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You Should Know Before Selecting a Warehouse
Historically, the perception has been that only build-to-suit office projects were eligible for LEED certification because industrial projects, many of which are speculative, were unable to fit into the narrow certification criteria. However, with USGBC’s multitiered approach to evaluation, industrial developers now have a valuable tool kit for obtaining this sought-after status. The LEED program has four distinct certification levels based on a 69-point rating system. The system evaluates sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and LEED innovation credits. The certification levels for LEED construction include LEED Certified (26-32 points), LEED Certified Silver (33-38 points), LEED Certified Gold (39-51 points), and LEED Certified Platinum (52-69 points). The rating system is significant to industrial developers because its emphasis on mechanical systems -- such as heating, ventilating, and air conditioning -- typically is confined to large indoor environments with a higher density of employees. While industrial developers initially dismissed the option of earning certification points, attaining a LEED-Certified or LEED-Certified Silver designation for a spec industrial building is possible through the introduction of other sustainable building features and construction methods. Employing these classifications as a template for constructing a green industrial facility allows for an a la carte approach to development, based on managing the design and construction process with the ultimate goal of achieving a specific certification level. As with any development project, experience and planning are paramount to this strategy’s proper implementation, as installing individual sustainable features in a cost-effective and efficient manner requires an understanding of the different product types. For example, waterless urinals typically are not installed in spec construction, and on-site water retention often requires a higher level of advanced planning to accommodate for unique site conditions. As a result, pursing LEED certification begins even before project plans are drawn. Green Industrial Features As various green projects come on line, a new generation of industrial buildings is being constructed. Standard landscaping elements such as grass berms now are giving way to sustainable features such as bioswales, which are drainage systems that retain water onsite. French drains, which reduce water discharged into sewer systems also are a new sustainable feature for buildings. Meanwhile, interior elements such as • clerestory glass, which provides ambient lighting and requires less energy; • daylighting, which uses strategically placed windows and skylights to provide natural light; • recycled carpet; • non-volatile organic chemical-emitting paints and finishes; and • energy efficient mechanical systems can reduce operational expenses and help earn valuable points for LEED certification.
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