California has long been a pioneer of green building and energy efficiency and is a well-known champion of robust energy codes. Yet, a non-mandatory program like LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) continues to enjoy popularity here, where certification levels surpass those of any other state. If you wonder what LEED certification can do for your project, and how you can achieve it, read our guide below.
LEED is a green building rating system. By adopting its strategies, interior spaces, new and existing buildings, neighborhoods, and entire cities can reduce their environmental impact, increase sustainability, and improve the health of their inhabitants.
LEED can also give buildings and their developers an edge over the competition. Following the LEED framework enables design teams to create healthy, sustainable, and cost-efficient buildings, while LEED's global recognition gives certified projects a competitive advantage on the market.
In California, LEED certification may be easier to obtain than in other states. Thanks to our advanced energy codes, the United States Green Building Council has streamlined certification procedures for buildings that already comply with California’s CalGreen code. The statute is a green building code that, like LEED, promotes sustainable building practices in planning, design, energy, water and material efficiency, as well as environmental quality. Unlike LEED, many of CalGreen’s regulations are mandatory for new construction in the state.
LEED has certification programs for various types of developments. These include new buildings for all functions, core & shell developments, interiors, operations and maintenance, neighborhoods, homes, cities, communities, and net-zero buildings. These are summarized below.
This certification category covers new construction and major renovations of various commercial and industrial developments, including data centers, hospitals, schools, warehouses, as well as retail and hospitality establishments.
The BD+C certification is also available for Core and Shell developments. With these projects, the developer is typically responsible for completing the structure, envelope, hard landscaping, mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems, and finishing the main circulation areas, while the tenant is in control of fitting out their space.
The ID+C category is designed for project teams that want to create a healthy, green interior space but lack control over the building’s operations. This certification applies to the interiors of retail, hospitality, and other commercial establishments.
The O+M certification helps existing buildings operate with greater efficiency. The category applies to existing buildings or interior spaces of any function, as long as they’ve been operational for a year or more.
Aimed at creating healthy, sustainable communities, LEED-ND Certification is available for neighborhood-scale projects in any phase of planning, design, and up to 75% completion, as well as to projects that were completed within the past 3 years.
This residential certification category promotes good indoor air quality and safe construction materials for residential buildings. It is available for single-family homes and multi-family buildings up to 8 stories high.
This program helps cities and communities develop sustainable, specific plans for natural systems, energy, water, waste, transportation and other factors that affect the quality of life of the inhabitants. A globally consistent framework for the assessment of planning, design, measurement, and management of social, economic and environmental conditions is a key aspect of the program.
Buildings with LEED certificates issued under the O+M program must recertify every 3 years to maintain the LEED status. Other LEED categories do not require recertification but are also eligible for the program.
LEED Zero recognizes the achievement of a project’s net-zero goals and is available for all LEED certified developments. The program is divided into 2 subgroups: Zero Carbon and Zero Resources.
Zero Carbon certifies buildings operating with net-zero carbon emissions from energy consumption or occupant transportation. Zero Resources is further subdivided into 3 groups: energy, water, and waste, and certifies building’s achievement of net-zero consumption/production of these items.
If you’re planning a construction project, you may already know the LEED program for which your building can qualify. Now, you should find out if your project is eligible for LEED based on the minimum program requirements. These vary based on the type of development, but typical new building projects must fall within the following constraints:
1. Must be in a permanent location on existing land - no project designed to move at any point in its lifetime is eligible for LEED.
2. Must use reasonable LEED boundaries - the project must include all contiguous land associated with the building and its functions. No part of the building or site may be excluded to give the project an advantage in achieving LEED credits.
3. Must comply with project gross floor area requirements:
Having established eligibility, you should determine which LEED level your project will pursue. The 4 levels of LEED, and the number of points required for each, are:
The points are awarded along with credits earned for the implementation of specified environmental programs. Based on LEED v4, published in 2019, these include:
Each program outlines measures for achieving its environmental objectives. These are summarized in the table below, along with the total number of available credits for each. Most credits also have prerequisites - standards that have to be met to qualify for the credit. For a more detailed explanation of each credit and its prerequisites, click here.
If you’re working towards LEED certification for your construction project, we can help. Our team of engineers will ensure that the civil, structural, and MEP design can earn the LEED credits that you choose to apply for. Contact us at (877) 892-0292 or firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your project and receive a quote today.
Design Everest is OPEN! We work remotely and are fully committed to taking on and delivering projects.
Design Everest’s remote working model can safely take-up and deliver your projects within the current government guidelines on COVID-19 (a.k.a Coronavirus). This applies to many of our project scopes, including architecture, civil engineering, structural engineering, and construction administration across California.
Design Everest is set up to remotely leverage digital platforms (virtual meetings, calls, emails etc.) in client-facing and internal operations. Over the years, we have advanced this ability to the extent that we can continue supporting new and existing clients across many of our projects. Even projects that need an on-site visit can be fulfilled safely via video calls or in-person visits, where permitted.
Note that the present government guidelines permit the delivery of essential services, including those related to construction.
YES, Design Everest's remote working model enables us to work safely with all clients, suppliers, industry partners, and internal staff as per government guidelines.
Design Everest can still support many of our types of projects (new or ongoing) safely. For example, new custom homes, accessory dwelling units, civil plans etc. We are committed to delivering these remotely and safely as per the current government guidelines. In case of any external dependency that is unavoidable/unavailable, your assigned Custom Success Manager or Project Manager will keep you posted on it and try their best to keep your plans in-progress.
YES, our remote working model enables us to be fully committed to ongoing projects. In case of any external dependency that is unavoidable, unavailable or unsafe, your assigned Custom Success Manager or Project Manager will keep you updated and try their best to keep your plans in-progress. If an on-site visit is not feasible via a video call, we will try our best to fulfill the visit safely, where permitted.
Some of our clients are already going ahead with their projects with us via video calls or virtual meetings. Your assigned Customer Success Manager or Project Manager is happy to help you with this, where needed.
There are multiple reasons for this. It's typical to plan the construction step in the summer. So, clients get started on the pre-construction steps (architecture, engineering, and construction admin) in winter or spring to stick to planned timelines.
Projects such as Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) and Additions/Remodels enable clients to rent/resale and generate revenue. Meanwhile, many clients are concerned about protecting their families and businesses against earthquakes by retrofitting their homes and buildings. These are just a few of the various reasons why it’s still reasonable for clients to stick to their construction plans.
Feel free to phone us at (888) 311-3015 Alternatively, you may contact your assigned Custom Success Manager or Project Manager directly via phone, email or virtual meetings.
To summarize, Design Everest is OPEN and able to serve new and existing clients, affiliates, suppliers, and industry partners.
Stay safe and rest assured that Design Everest can help you go ahead with your plans as per the recommended safety guidelines!