More and more buildings across Greater Boston are receiving LEED certification, the most widely used green building rating system in the world. LEED buildings can provide a competitive differentiator, attract tenants, increase rental rates, optimize health, reduce costs and much more.
LEED is not new, but in the last 5 years or so the mindset has become more of “we need to do this” rather than “what is this about.” LEED certification programs are an excellent way for companies to show how they embrace sustainability, both to their employees and the markets they serve. They also provide substantial benefits to the owner, specifically in the categories of energy and atmosphere and water conservation, which can provide immediate return on investment.
Sustainability is so important as a means of conserving natural resources and energy that many of the requirements from LEED 2009 have actually become requirements in local municipalities. Massachusetts in particular is ahead of the pack with respect to energy conservation in building codes, so many of the components of LEED are now merely incorporated into the code. In fact, new buildings constructed in the City of Boston are now required to achieve LEED certification. The newest standard, LEED v4, raises the bar even further in the direction of creating not just a green industry, but a green economy.
When it comes to LEED certification, life science projects in particular, common throughout Massachusetts, present some unique challenges with respect to water consumption and HVAC systems in the facilities, but also additional opportunities for cost savings.
One such life science project was JLL Construction’s recent work for EMD Serono’s Research & Development Institute in Billerica. The site’s Unity building achieved LEED Gold certification in 2011, while the Sagamore building achieved LEED Platinum certification in 2015. Both projects received high ratings for indoor environmental air quality, water efficiency, and innovation. While not uncommon in the industry at this time, having a project staff on these projects that were all LEED accredited professionals was a huge benefit.
LEED certification can be a challenge, but it is a worthwhile challenge to undertake. LEED has taken the forefront in conservation and sustainability in the construction industry. It has driven changes in the ways of thinking, the ways of manufacturing, and in the building codes themselves, resulting in a focus on sustainability that would have otherwise been deferred in the industry.
To learn more about LEED certification or to inquire about how JLL Construction can help you, please don’t hesitate to contact me.