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The Benefits of Building Green

Back in 1993, Rick Fedrizzi, David Gottfried, and Mike Italiano convened representatives from 60 private firms and several non-profits in the American Institute of Architects’ Washington D.C. boardroom. The purpose was to share ideas regarding the formation of a coalition of organizations across the building industry, dedicated to green building practices and a green building ratings system that would certify adherence to sustainable design and construction.

This initial meeting led to the founding of the non-profit, U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), and the establishment of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building rating system that the organization sponsors. Over the decades to follow, LEED has become the largest and most well-known green building certification program in the world. In fact, in 2021, LEED hit a new milestone of nearly 24 billion square feet registered and certified, covering 110,000 participating projects.

LEED certification offers an array of benefits to developers and property owners. For example:

  • Builders can take advantage of a range of tax incentives eligible for certified buildings. Several states have LEED incentive programs in place to reward green building initiatives.
  • For owners and managers, LEED certified buildings tend to save money on operational costs, including those for energy consumption, maintenance, and water and waste management. LEED certified buildings also provide safer and cleaner work environments with better indoor air quality, greater daylight access, and less exposure to harmful chemicals. These advantages translate into increased value to tenants and owners alike.

To achieve LEED certification, projects earn points by adhering to prerequisites and credits that address carbon, energy, waste, transportation, building materials, health, and indoor environmental quality. LEED rating systems and pre-requisites vary by type of building, so it’s important to select the right system for your project. Further information on the process of getting certified or improving your certification score can be obtained from the USGBC.

For designers, builders, and owners, developing and managing sustainable buildings has both financial and social benefits. Organizations like USGBC and its certification program, LEED, can help guide the building process and garner the deserved recognition in the marketplace for the added commitment and value. As you plan out your strategy to go green, we at Washington Trust are here to help secure the funding you need to get it done.

* More Than One Billion Square Feet of Green Building Space Recertified Under LEED, U.S. Green Building Council, September 21, 2021.

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