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Water, Waste & Energy Reduction Projects Lead to Better Operations, LEED Certification

Client demand and market demand are the top two reasons to pursue LEED certification. A recent peer-reviewed study showed that buildings with lower operating costs and better indoor environmental quality are more attractive to a growing group of corporate, public and individual buyers, according to the USGBC. And high-performing building features will increasingly enter into tenants’ decisions about leasing space and into buyers’ decisions about purchasing properties and homes, LEED suggests in its Business Case for Green Building.

Building owners and property developers take a variety of approaches to make their buildings eligible for LEED certification. Here are a few examples from some of this week’s certifications, with details on the elements that helped them achieve it:

  • Portland Water Bureau’s Interstate Facility achieved Gold certification for implementing sustainable construction solutions aimed at getting high performance in terms of sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality. The building uses a solar array, eco roof, and stormwater infiltration galleries that retain all stormwater on site and slowly release it into the ground. No stormwater on the site enters the city sewer system. As a result of careful design, the two buildings’ overall energy expenses are projected to be reduced by 30T.
  • The Washington State Convention Center (WSCC) was awarded LEED Silver certification for operations and maintenance in the existing buildings: the building was challenging to achieve LEED because one factor in certification is based on the square footage of space divided by the kilowatt-hours of power used. Because of long operating hours, WSCC uses substantially more energy than other buildings of comparable size. Numerous retrofit changes in lighting, water flow and the HVAC system had to be made. The WSCC also received recognition for their waste diversion efforts, with a diversion rate of roughly 70% from the landfill to recycling and compost centers.
  • Target Field in Minneapolis was granted Gold certification, having previously held Silver certification. The certification came after the stadium added a rainwater recycling system that has helped the building capture, purify and reuse more than 7.9 million gallons of water, reducing its use of municipal water.
  • The San Diego Convention Center has gone from Silver to Gold certification by replacing old fluorescent lights with 11,650 energy-efficient LEDs in the exhibit hall, meetings rooms and offices, renovating restrooms to low-flow water usage, helping reduce indoor water usage by 32%, recycling 100% of all cardboard with two cardboard balers, and composting and reusing all food scraps.
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