LEED Certification for Retail

Retailers are focusing more and more on sustainability to help differentiate their brands, performance and strategies. Increasingly, companies recognize that achieving meaningful sustainability goals requires implementing effective corporate social responsibility (CSR) plans and working toward energy efficiency, water savings, increased resilience, reduced emissions and net zero waste strategies. One way retailers can verify their sustainability performance and support CSR reporting is through LEED certification. Below we break down what LEED certification is and how retailers can take advantage of it.

What is LEED?
  • LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. LEED is a green building rating system, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), which provides a framework for healthy, highly efficient and cost saving green buildings.
What areas does it cover?
  • To achieve LEED certification, a project earns points by adhering to prerequisites and credits that address carbon, energy, water, waste, transportation, materials, health and indoor environmental quality. 
    • Location and transportation - proximity to existing utilities and street networks; locating in vibrant, livable communities
    • Sustainable sites – considering the surrounding environment and emphasizing the vital relationships among buildings, ecosystems and ecosystem services
    • Water Efficiency – Indoor water use, outdoors water use, specialized uses and metering
    • Energy & Atmosphere – energy efficiency, enhanced building commissioning, renewable and smart-grid usage
    • Material & Resources – considering the entire life-cycle of the building, environmental product declarations and material ingredient reporting tools
    • Indoor Environmental Quality – human health and comfort within a building
  • LEED is for all building types and all building phases including new construction, interior fit outs, operations and maintenance and core and shell. For a detailed list of rating systems click here.
How can retailers use it?
  • Retailers can apply for LEED certification for buildings they own. USGBC has plenty of free education including resources and case studies for constructing or maintaining green buildings that retailers can use to assist in the certification process.
  • Through LEED certification, building and interior spaces receive an internationally recognizable, third-party verification of sustainability achievement and leadership.
  • Retailers can also use LEED to support CSR reporting, address climate change and meet ESG goals, enhance resilience, and support more equitable communities.
How do retail professionals use it?
  • Many retail professionals who are facility managers, energy managers, architects, interior designers, etc. obtain LEED certification to further their professional qualifications.
  • There are also retail ESG and Sustainability professionals, who use this certification for education purposes and to have a better understanding of best practices for building construction, maintenance and operations.
Sample Retail Case Studies For more information and questions on LEED certification, visit USGBC’s website or reach out to RILA staff Kaela Martins, Senior Manager, Environmental Programs who has LEED AP O+M Credentials.

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