Over the past decade, the green building programs have gained recognition nationwide as leading the way for responsible, modern buildings and designs. These rating tools, which are usually voluntary, recognize and reward companies and organizations that construct and manage more environmentally friendly buildings, thus encouraging and motivating them to push sustainability boundaries. Two programs are rising as the most popular: LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) and the WELL Building Standard. This blog post will explore these two standards and why companies should choose real estate that has achieved these designations.
In 2000, the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) developed and published guidelines to implement practical green building solutions. These guidelines were dubbed LEED ratings for new buildings. Today, LEED is one of the easiest-to-recognize sustainable construction certifications. LEED certification signifies certification for building a healthy, high-efficiency, and economical structure that improves environmental performance, from carbon dioxide emissions to indoor air quality. LEED's rating system focuses on several categories such as: energy and atmosphere, water efficiency, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, innovation, location and transportation, and regional priority.
WELL Building Standard
The WELL Building Standard was created by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI) and is based on scientific research and medical evidence focusing on seven categories of building performance: air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort, and mind. WELL certification assesses a building's performance in areas such as indoor air quality, water quality, lighting and acoustics, thermal comfort, and the availability of healthy food options, in addition to requirements related to mental health and access to nature. The certification can be applied to new and existing buildings, as well as to spaces within buildings.
Both certifications aim to promote environmentally friendly and healthy buildings, but they have some key differences:
- LEED primarily focuses on the environmental impact of a building, while WELL focuses on the health and well-being of the people who occupy it
- LEED certification is mandatory for all federal buildings in the US, but WELL certification is voluntary
- WELL certification is more specific on the indoor environment quality and air ventilation, while LEED is broader, covering a range of environmental performance categories
- WELL certification also includes requirements related to fitness, nutrition, and mental health, while LEED does not
Click here for a full chart of the similarities and differences.
Why choose an Accredited Green Building?
Choosing an Accredited Green Building is a smart investment for both the environment and for the people who occupy the building. Not only do these buildings save on energy costs and conserve resources, but they also promote the health and well-being of those who use them. Additionally, green buildings can contribute to the development of sustainable communities and neighborhoods by promoting walkability, bikeability, and public transportation. It can also factor into your company becoming B Corp certified. Investing in an accredited green building not only benefits the individual but also the planet and the economy as a whole.