What Value Does LEED Certification Really Provide?

January 15, 2015 Updated: April 23, 2016

The long-term, monetary benefits of LEED, the U.S. Green Building Council’s way of rating the sustainability of a structure or building, are becoming clearer each and every year. Since the guidelines and standards were released 14 years ago, there have been more than 20,000 buildings to achieve a LEED certification. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

Commercial LEED Certification

It’s estimated that by the year 2015, up to 48 percent of new non-residential buildings will be built to be green. That’s a huge increase considering that merely two percent of non-residential construction projects were green in 2005. And it’s only going to grow more. Over 70 percent of construction projects projected to cost more than 50 million dollars make mention of LEED when submitting their specifications.

Certification Proving to Be Wise Investment

Not long ago, most businesses assumed that constructing their business building to be green would cost them a pretty a penny. But in reality, that just isn’t the case. In 2004, it was noted that constructing a building within a budget that didn’t account for being green or meeting the criteria for LEED certification cost merely 1 to 3 percent more, if that. Then in 2007, Davis Langdon revisited this and proved once again that it rarely increases construction cost. Here is also a more recent article that also explains how green buildings increase financial performance. And for long term return on investment? As more data streams in and is studied, it’s clearly evident that the ROI on certification is well worth it. Consider Adobe Systems for example… They invested in a $1.4 million retrofit and the payoff? They were able to completely repay the money in less than a year and enjoyed over a 120 percent ROI. Large corporations and family-owned businesses alike are realizing the benefits of becoming LEED certified. Just a few that have either been certified or are working on it include Starbucks, Kohls, Target, Verizon and Tofurky.

Is Residential LEED Certification Worth It?

While it’s hard to put exact numbers on LEED certification for non-residential buildings, it’s easier for residential. Homes that get certified are valued eight percent higher than similar homes that don’t. That’s a good deal since homeowners are getting back roughly four times the value of the investment made.

It’s no wonder the job outlook for LEED consulting, engineering and related positions is nothing short of exciting. A study by the USGBC (US Green Building Council ) and Person (taking into account data given by Burning Glass) revealed there were over nine thousand job postings requiring LEED credentials from March of 2013 to February of 2014. The USGBC says that the demand for personnel with LEED credentials jumped nearly 50 percent in the last year alone.

Interesting Facts

  • There are around 60,000 LEED building projects in the works all around the world
  • There are some 150,000 LEED certified housing units all around the world
  • The number of housing units that are LEED certified more than doubled between 2011 and 2012

Other Resources:

http://www.environmentalleader.com/2014/10/29/leed-retail-participants-on-the-rise/

http://www.usnews.com/opinion/economic-intelligence/2014/05/30/the-business-case-for-leed-buildings

LEED is in High Demand in Today’s Job Market