The US Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design -- LEED -- certification is America's leading certification for green buildings. As it grows in popularity, it is also becoming a global standard. Green buildings, in general, offer significant benefits over traditional properties, but LEED certified buildings offer additional advantages.
Lower Occupancy Costs
The key tangible benefit of a building designed for sustainability is that it is usually cheaper to operate, which makes it less expensive to occupy. Green building systems like high-efficiency heating, ventilation and air conditioning units, energy-efficient LED lighting and high R-factor insulation all reduce energy bills. Intelligent building systems that help to reduce resource usage in unused spaces and green features like skylights go even further to reduce consumption and lower costs. The green operational methods that many LEED buildings encourage -- like recycling and using high efficency equipment in your workspaces go even further to save you money.
While it's true that some LEED certified buildings recoup a portion of those savings in higher rents, the cost of those rents are lower than they seem. With energy cost escalations outstripping the rate of inflation in many areas, any rent escalations should be more than balanced out by the cost savings over time.
Improved Employee Morale, Productivity and Retention
Workers love green buildings, and they don't just love the ideology of it all. They love lighting that mimics daylight, ample glass lines and interiors with reduced levels of gaseous volatile organic compounds. More and more workers appreciate easy access to public transit and support for walking and biking commutes.
The benefits of green and LEED certified buildings aren't just aesthetic, though. More, better light helps employees to work harder and faster, boosting productivity. A combination of better light, better ventilation and healthful building finishes can also reduce sick days, further increasing your return on your labor investment.
Improved Public Perception
More and more members of the public also expect to see companies locate in green buildings. While a green location can be helpful in attracting customers -- some hotel chains are using their LEED certified locations as marketing tools -- they can also be requirements for some potential client pools. If you are serving sectors that are environmentally sensitive, your green space could make the difference between whether or not you are able to land clients.
The LEED Certified Difference
Ultimately, most of the benefits that you can achieve by occupying a LEED certified building can also come from a green building. Your next office doesn't need to have a certification to have high efficiency lighting or low-VOC paint. A LEED certification doesn't make a building any greener than any other -- it's the actual building and its construction that does this.
What a LEED certified space offers is recognition. If you are in a green building, you may have to explain your ecological bona fides. However, if you opt for certified space, simply saying that you are in a "LEED Gold" or "LEED Platinum" building can tell your intended audience just how seriously you take sustainability and environmental responsibility.
Here are some other articles to check out: