Sustainable Design with LEED Certification

On your next project, consider sustainable building design to reduce waste, increase awareness and improve the environment for your occupants. LEED Certification is a good way to set and meet your project’s sustainable design goals. Despite what many think, embarking on a LEED project is not difficult. To assist, there are now many rating systems customized to the various building types as described. For example, the rating system for LEED Health Care is customized for facilities that operate twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. Depending on the scope of work, smaller health care offices and facilities could fall under New Construction, Existing Buildings or Commercial Interiors rating systems, which have different criteria.

LEED Ratings for Projects

The following reviews some key decisions that need to be made to kick off small renovation projects in LEED for Commercial interiors.


Determining the Scope of Work

When determining the appropriate scope of work for a LEED certified project, it is important to include the entire design team. It is also recommended that initial LEED projects be less complex until you have greater experience with the process and parameters. A great way to start is by making improvements to portions of existing buildings through LEED for Commercial Interiors. With LEED for Commercial Interiors, design teams can define the specific scope of work area that is being used towards the LEED calculations. This is important because many credits are based on the area of the project as well as defines the building systems that are being evaluated as part of the project.

LEED Volume

LEED volume is a good and economical way to streamline multiple buildings or spaces.  This can be utilized in rollout projects or a series of similar phased projects. With this process, a prototype is created and precertified. Once completed, all subsequent projects are then designed to the prototype, meeting the certified standards. In addition, more than one prototype within a building portfolio can be created based on the types of projects that will be needed. After completion, selected projects will be audited by the USGBC in order to ensure the standards set in the prototype are being maintained.

The LEED Checklist

A final consideration in your LEED project is evaluating the level of certification that you may want to achieve.

Certification Level

Once you have determined the goal, the architect will lead the design team in reviewing each credit on the checklist and recommend which credits are to be pursued.

Julia Phillips is a LEED accredited professional and registered architect at Charles Matsinger Associates. With over 10 years of experience in architectural planning for a variety of building types, she has been involved in all facets of design, documentation and construction administration for multiple projects at CMA. Julia has a vast knowledge of the ever-evolving sustainable design and building practices associated with obtaining LEED certification and is an expert at facilitating our clients’ visions for more sustainable work environments.  Julia Phillips Photo


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