How to Get LEED Certified

LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design is a certification program to teach individuals how to design, construct, and operate green buildings. The certificate acts as a badge for those who are attempting to get a job or a contract involving green buildings.

For a certificate program, the process can be quite a gauntlet. The program requires about 69 points. Each course is between 1-3 points (or credits). The courses range from anything from pollution prevention to site selection to storm water design. There are several different courses, and it all depends on which type of certification you go for. The LEED certification program offers various checklists and reference guides for those who are seeking certification.

The LEED certification offers different focus areas to accommodate different areas of construction, including: LEED-NC for new construction, LEED-EB for existing building upgrades, LEED-CI for commercial interior operations, LEED-CS for core and shell upgrades, LEED-H for green home construction, and LEED-ND for neighborhood developments. In addition to these different programs, the LEED program offers workshops and conferences.

There are a ton of benefits to obtaining a LEED certification. For starters, LEED certified buildings can lead to higher returns on an individual’s investment. Due to the decrease in utility costs, LEED certified buildings often spark a higher demand for occupancy. This can justify higher rental rates, thus higher returns. If you are LEED certified, I think it’s reasonable to say that you will have an easier time landing contracts due to the increase of demand for LEED certified buildings.

Overall, the LEED certification program is one of the most simple and effective programs available. It can often be subsidized by your company, and will give you a more competitive edge when applying for jobs. Also, it will make your company much more competitive by having a fleet of LEED certified agents. If you noticed anything that we may have missed, feel free to leave us a comment.

Why Green Building is Important

We’ve all heard the climate change debate, whether you believe it or not, there do seem to be trends with our climate change that are less than favorable. This is thought to be attributed to carbon emissions from cars, buildings and corporations. Car companies are already taking sharp measures by offering hybrid or electric cars to cut down on carbon emissions. There are options available for buildings as well.

Green buildings are a growing trend, climate debate aside, green buildings offer a way to cut costs by utilizing high-efficiency installations to reduce utility bills. This aids companies and building managers in achieving less expensive overhead for their business. One of the functions of green buildings is to help trap cool or warm air inside the building so the units aren’t continuously running. It’s certainly arguable that if you spend the extra funds to make your building a green building, that money will be saved in the following years by less expensive energy bills. Many companies are investing in green roofs and high-efficiency windows to assist this process. Additionally, green insulation will also help this process.

If this trend grows enough, combined with hybrid car efforts, it may be possible to halt climate change. Regardless, it will still help you cut costs for your building. However, as managers of the building, building green buildings will meet demand of tenants. This will allow you to charge more for rent than usual. Allowing a faster and higher return on your investment.

There are tons of different ways you can build a green building. Regardless of the route you take, you want to try to work with a company that is LEED certified. We understand that a complete renovation would be costly, however, any efforts to achieve green building status would give an immediate return on energy costs.

5 Tips for Running an Environmentally Sustainable Construction Site

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Eco-friendly buildings are something that modern day people have heard about, but does one really know what it takes to construct a building in eco-friendly terms? Sustainable design and construction is having more of a significance in the construction industry as designers and owners are finding out that these eco-friendly building actually end up saving more money in the end.

Not to mention the great bonus of less impact on our Earth. It’s important for the focus to be on decisions that include questions of a building site and layout that minimized environmental stress.  When the focus is heavy in the beginning on the design, more efforts and strides are made towards a sustainable construction site. Decisions that may seem minor to workers like the choice of material may have long lasting effort efficiency wise. Here are some tips for having a sustainable construction site:

Plan before you buy

Plan purchases before you buy them so that delivery is right on time for when you’re ready to use it. That way the problem of materials sitting in storage for too long, which may lead to damage and more money being spent, is eliminated.  When storing materials, make sure that all materials are properly stored away to avoid damage either by weather or other workers and thieves. When planning is done before buying, money is saved and there is reduced amount of delays in the project by having to restock materials.

Purchase eco-friendly cars

On my site, we need big cars – usually big enough for 7 people. As you can imagine, it’s hard to find a car that big that is also ecofriendly. However, we found a great solution. We bought a used car for under $5000 and converted it to bio-diesel. Easy and efficient.

Properly store waste

First, we must know that waste is anything that goes into a garbage and ends up in a landfill such as unused materials, damaged materials or products, demolition waste, etc. Properly disposing of waste and storing waste in the first place are crucial in a sustainable construction site, as construction can get dirty fairly quickly. Records show that 13% of waste is new, unused materials. Take steps to reduce this kind of waste by finding supplies who ship materials in smaller quantities and who accepts returns or exchanges.

Material Exchange Programs are your friends

These programs are becoming increasingly popular as are a good way in exchanging excess materials and ultimately eliminating any waste that may land up in a landfill. Every tone of waste is taxed, therefore meaning participating in this program is saving more money. These programs also help reduce labor costs as well!

Reducing carbon footprint  

Only use products that cause minimal damage and harm to the environment and that are energy efficient in terms of disposal and distribution. Some products include passive stack ventilation system and high efficiency boilers. Using lower energy forms of construction help decrease the carbon dioxide arising from site activities.

Be clean and tidy on the job

Construction can be a messy business, but minimizing onsite concrete dust, air and water pollution can really go a long way in terms of sustainability. Having a cleaner more sustainable site not only helps the environment by avoiding materials from getting in the air or water supplies, but it increases the health of the workers on the site as well.

A Few Socially Responsible Industries You Should Be Aware Of

We talk a lot about green buildings on this blog. That is really what the blog was founded on, but I do not want to give the impression that we don’t believe there are other socially conscience industries. In fact, there are a bunch!

Dog Food: Pedigree is a very active company in the area of social responsibility. They have largely built their name by encouraging individuals to adopt homeless animals. In addition to that, they have donated millions to shelters and rescue efforts. They are an excellent company who continues to give back to the animal community.

Shoes: Most people know about Tom’s shoes. The whole basis of the company is they donate one pair of shoes for every pair of shoes that was sold. To date, they have donates over 400,000 pairs of shoes to kids around the world. They are doing extremely well for themselves, and they give the consumer something to feel good about when they purchase their product.

Cosmetics: The Body Shop is one of the first major companies to put efforts into social responsibility (which is great because I love their makeup, and I own a few of their mascaras!). Even further, they have been completely transparent about their initiatives and their outcomes. Unlike other corporations, they are involved in just about everything from sponsoring posters to self-esteem issues, animal rights, human trafficking, and much more! Additionally, they put a large amount of efforts into encouraging other companies to give back as well.

Coffee: Starbucks has emphasized their out of work behavior on social responsibility. They have put a lot of effort into sustainable, green coffee. This is because in a lot of less-developed countries, people and resources are exploited to benefit more-developed countries. This is an ugly trend and Starbucks is doing what they can to not participate.

There are plenty more, but this gives you an idea. Thanks for reading!

The Lesser-Known Beneficiaries of Green Building

When people think about the benefits of green buildings, they are almost exclusively benefits for the building and the environment. However, what people don’t realize is that green buildings also have health benefits for its tenants. And this is important to me. I worked as a medical coding specialist in the billing department of a hospital for a long time, so this kind of thing is close to my heart.

Green buildings are notorious for keeping the building much cooler, this in turn keeps the building dwellers much more comfortable. This reduces stress, helps you have more energy for after work activities, and decreases the risk of heat stroke or any other temperature related health risk.

Additionally, there is something enticing about being in an environment that utilizes clean energy and eco-friendly tactics. Frankly, it’s just good for the soul, and it encourages us to try to eat and live clean and carry eco-friendly behavior outside of work. If you’re in an environment where everyone collectively tries to live clean and healthy lives, facilitated by a green building, it makes it much easier to carry on this type of lifestyle in all areas of your life.

Green buildings have been know to use garden plots as roof tiles. This has loads of benefits, but one benefit that building administrations have utilized is using the garden to help feed thetenants. This would make the majority of their diet fruits and vegetables, which have their own added benefits. Some of the benefits from eating these types of foods would be using the anti-oxidants, using clean energy for your body, and just generally eating clean and healthy. Heart disease is one of the number one risks of death, it doesn’t help that a large portion of people eat fast food for lunch, this type of idea would help decrease that risk.

There are tons more benefits of green buildings that we haven’t mentioned. If something sticks out in your mind, feel free to leave us a comment. Let us know how your life in a green building is affecting other areas of your lifestyle. Thanks for reading!

Green Shoes for Green Building

Let’s face it, if you are working on a green building, you might as well practice what you preach and grab yourself a pair of green shoes, especially if you’re a cross-fitter like I am. The thing about it is there are plenty of companies that offer green boots for working. Enough people have joined the trend that they realized they need to offer green options for all types of people and purposes.

Planet Shoes is one example of a company that offers plenty of different options for eco-friendly shoes, including tennis shoes and work boots! I feel that once people are aware these types of options are available, then there aren’t a lot of reasons not to choose to utilize them. They work just as well as shoes that don’t follow green guidelines, sometimes they cost a little more, but if you have a crew of workers who are all wearing green shoes, it makes your operation seem a lot more genuine to potential contractors.

They also have physical benefits. Green shoes have to make up for potential higher costs by adding various benefits. In addition to ethical benefits, green shoes usually have excellent support, and they are extremely comfortable. This helps with back issues, knee issues, etc. This will also work as preventative care. The support from the shoes will help keep you from generating back problems in the future, which can be an investment. If you take measures to prevent health problems, you will save that money in the future. This is probably the more important benefit to you as a person.

There are plenty of options for green work shoes or boots. They will benefit both you and your company in the long run. We have only provided a few examples, so if you have anything else you think we should add, feel free to leave us a comment so we can add it.