LEED Interior Design and Construction (formerly known as LEED for Commercial Interiors, or LEED CI) projects present the largest single opportunity for facility managers to green their interiors space.
The proof is in the numbers. There are more than 5.6 million existing commercial buildings in the United States today, adding up to over 87.4 billion square feet of floor space.
The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED rating system is the most commonly utilized green building certification system in the world. Despite that, less than 1 percent of commercial buildings in the United States are LEED certified. This presents a huge opportunity in the remaining 99 percent of existing commercial buildings.
Of the more than 28.8 million businesses in the country, greater than 80 percent exist within rented spaces inside the non-certified 99 percent of commercial buildings.
LEED for Interior Design and Construction (often shortened to LEED ID+C) enables project teams that may not have control over the whole building to modify interior tenant spaces, bettering the occupant experience while lessening the impact on the planet. Simply stated, LEED ID+C is the green benchmark for the tenant improvement market. Although new construction of sustainable buildings will not single-handedly save the planet, greening the millions of existing buildings, one commercial build-out at a time, can have a notable impact.
But what do historical numbers suggest? Though there have been more than 90,900 total LEED projects certified since August, 2017, the numbers for LEED CI are surprisingly low when compared to other LEED rating systems. Today there are only 3,392 LEED CI 2009 projects. Looking back at earlier versions of the rating system, there are only 1,328 LEED CI 2.0 projects and just 48 in the initial LEED CI 1.0 pilot.
However, the early v4 numbers foretell a golden opportunity. Keep in mind that it’s only been since Oct. 31, 2016, that the LEED v4 ID+C rating system became the only rating system project teams could use. Projects teams could have chosen LEED v4 prior to this date, but many chose to use LEED 2009 because it was more familiar.
Currently, there are 34 LEED v4 ID+C projects already certified worldwide, comprising of 1.8 million square feet. Twelve percent of those spaces are certified Platinum, 34 percent certified Gold, 23 percent certified Silver, and 29 percent Certified.
Upon review of the 34 LEED v4 ID+C projects already certified, all inspire optimism not only for the green building industry, but also for the larger built environment. The projects are varied. For instance, the Green Loop Headquarters office, awarded Gold in LEED v4 on Aug. 29, 2017, is only 846 square feet. Then there’s The Bindery on Blake renovation of Suite 100, a Gold LEED v4 certified office that is much larger, comprising 23,000 square feet.
The ability for so many of these LEED v4 projects to meet the LEED Gold requirements is due to the opportunity provided by LEED v4’s significant upgrades compared to the LEED 2009 version of the rating system. LEED v4 is not simply a step in the continuous improvement of the rating system. And while not a Neil Armstrong “giant leap for mankind,” it has potential to act as an entirely new third party verified green building rating system from a facility manager standpoint.
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