How to Make Your Facility LEED Compliant


Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is one organization that has instant name recognition with building owners and managers. A compliant building is known to be green friendly, use less energy, and ultimately cost building owners less money in long-term costs. So it’s no surprise to learn that a lot of people with existing building are interested in applying for LEED certification.

Learning how to make your facility LEED compliant is the first step in creating a happy, healthier, and more cost-efficient building.

What’s LEED Certification?

LEED certification is acquired by earning points in 9 categories. Forty points is the minimum needed for certification, but more points can spring your building into one of the following LEED certification categories: Silver, Gold, or Platinum.

Here’s how the point ranges break down:

  • 40-49 points: Certification
  • 50-59 points: Silver
  • 60-79 points: Gold
  • 80+ points: Platinum

Your score card will be tallied and added to your LEED application, but first you’ll probably want to make some changes to your building so you can earn more points. So let’s take a closer look at some of the ways you can increase your number of LEED compliance points.

LEED Certification Checklist

Although there are over 100 possible points up for grabs on the LEED certification checklist, 12 items are specified as being required for your facility to even be considered compliant. It’s imperative that you make an effort to meet these list items if you hope to achieve certification.

So what are these prerequisites?

1. Construction Activity Pollution Prevention

The purpose of this requirement is to help reduce pollution from the construction process. You’ll need to come up with a plan for controlling soil erosion, sedimentation, and airborne dust.

2. Outdoor Water Use Reduction

Reducing outdoor water consumption is required if you want your facility to be LEED compliant. To do this, you’ll need to either show that no irrigation is required or that reduced irrigation is being used (30% less than the calculated baseline during the peak watering month).

3. Indoor Water Use Reduction

The water your building uses indoors is just as precious as the water it uses outdoors. Reduce water consumption by 20% to achieve this prerequisite. Plus all new toilets, urinals, bathroom sinks, and showerheads will need to be WaterSense labeled or the local equivalent.

4. Building-Level Water Metering

This supports water management and helps you spot areas where you can further improve water reduction. Since most facilities have a water meter, you may be able to earn this credit without having to dish out any capital for renovations.

5. Fundamental Commissioning and Verification

Although a little more in-depth than other requirements, it’s still important to ensure that you complete these commissioning process activities. The purpose is to support a facility design, construction, and operation that meets your plans for energy use, water consumption, indoor air quality (IAQ), and durability.

6. Minimum Energy Performance

Your facility will need to demonstrate an energy reduction of 5% for a new facility or 3% for a renovations project. Not only will this help you earn certification, but you’ll also save money on your energy costs.

7. Building-Level Energy Metering

Similar to the water metering, you’ll need to have a meter that accurately measures your facility’s energy use.

8. Fundamental Refrigerant Management

Basically, this requirement specifies that your building can’t use chlorofluorocarbon-based refrigerants in the HVAC and refrigeration systems. If it does, a phase-out process must be implemented.

9. Storage and Collection of Recyclables

This is a no brainer. If you want your facility to be LEED compliant, you have to provide adequate methods for recycling glass, plastics, metal, paper, and cardboard.

10. Construction and Demolition Waste Management Planning

During the building of your new facility or its renovation, you’ll need a plan for waste disposal. The plan needs to show how you’re limiting the amount of waste that will end up in a landfill by sending to recycling facilities.

11. Minimum IAQ Performance

IAQ is an important health factor for your building. You’ll need to demonstrate that your building has minimum pollutants and adequate ventilation.

12. Environmental Tobacco Smoke Control

Smoking must be prohibited indoors and designated smoking areas must be established outside. These areas must be at least 25 feet from any entrance, window, or air intake.

Using LEED-Compliant Materials

As part of your plan to make a LEED-compliant facility, you should consider what materials you use in your building. Certain materials, like HDPE plastics, can help you achieve certification because of their low impact on the environment and assistance in improving IAQ, among other benefits.

Learn more about HDPE and how to build a sustainable building by downloading our free eBook Sustainable Building Products: How to Make Your Facility Eco-Friendly from Top to Bottom