Green construction is a burgeoning part of our industry and isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. Receiving an Energy Star or being awarded LEED certification are the two main ways a building can be designated as environmentally friendly.
In Part 1 of this two-part article, we discussed how being awarded LEED certification or an Energy Star can benefit the building’s contractor. In Part 2, our Nashville construction attorneys will cover how the two certifications differ and interact.
How the Two Certifications Differ
As mentioned in the first part of this article, Energy Star is the symbol of energy efficiency that is backed by the US government. LEED certification is not government affiliated; rather, it is the brainchild of the United States Green Building Council (USGBC), a non-profit organization. LEED is an internationally recognized standard and Energy Star has international partners.
Energy Star certification can apply to products as well as buildings, whereas LEED certification is just used for buildings.
LEED has ratings for:
- Existing buildings
- New construction
- Healthcare facilities
Entire buildings can be awarded an Energy Star, but it can also be awarded to individual products such as:
- Air conditioning units
Energy Star designates buildings or products as energy efficient; LEED, on the other hand, is a broader certification that takes other environmental factors into account. For example, a building can gain points toward a LEED certification through close proximity to a subway station. (People could take the subway instead of driving, which is good for the environment.)
How the Two Certifications Interact
Predictably, there is a degree of overlap between the two environmentally friendly stamps of approval.
When your building is awarded LEED certification, it means you succeeded in using strategies that promote:
- CO2 emissions reductions
- Energy savings
- Improved air quality
- Stewardship of resources
- Water efficiency
Energy Star illustrates that your building uses energy more efficiently, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other pollutants.
The major commonality between Energy Star and LEED certification is energy efficiency. Both certifications have the ability to benefit the building owner, contractor, and other involved parties. Using Energy Star certified appliances and resources also translates favorably when it comes to a building’s chances at LEED certification.
Disclaimer: The information contained in this article is for general educational information only. This information does not constitute legal advice, is not intended to constitute legal advice, nor should it be relied upon as legal advice for your specific factual pattern or situation.