The true cost efficiency of LEED certification
As you consider the implications of new construction, you may be wondering if LEED certification is a financially viable choice for your project. LEED certification allows you to qualify for credits in multiple categories (Sustainable Sites (SS), Water Efficiency (WE), and Energy and Atmosphere). LEED certified buildings also benefit from increased property values and lower energy consumption.
What is LEED certification? According to the U.S. Green Building Council:
LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is a green building certification program that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices. LEED certified buildings save money and resources and have a positive impact on the health of occupants, while promoting renewable, clean energy.
Scott Henson Architect offers design strategies that leverage green building practices as part of our sustainability services. In turn, these practices add value to a property while reducing energy consumption and improving air quality. For example, we are experts in converting unused roof space into vegetated roof systems, which are greener and more aesthetically pleasing.
The cost efficiency of LEED certification has been verified by a variety of independent agencies.
- The Department of Energy found in a 2011 study that LEED-certified buildings use 25% less energy (compared to the national average).
- A University of Notre Dame study of PNC’s bank branches found that the branches that were LEED certified used $675 less in utilities per employee than in non-LEED facilities.
- A White House Office of Management and Budget study released in 2012 reported that investments in energy efficiency over a four-year period would save as much as $18 billion in energy costs.
If you are interested in exploring LEED certification for your building, contact us.
Commercial Energy Audit to Cut Energy Costs
Energy efficiency is a serious concern for businesses. A commercial energy audit is necessary to help cut costs significantly. In order to achieve optimal results, a reputable auditor that is vendor and solution neutral must perform the audit.
At Scott Henson Architect, we pride ourselves in being or having experienced, honest and thorough auditors. An inaccurate audit can waste money by installing the wrong energy conservation measures (ECM) or by recommending ECM equipment that is either not suitable for that type of energy efficiency or provides a return that is less than the auditor had estimated in their report.
A commercial energy audit is a report that will compare current ECMs and proposed ECMs with advice on how to improve energy efficiency without an unrealistic cost to the business. There is not a generic form used between similar building structures for this audit. A commercial energy audit is unique and conducted on each building based upon several things, such as building square footage, age of the building, date renovated, purpose of the building, number of floors, daily operating hours per week, number of occupants and existing ECM equipment.
A commercial energy audit report will include the current Energy Conservation Methods (ECM), a proposed ECM, estimated annual savings based on the proposed ECM, expected cost of implementing proposed ECM and estimated return of investment.
The correct audit report can help a business save money in energy costs by giving advice on where to invest money to improve energy efficiency and estimate the cost of implementing a new ECM. The data collected during an audit can save or cost businesses in the long run.
Please contact us for questions, concerns, feedback or suggestions.