By David Braddy LEED GA
While LEED is a common term among architects, engineers & construction trades it is still unclear to many, what it means. LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is the measurement & method by which buildings are built to higher standards of sustainability and certified to different levels of efficiency. This is administered thru the U.S. Green Building Council or USGBC
Why does this matter? While I am not fond of too many government rules or regulations or unnecessary codes, I am partial to building smarter, healthier and in ways that make more money. I am a LEED GA for one reason only; it is the future of building. In 30 years most industry experts believe the conventional building methods still used today will be history.
Let’s look at some facts:
During the economic downturn the USGBC certified its 12000th commercial building in 12 years and green building practices have been growing and gaining market share around the world, while most of the industry has been in a downturn.
There are now currently 45000 commercial projects participating in the LEED rating system in all 50 states which have a combined total of 8.4 billion square feet. In addition to that LEED now has a home’s rating system of which more than 76,000 have registered and more than 19000 have been certified.
Why is this Important? Owners who choose to build green are doing so for strategic reasons and have a long term market view, they now have data that proves the ROI of a LEED certified home or building is far superior to conventional built buildings. While energy savings alone normally offset any additional upfront cost there are many other benefits. One of the largest is health and employee productivity. The largest cost per square foot of a building owner or tenant is not utilities or rent, but employee salaries and even a small increase in productivity can equate to thousands in savings. In recent studies from Berkeley National Laboratory on health and productivity gains it was concluded that there is strong evidence that indoor environments affect worker performance and the projected gains from providing a better indoor environment are larger than the total estimated cost of energy used in the buildings. Bottom line; there is more than one type of green the owner is looking at here.
What about your home? Sales data for environmentally certified homes became available for the first time in 2007 and now many MLS services have certification check boxes for their listings. Real Estate Agents in certain areas can now download whether the home is LEED certified or Energy Star certified, if your area doesn’t yet it will in the future.
If you are a Real Estate Agent or Builder, Listen UP, this is important! Environmentally certified homes are attracting more interest from buyers. The difference is substantial and growing, in one area the MLS revealed that certified homes made up 33% of the new home market, now here is the interesting part, they sold at a premium of 9.1% per square foot and in 24% less time than their conventional counterparts. Appraisals in some parts of the country already take in consideration whether the home is built to green building standards or not and are valued accordingly.
So if you haven’t already jumped on the green train you need to at least buy a ticket and get ready.