Environmental disasters are on the rise and property owners, lenders and insurance companies are paying the price. The planet is seeing hotter heat waves, drier droughts and bigger storm surges1, all of which can have devastating effects on infrastructure and investments in building and insuring structures. But I believe that by following the model established by the popular Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building certification program, more industries can work together to reduce loan rates and insurance premiums paid via a requirement that calls for more resilient, safer structures.
The benefits of LEED-certified buildings
The LEED initiative is the most widely used green-building rating system in the world. Created by the United States Green Building Council, the program awards structure owners with a point score that awards a level of green certification upon project completion: Certified (40–49 points), Silver (50–59 points), Gold (60–79 points) and Platinum (80+ points). The higher the points, the higher the rewards, ranging from healthier spaces to buildings that save money and resources2.
Historically, the benefits achieved – in addition to environmental and health gains – have mostly aligned with reputation- and image-building initiatives. Certified green buildings are great for showcasing an organization’s commitment to sustainability and community. There are also some financial gains correlated to the monies saved via energy efficiency and conservation improvements.
However, for the institutions that financially back building developments or insure projects during and after completion, LEED initiatives have not delivered.