Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, is the most popular green building certification program in the world. Developed by the Green Building Council in 1994, LEED v1.0 launched in 1999 as a pilot program. The program steadily evolved into a standard that is flexible enough to apply to many types of buildings, not just new construction.
To achieve LEED certification, a building, home, or community must demonstrate high performance in regards to environmental and human health. Key areas include indoor environmental quality, water savings, energy efficiency, and sustainable site development. Existing buildings looking to earn the coveted certification often seek the LEED for Building Operations and Maintenance (O+M) certification, which they can achieve with the help of green facility maintenance companies and green cleaning policies. New building projects may earn additional LEED credits by incorporating green cleaning policies and programs into their designs. By adding green cleaning into your LEED certification plan, the efforts may contribute up to 25 percent of the total points necessary.
Benefits of LEED Certification
- Competitive advantage: Sustainable buildings often experience improved financial performance.
- Improved morale: LEED-certified buildings tend to have higher employee and tenant recruitment and retention rates, as healthier buildings boost morale and productivity.
- Energy savings and lower operating costs: Sustainable building designs and green cleaning programs help save energy, water and operating expenses.
- Improve public relations: LEED certification can lead to improved publicity, a quick ROI, and new clients.
- Increased tenancy levels: Green buildings generally have higher occupancy rates than non-green properties.
- Improved health: Green buildings use materials, finishes, paints, and cleaning products that keep the indoor air free of harmful chemicals.
LEED O+M: Your Way toward LEED Certification
Providing a way for existing buildings to earn a LEED certification, LEED v4 for Building Operations and Maintenance outlines voluntary standards for property owners who wish to operate in a sustainable manner. The certification is based on a building’s performance as it relates to maintenance programs, waste management, energy and water use, indoor environmental quality, and green cleaning.
A green cleaning policy is a prerequisite for LEED certification. Moreover, the use of green cleaning products, techniques, practices, and equipment contribute up to a quarter of the credits needed to obtain a LEED O+M Platinum certification. Most of these cleaning and maintenance-related items are simple to implement and low cost, and include the following green services:
- Landscape maintenance
- Hardscape maintenance
- Waste management
- Integrated pest management
For a simple LEED O+M certification, a building must earn 40 to 49 points, or credits. Platinum-level certification, the highest rating, requires 80 or more points.
The Role of Professional Green Cleaning and Maintenance
While a property owner can hire in-house staff to provide green janitorial and maintenance services, a simpler, more cost-effective solution may be to hire a green cleaning service that’s already familiar with and follows LEED standards. Such facility maintenance companies may assist with creating the required green cleaning policies, as well as a green cleaning program, custodial effectiveness assessment, hardscape management plan, landscape management plan, and solid waste management plan. The best ones also use sustainable cleaning products, materials, and equipment.
A plan that includes green cleaning, landscaping, and maintenance goes a long way toward achieving the LEED certification that you seek. CleanSolution proudly provides these and other green services to deliver a high return on your eco-friendly efforts. Contact us today to learn more about how CleanSolution’s sustainable practices and products align your green building initiatives to maximize the number of LEED credits that you can earn.