Friday, August 26, 2011

LEED Volume Program: Cost Effective Method for Certifying a Large Number of LEED Buildings

USGBC came up with a smart solution for large volume organizations and companies that are large users of LEED. The LEED Volume Program was developed to offer a cost effective method that leverages uniformity in design and maintains the integrity of LEED standards. In lieu of certifying per building, LEED Volume Program offers organizations the option to create a prototype design that is then pre-certified and can be applied to certify like buildings and spaces throughout their building portfolios. Since the program is based on design uniformity, buildings in any geographical area are eligible for certification.
The LEED Volume Program was conceptualized in 2006 and officially launched at the Greenbuild 2010 Conference & Expo in Chicago. The process begins with interested companies applying to USGBC to use the LEED Volume Program. Once in the program, companies have access to services and online tools that help facilitate prototype development. The next step is creation of a prototype which is basically the design and plan for future volume projects to adhere to, providing sustainable design features and protocol. Once the prototype is approved, work can begin on all volume projects. Needless to say, this drastically reduces per building certification costs as the quantity of projects increases. To ensure these projects maintain the LEED standards, Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) will conduct random audits of a percentage of projects. This phase is referred to as "ongoing certification".
The LEED Volume Program reinforces USGBC's commitment to provide smart and cost effective solutions to large users of LEED. The benefits of sustainable construction have a huge impact that includes better performing buildings that save energy and reduce operating costs as well as reduce harmful environmental impact. Using the LEED Volume Program's streamlined certification process companies can take advantage of lower cost for LEED while still reaping the advantages that come with building sustainable buildings.
Gabriele Medley-Harry
Director of Sustainable Construction