Should You Consider LEED?
When you plan a new barn, arena, or other horse facility, should you include LEED standards in your thinking? What are the benefits of LEED when building equine facilities?
LEED (or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) is a third-party green building certification that is recognized worldwide. It is primarily directed at residential, commercial, office, school, and health care buildings constructed or renovated in urban environments. Many of our clients have heard of LEED and wonder if it is something they should consider.
LEED is a voluntary certification and is primarily used for marketing purposes to show that the project meets and exceeds environmental design criteria. None of the LEED categories apply to agricultural structures, but many of the principles of environmental design can apply to agricultural structures. A larger, public facility could apply for LEED credits as a commercial building. We complete the application during design.
While LEED is voluntary, there is the new CalGreen code just implemented in California which requires all buildings, including agriculture, to be reviewed and approved for new ‘green’ standards and techniques. These requirements deal with water conservation in the structure plumbing fixtures and on the site, with energy conservation for heating and cooling, with construction using recycled or recyclable and sustainable materials, and with reduction of construction waste through recycling.
We are familiar with and have implemented many of these techniques on our clients’ projects. We have designed equine facility projects with both active and passive solar components, rainwater harvesting, recycled products, such as the HDPE fencing and stall boards, and renewable products such as our EquiGreen bamboo lumber.
The bottom line for your equine project is to evaluate whether the additional certification process fits your schedule and future plans for your property. If you think you might sell the property, it is likely that LEED will play more and more of a factor in making a property attractive to buyers.