Have you wondered what LEED® means, and why it has become such a widely used term?
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) is one of the most widely used building rating systems in the world. Buildings are certified using different rating systems that go from New Construction, Core & Shell, Schools, Data Centers, Homes, Retail, Commercial Interiors, Existing Buildings, Neighborhood Development, and even Healthcare. Yes, healthcare! CAI Puerto Rico was the LEED® Administrator in the certification of the University of Puerto Rico Comprehensive Cancer Center (UPR- CCC). The UPR-CCC is a hospital that works in conjunction with the Comprehensive Cancer Center to serve cancer patients. Read more about our work on this project here.
Back to LEED®, buildings can qualify for different types of certifications: the most prestigious being platinum (80 points +), followed by gold (60-79 points), then silver (59-50 points), and finally certified (49-40 points). Each point is given based on potential environmental impacts and human benefits. When an owner wants their building certified, they must comply with prerequisites. There are no points assigned for these requirements, but it is essential that the building complies with all of them or it cannot be certified.
How can a project accumulate points to reach the owner certification?
Earning these points is not simple. It requires work from the entire team, and it starts even before the conception of the project. A project can collect points based on different building categories including location and transportation, sustainable site, water and energy efficiency, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, innovation, and regional priority. Each of these categories has different credits that a team can decide to pursue or not. Below is a more detailed look at the categories and associated credits.
- Location and transportation, including the availability of alternative transportation and parking
- Sustainable Sites considers the environment that surrounds the building, focusing on the ability to restore the project site elements by integrating local and regional ecosystems.
- Water efficiency focuses on indoor/outdoor use, specific uses, and metering. Water conservation is the primary goal.
- Energy and Atmosphere focus on reduction, efficient designs, and renewable energy.
- Materials and Resources tries to minimize extraction, processing, transport, maintenance, and disposal of
- Indoor Environmental Quality considers a building’s future occupants. It focuses on air quality, acoustics, lighting, and thermal comfort.
- Innovation is a way to provide projects with additional points when it exceeds the standard.
- Regional Priority credits are identified for a particular location. The main idea is to focus on local environmental priorities.
LEED® Dynamic Plaque System
LEED® is a symbol of sustainability and a recognized international standard for the design, construction, and operation of buildings. In their pursuit of market transformation and innovation, LEED® created the Dynamic Plaque System as a method focused on building performance based on real-time data and benchmarking. This system calculates a performance score out of 100 based on a global data set and action-oriented strategies across five categories: energy, water, waste, transportation methods, and human experience. These categories consider how a building obtains and uses its power, the amount of water used in the building, how much waste is generated and diverted from landfills, what transportation methods are available and utilized by patrons, and the human experience inside the building.
The LEED® Dynamic Plaque is a new way of certification that can be used for LEED® certified buildings and for projects that are not yet certified but want to benchmark themselves and improve sustainability and human health.
At CAI, we are proud of the LEED® certifications we have supported in San Juan, and will continuously strive to help make the world a better place. Contact us today to learn how we can help you meet a higher standard with your next building.
About the Author:
Carla is a Validation / Commissioning Engineer with more than 8 years of experience. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Chemical Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Industrial Engineering. Her experience in projects includes pharmaceutical and industrial GMP and general construction industry. She is a Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) Accredited Professional with a Concentration in Building Design and Construction (LEED AP BD+C). Carla is also a Certified Building Commissioning Professional (CBCP). Her knowledge, ability to solve problems, and desire to learn allows her to work in different environments without any problems.
Some images in this post were provided by iedifiko - Building & Facilities Management with permission for use.