Green construction and retrofit projects can be in the shape of formalized programs like LEED, to merely following California's statutory requirements like Title 24 or even just a desire to save money with energy-efficient products. Many facility owners are working towards getting their buildings LEED Certified. A LEED certification suggests that a company or business is committed to environmental protection and has energy efficient measures in place to achieve that goal. While a building's energy consumption is determined by a lot of aspects, one of them is lighting. Working alongside project engineers, electrical contractors can come up with lighting solutions that limit energy demands on a circuit, meet the regional codes and earn LEED points.
What is LEED?
Developed by the US Green Building Council, LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a green building certification system, recognized internationally. Its certification suggests that a building has met third-party standards across the metrics deemed important for energy and environmental protection. These would include energy savings, efficiency in utilization of water, reduction in CO2 emissions, improved indoor environmental quality and wise use of resources. LEED certification provides a framework for implementing best practices in building design, construction, operations, and maintenance.
LEED certification comes in four levels. At a minimum, LEED-certified buildings must have between 40 – 49 credits. To receive a silver certification, buildings need 50-59 credits, gold buildings need to have 60-79 credits, and buildings with 80+ credits receive a platinum certification.
Benefits of having LEED Certification
Faster Lease-up Rates
Lucrative Tax Rebates
Retain Higher Property Value
The case for LED Lighting
There are three categories of LEED Certification that can be affected by the use of LED lighting:
- Energy and Atmosphere (EA)- energy performance for buildings.
- Indoor Environment Quality (IEQ)- air quality within the building and daylight views.
- Innovation and Design Process (IN)- sourcing of innovative products.
High Energy Efficiency
Modern LEDs are by far the most energy-efficient light source on the market and is an absolute necessity for anyone aiming to reduce their energy usage. LED Lighting has the potential to cut down a facility's energy demands by more than 70% in comparison to traditional lighting sources. Projects aiming to earn a LEED certification can earn close to 19 points for things like eliminating legacy lighting systems like incandescents, installing smart light controls that allow motion sensing and photo-sensing on-off.
Smart Light Controls
Since LEDs are a newer addition to the list of light sources, they also come with the most advanced integrated light controls. Most LEDs are completely dimmable and are even more energy-efficient when dimmed. LEDs with auto controls such as photosensors and occupancy sensors help earn even more LEED points, as they can maximize a facility's efficient light and energy usage.
Void of Hazardous Materials
Unlike legacy light systems, LEDs are void of hazardous raw materials like mercury, an ingredient commonly found in CFLs. Being safe from hazardous components allows being safe from volatile organic compounds (VOCs), substances that vaporize at room temperature and can cause health problems.
Curb Light Pollution
Choosing Outdoor LED Lights that emit light downwards (full cut off) instead of upwards is an easy way to cut down excess glare from lights and keeping light concentrated where it is needed, instead of lighting up the night sky. Curbing light pollution with the right kind of outdoor light can also help earn one point towards LEED certification.