LEED Certification is an in-depth process that requires building owners and project managers to follow rigorous standards for green building and design. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a process that universally applied this detailed outline to more than one project? Enter the LEED Volume Program.
In the past, some organizations that worked hard to design and build green buildings opted not to pursue LEED Certification. They often used LEED credit categories as a checklist for developing a green building but found that the LEED Certification process was too costly and too reliant on paperwork.
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has since created the LEED Volume Program, which is a smart solution for organizations planning to certify a large number of design and construction projects or existing buildings. According to the USGBC, this new program will dramatically reduce the costs associated with LEED Certification and still preserve the integrity of these well-known building standards.
The LEED Volume Program has three main goals, which include:
- Preserve the integrity of the LEED Certification system,
- Leverage uniformity in building design, construction, and management, and
- Encourage building owners to integrate LEED practices and documentation into organization-wide practices.
Before this program was developed, building owners had to decide if the LEED Gold, LEED Silver, and LEED Platinum certifications added value to their projects or if constructing edifices to LEED standards was green and noble enough. It seems the USGBC has made the decision easy by streamlining the process.
Additional benefits of the LEED Volume Program include increased asset value, a demonstrated public commitment to environmental stewardship, important opportunities to benefit from financial incentives, and reduced operating costs through lower resource consumption.
To Get Started
Interested organizations must apply to be a part of the LEED Volume Program by completing an application and submitting supporting documentation to assess readiness and compatibility with program requirements. The application is available on the USGBC website.
Upon acceptance into the program, the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) will review the submitted prototype and ensure that plans are technically accurate, consistently implemented, and safeguarded by robust quality assurance measures.
After the prototype has been approved by the GBCI, project managers may begin working on all the volume projects. They must work on the projects for a minimum of three months following this approval. The GBCI will conduct random audits of a percentage of volume projects to ensure continued compliance.
Who Will Benefit?
Since LEED Certification has become the recognized and accepted standard for green building, this LEED Volume Program is likely going to have a large impact. More and more retailers are pursuing LEED Certification in an effort to lower expenses associated with construction, operations, and maintenance, while also attempting to garner support from environmentally-minded consumers.
I suspect organizations like Kohl’s, Starbucks, Chipotle Mexican Grill, and Lowe’s will all benefit from the LEED Volume Program. These nationwide retailers have constructed LEED certified stores in the past and may find this program to be an incentive to open more.
It looks as though there will be an explosion of projects seeking LEED Certification because of this program. Now is the time to be an accredited LEED AP! If you haven’t yet earned your accreditation, visit our LEED training page and find out how you can participate in the LEED Volume Program. Everblue also provides corporate training, so if you believe your organization could benefit from the LEED Volume Program, and you need knowledgeable LEED APs to manage the project, we can assist you with group training as well. We’re excited to see how many new projects will pop up as a result of this program!