Companies Encourage Green Building, but not LEED Certification

1225 Connecticut Avenue in Washington, D.C., is the first redeveloped office building on the East Coast to receive LEED Platinum status. Image Source: Wikipedia.

With the construction industry setting goals and preparing plans for 2013, corporations and their executives are figuring out how to integrate sustainable building practices into their construction projects. A recent survey conducted by an NY-based construction firm, Turner Construction Co., looked at the motives for green buildings as well as the future plans of various companies. Conducted just last October, the survey was conducted among 718 executives and focused on emerging trends in green buildings.

One key finding is that companies still see the value in green buildings and continue to commit to planning and construction a green building for their organization. In fact, 90% of respondents said that they will continue to commit to sustainable green building practices. They say that green buildings pay off in terms of cost savings, brand impact, customer requirements, and simply because it’s the right thing to do.

However, the number of companies that are gunning for LEED certification has significantly dropped, with only 48% of the respondents planning to apply for LEED certification. The highest was at 61% in 2008 and 53% in 2010.

What is the primary reason for company executives’ seeming loss of interest in seeking certification? Several factors were cited, among which were the cost of the entire certification processes, labour and the general difficulty of the process.

With the introduction of LEED 4.0, the costs of the entire process will be even more expensive. The documentation requirements are indeed rigid and time-consuming. The entire procedure requires the expenditure of capital that could otherwise be used for improving the green building.

As for contractors who want to get certified, there is a recent technology that might prove to be helpful in the certification process: the LEED automation program, which integrates third-party technology platforms with LEED Online. But the question remains: is automation a solution that can cure all the aforementioned problems in the LEED certification process?

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