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The LEED certification is a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement. Its purpose is to recognize buildings that have made attempts to create environmentally friendly building and provides a framework to create healthy, highly efficient and cost-saving green buildings. It collects and incorporates a wide variety of ‘best practices’ across many disciplines including architecture, engineering, interior design, landscape architecture, and construction.

Ar. Bharathi Prem, LEED AP
Ar. Bharathi Prem, LEED AP

Architecture is an art which is completely intertwined with the fabric of society and rooted in its geography. Buildings have a substantial impact on the health and well-being of people and the planet. They use resources, generate waste, and are costly to maintain and operate. Green building is the practice of designing, constructing and operating buildings to maximize occupant health and productivity, use fewer resources, reduce waste and negative environmental impacts, and decrease life cycle costs.

The measures being taken to create sustainable environments include design, construction techniques, choice of materials, and operation of buildings – all of which need to be scaled up. Buildings in India consume 14% of total delivered energy consumption. Buildings and construction together account for 36% of global energy and account for 39% of carbon-di-oxide emission, and use 40% of raw materials. Attempts are being made to make the construction industry more environmentally friendly, and with initiatives such as the LEED rating system for structures of all kinds.

LEED rating gives the following benefits:
  • Instant recognition for your building
  • Faster lease up rates
  • Higher resale value
  • Healthier indoor space
  • Lower use of energy, water and other resources
  • Better for building occupants, the community and the environment
  • Enhances your brand and establishes you as a leader in green building.
LEED the acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is the most widely used green building rating system in the world. It is used for New Constructions, Interiors Building Operations, Maintenance, Restoration, Cities and Communities, etc. A LEED building is a product of collaboration of design, engineering, use of the right materials, minimal transportation to cut down pollution, etc to create a naturally lit environment and reducing the dependency on artificial lighting, and designing more energy efficient air conditioning and heating systems.

The next generation of green building will seamlessly integrate buildings into communities, to ensure a sustainable future for all. We’ve been envisioning a new way forward for the growth of smart cities, and our efforts have taught us that in order to scale smart cities globally, we need to encourage all cities to measure and improve the performance of their environment, economy and people.

When cities and communities increase transparency around their performance, they focus more and more on the outcomes generated from their sustainability efforts and strive to make improvements. They start to implement new technologies and practices to make improvements that address the water, energy, waste management and mobility issues they are facing. They realize new ways to engage more of their businesses, residents and community members around improvements. This creates more opportunities, supports improved citizen health and wellness, and provides economic growth, without compromising the environment or our resources.

By focusing on integrated performance, cities and communities can revolutionize the way their buildings, communities and cities are planned, developed and operated. This focus can improve the quality of life of their citizens, open the door for new businesses and new residents, and stimulate a robust, green economy.

LEED Certification is given to a building in 4 ratings: “Certified”, “Silver”, “Gold”, and “Platinum”. Certified being received by meeting the basic requirements, and Platinum being rewarded to the projects that meet the highest tier of requirements. The Certification is done in two levels as Pre- certification and Certification. The Pre-certification of the project happens after the initial registration of the project with USGBC/ IGBC at the design stage. The documentation will detail out the design features and the projects intention in line of the rating system. Pre-certification gives the developer/owner a unique advantage to market the project at the initial stages. The status of the project needs to be communicated with the commission periodically. Apart from the credits in each category, we have mandatory requirements which need to be fulfilled compulsorily.

The five main categories considered are: Sustainable sites, Water efficiency, Energy and atmosphere, Materials and resources, Indoor environment, Quality. The total number of points obtained in each of these categories will help the building get the appropriate certification i.e., a Certified, Silver, Gold, or Platinum seal of approval. Points are awarded for achievements under each of the five major categories, along with an additional category of Innovation and Design.

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