In 2009 I added a new business goal; reduce the impact that buildings have on our environment. To achieve this goal I became a LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP) for the US Green Building Council (USGBC). The USGBC is a non-profit organization that set up a certification process for buildings that takes into account many different factors that impact our environment. Once a project is registered with the USGBC there are prerequisites to be met, and points that can be attained in various categories. Depending on how many points are earned a building can achieve either Platinum, Gold, Silver, or Certified status.
LEED certified buildings display an owner’s commitment to improving our environment, as well as having lower utility costs to operate, lower maintenance costs, and improved property values. At this point a LEED certified building does cost more to build, but this up-front cost is usually recouped within a few years through the savings in operating costs and reduced maintenance. These costs will decrease as the use of advanced building techniques becomes more prevalent and the use of “green” materials becomes the norm.
Even without obtaining a LEED certification you can reduce the operating costs of a building and the impact that it has on the environment by just following some of the guidelines that the USGBC has prescribed. Incorporating various products and materials, such as recycled materials, low water use fixtures, high efficiency lighting and HVAC systems, FSC or SFI certified lumber, proper insulation levels and types, and low VOC materials, are small items that have a huge impact on the environment. The new construction material and products available and their proper use, are rapidly changing and evolving with the green enlightenment of building. This knowledge base sets our company apart from the rest of the construction companies in the area.