Hey friend! Have you ever wondered what happens after a building gets LEED certified? Does that fancy plaque stay up forever, or does it eventually get taken down when the certification expires? Well, strap in, because we’re going to break it all down for you in this guide.
In the world of green buildings, LEED certification is a huge deal. It’s basically the gold standard for sustainable design and construction. But like a carton of milk in the back of your fridge, those certifications don’t always last forever. Let’s explore when they expire, why it matters, and how buildings can stay fresh!
LEED Rating Systems Overview
First, a quick LEED refresher. There are a few different LEED rating systems out there:
This covers Building Design and Construction. It applies to new construction and major renovations.
This is Interior Design and Construction. It’s for commercial interiors and retail spaces.
This stands for Operations and Maintenance. This rating system is for existing buildings.
Each system has a certification process that evaluates factors like site, water efficiency, materials, indoor environmental quality, and more. Projects earn points to reach Certified, Silver, Gold, or Platinum certification levels.
Now, on to the expiration details…
LEED BD+C and ID+C Certification
For LEED BD+C and ID+C, certifications do not technically expire. Since these systems certify the design and construction of buildings and spaces, the certification remains intact as long as the building exists.
But just because BD+C and ID+C certifications don’t expire doesn’t mean they last forever. The plaque might say the building was certified 10 years ago, but that doesn’t tell you if it’s still operating sustainably today.
That’s where recertification comes in! Projects can choose to recertify to demonstrate their continued green performance. It’s kind of like getting your brakes inspected annually to ensure your vehicle is still safe.
The recertification process allows projects to update their credentials and show they are still meeting strict sustainability benchmarks.
LEED O+M Certification
Now LEED O+M is a different story. This certification was designed specifically for existing buildings and their ongoing operations and maintenance.
As you might guess, O+M certifications aren’t lifetime achievements. They actually expire after 3 to 5 years.
To maintain certification status, LEED O+M projects must recertify on this timeline. If they don’t, they can no longer market the building as LEED certified.
There are two ways LEED O+M projects can recertify:
Option 1: Recertify every 1-5 years
This involves going through the full credit-based certification process again. Documentation is submitted online through LEED Online, and the certification is renewed based on credits achieved.
Option 2: Annual performance-based recertification
This streamlined approach uses real-time meter data in an online platform called Arc. Building performance is benchmarked annually to maintain certification. No credit forms required!
Either way, recertifying demonstrates the building continues to operate sustainably and meet strict performance requirements.
Maintaining Any LEED Certification
Recertification isn’t just for O+M. Any LEED certified project can recertify, regardless of rating system. Here’s why it matters:
Demonstrates ongoing performance – Recertification shows your green building credentials are still valid, not expired!
Chance to improve – The recertification process allows you to gain points and move up certification levels.
Data tracking – All LEED projects must share energy and water usage data for 5 years post-certification. Recertifying extends this requirement.
Metering – Metering energy and water usage is key for certification. It allows you to benchmark performance and identify areas for efficiency.
Overall, recertification is the best way to keep your LEED plaque shining and show the world your building still meets strict green standards.
If you’re ready to recertify your LEED project, here’s a quick rundown of the process:
Registration – You’ll register your project in LEED Online and pay registration fees. Discounts are offered for recertification.
Documentation – Upload all required documentation to show your project meets current LEED requirements. This may include policies, plans, performance data, and more.
Review – Your submission will be reviewed by LEED reviewers. They may ask for clarification or additional information.
Award – If you satisfy all requirements, your project will be awarded recertification! The certification level may remain the same or could improve.
It’s a rigorous process, but well worth it to maintain your LEED status. Most of the documentation should be readily available if you’ve been tracking things like energy, water, waste, and occupant experience.
Benefits of Recertification
Wondering why it’s worth the time and money to recertify your LEED project? Here are some of the biggest benefits:
- Third-party verification – Recertification provides independent confirmation your building still meets the highest green building standards.
- Marketability – Maintaining LEED credentials helps attract tenants and gain recognition. Expired certifications lose their luster.
- Compliance – In some areas, certain LEED levels may be required by local laws and codes. Recertification shows ongoing compliance.
- Prestige – Recertification maintains your status as a LEED certified sustainable building. Let your plaque continue to shine!
We’ve reached the end of our LEED certification expiration explainer. Here are some key takeaways:
- BD+C and ID+C certifications don’t expire, but recertification can update credentials.
- O+M certifications expire after 3-5 years and must be recertified to maintain status.
- Recertification verifies ongoing performance and compliance.
- Metering energy and water usage is crucial for certification maintenance.
- Any LEED project can recertify – it’s worth considering!
Hopefully you now have a much better understanding of LEED expiration and recertification. Let your green building shine bright by keeping that plaque polished and up-to-date!