Massachusetts is a leader in energy efficiency and renewable energy. We have been ranked first in energy efficiency since 2011 and highly in the nation for LEED-certified buildings. In this blog post, we’ll explain what it means to be LEED-certified and discuss the importance of a partnership between programs that encourage sustainability, energy efficiency, and renewable power. Plus, we’ll outline how you can get LEED certified.
What Is a LEED Certification?
LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a global green building certification program that ensures buildings have been constructed with key sustainability metrics in mind. Established by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED certifications verify the efficient use of materials, water, and energy for the entire lifespan of the buildings, from initial design to retrofitting. It assesses buildings on five distinct categories: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality.
What Are LEED Certification Levels?
There are four different levels of LEED Certification that buildings can achieve: Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. LEED uses a point system to designate which level a building qualifies for. Buildings can either be Certified, Silver, Gold, or Platinum, depending on their score.
What Are the Benefits of LEED Certification?
One of the biggest benefits of LEED certification is cost savings. Since LEED buildings are designed to be energy-efficient, they require minimal energy for heating and cooling, and this cuts maintenance costs dramatically. In fact, the USGBC has reported that LEED-certified buildings have 20% lower operational costs than conventional commercial buildings. Plus, LEED certification can increase the value of your property; building owners have reported an average increase of 10% after LEED certification.
Many aspects of LEED certification can also be written off in taxes or qualify for rebates. Ductless mini-splits, heat pumps, water heaters, and several other energy-efficient retrofits that can help with LEED certification are eligible for tax credits. Additionally, the federal solar tax credit is available for solar systems and battery storage until 2022. This means that you receive 22% of the original cost of your installation through tax returns. Massachusetts also offers a 15% state tax credit worth up to $1,000. Since solar and storage can play a key role in LEED certifications, these tax credits make the certification even more lucrative.
LEED certifications can also help you impress customers or tenants. More than ever, consumers are conscious of their environmental impacts, and they’re looking to align their purchases with these environmental standards. In fact, it’s been estimated that 8 in 10 consumers consider sustainability efforts when shopping. A LEED certification demonstrates that your business values the health of the planet and local communities, and it shows customers that your beliefs hold up to their ethics as well.
How Can Solar Help with LEED Certification?
You can reduce the impact of buildings on our environment by choosing to add solar panels to your home or office. Solar is a key component in the LEED certification process. Adding solar ties into several of the major pillars of LEED certification, including a decrease in greenhouse gases, improved air quality, a transition to new energy sources, and smart, forward-thinking building practices. This all reduces negative effects on human health and environmental health.
Plus, there are several financial benefits to going solar when you get your LEED certification. In addition to the tax incentives mentioned above, solar is smart for your wallet because it captures free sunlight to heat or cool your building. Globally, we are quickly using up our reserves of oil, gas, and coal, and the costs of these natural resources will continue to increase as their supplies dwindle. If you are tied to the grid with traditional energy sources, you could be paying the price.
Explore Your Options For Going Green
Solaris Renewables is committed to helping consumers reach maximum efficiency and capacity. Contact us to make the move towards LEED certification.