation, operation, maintenance and demolition.”
Why invest in an environmentally friendly building (Solar/ Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED)?
Green building (also known as green construction or sustainable building) expands and complements the building design concerns of economy, utility, durability, and comfort. A Green Building is one which uses less water, optimizes energy efficiency, conserves natural resources, generates less waste and provides healthier space for occupants as compared to conventional building.
- Improve Quality of Life
The air pollution is significantly minimized because of the natural resources that are utilized in construction of eco-friendly house. It implies that the air you inhale in your house is healthier.
- Decrease Carbon Impact
The problem of climate change is an obstacle for a company and building owner. Having a lot more high-performance green buildings could aid companies to produce their own power requirements, with the capacity of giving power back in the grid. Power efficiency techniques could reduce dangers associated with increasing power costs.
- Rapid Return on Investment (RROI)
Compared to past idealistic desires to simply do the right thing, the business value that green projects can offer is now driving the market. Green building makes properties more valuable and because of both lowered maintenance and energy costs, ROI on green initiatives are generally expected to pay for themselves in just seven years.
In addition, day-over-day costs are reduced year-over-year. Green-building owners reported that, on average, their ROI improved by 19.2 percent for existing building green projects and 9.9 percent on average for new projects. It’s becoming increasingly evident the market is being motivated by the bottom line
- Reduces Your Footprint
Buildings are responsible for an enormous amount of greenhouse gas emissions, global energy usage and resource consumption—even out-consuming the industrial and transportation sectors. Standard buildings account for 41 percent of total energy consumption in the U.S.
Green buildings however, are lowering utility bills and using natural resources efficiently, thus reducing impact on the environment and climate change. Such projects also use less water and minimize the waste of millions of materials each year.
To summarize, investing in environmentally responsible real estate properties is not just an idea, it is the future of real estate investment. As property owners or future real estate investor, you should consider this option for the many benefits it generates for your real estate investment, from higher return on investment to higher net annual income and, of course, a more socially and environmentally responsible sustainable building.