Using LEED in transportation projects can lead to savings
- Using LEED strategies in transportation facilities can help save project stakeholders significantly and lead to a higher return on investment, according to the U.S. Green Building Council's LEED in Motion: Transportation report.
- The operating costs of green buildings, according to a 2012 study from McGraw Hill Construction, dropped 13.6% for new construction and 8.5% for existing projects. LEED-certified buildings saw a 19% decrease in overall operating costs compared with similar, non-certified buildings.
- In 2010, the transportation industry accounted for 14% of all greenhouse gas emissions, making it the fourth most contributor. In the U.S. transportation took the number two slot for greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for 27% in 2015.
When LEED for New Construction was introduced in 2000, green building was still considered a fad. Since then, the LEED program has evolved into its now nine rating systems for buildings, homes and neighborhoods. With 136 LEED-certified projects, Massachusetts ranks as the number one state in the country for LEED certification, according to a study USGBC put out in January. Colorado came in second with 3.17 square feet of certified space per resident.
But Washington, DC, is the raw numbers leader in LEED sustainability, with more than 494 million certified square feet of such space. Commercial space accounts for 311 million square feet of that figure, with residential space claiming the remaining 183 million square feet.
Despite LEED's popularity, the certification isn't the only measure for a building's sustainability. Last year, BuildingWise and BRE Group introduced BREEAM USA. The standard launched in Europe in 1990 and since has expanded to 77 countries. Rather than focusing on prerequisites to get certified, BREEAM rates existing buildings on performance criteria. The organization's goal, CEO Barry Giles told Construction Dive last year, is to analyze buildings' benchmark data and use it to help those buildings reach zero-carbon emissions.
The Green Buildings Initiative's Green Globes certification is another benchmarking tool that features new construction, existing building and commercial interior certifications. And Energy Star certification isn't just for appliances. Buildings can be Energy Star certified, too, provided they meet energy performance standards from the Environmental Protection Agency. Certification is annual, ensuring buildings continue operating efficiently year over year.
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