While some green building strategies to earn LEED credits can be costly, surprisingly there are many that are both easy and inexpensive to implement.
According to Jennifer Meek, director of marketing for Enviro-Solutions, a leading manufacturer of green cleaning chemicals, the following are five of the least expensive things building owners and managers of new and existing facilities can do to earn LEED credits and possible certification:
Provide bicycle storage: Facilities can earn one LEED credit by installing a bike rack that serves at least 5 percent of building users, as measured during peak building use.
Install a reflective roof: Urban areas tend to be warmer in the summer than rural areas. This is called the heat island effect, and it can cause facilities to have increased demands for air conditioning. Reflective roofs, which are relatively inexpensive to install compared to other types of roofs, can help reduce the heat island effect and energy costs.
Low VOC paints and coatings: Many conventional paints contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can harm indoor air quality. Paints and coatings that are green-certified have a reduced amount of VOCs and are often comparable in price to conventional paints.
Conduct “thermal comfort” surveys: New facilities can earn one LEED point simply by conducting an anonymous “thermal comfort” survey of building occupants six to eight months after occupancy. These surveys are designed to examine whether building users are satisfied with such things as air temperature, ventilation, and natural lighting.
Switch to green cleaning products: Using green cleaning products is no longer just a matter of earning LEED points; for a facility to even be considered for LEED certification, a green cleaning program must be in place. Fortunately, this is also one of the least expensive changes building owners and managers can make to ensure their facilities can be LEED certified.