August 01, 2010

Companies decide whether LEED certification can justify cost

When Lawrence University in Appleton built its newest residence hall in 2003, it built to sustainable guidelines, but did not seek LEED certification. But by 2007, as it planned what has now become the Warch Campus Center, LEED certification was a part of the equation from the very beginning.
What changed? In large part, it was Lawrence’s "Green Roots†initiative to integrate sustainable principles through educational policies, activities and eco-friendly behavior.

"Pursuing LEED certification is a statement about the value we place on making choices and decisions that are good for the university and our students,†says Nancy Truesdell, vice president of student affairs and dean of students at Lawrence.

LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of green buildings. More than 35,000 projects have been registered to follow LEED guidelines since they were established in 1998, and just over 5,000 of these have become certified.

Some companies opt for LEED certification because it’s a broadly accepted standard, conducted by a third party. Others do so because they want the recognition certification brings or because government contracts require it.

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