Why green building labels are becoming the new standard
If you're in the building and construction industry, you know that building green is no longer a niche enterprise. Architects, engineers and contractors all over the world are striving to build as environmentally conscious as they can, hoping their buildings will be awarded a green building label such as LEED or BREEAM. However, green building labels are not required by law and take a great deal of time, effort and financial investment to obtain. Then why are green building labels so coveted, you ask? Dorien Van der Weele, Sustainability Manager at Mosa, explains.
The concept of green building labels
Green building labels are certificates given to buildings, locations and projects that have undergone a sustainability assessment, carried out by an independent party, and have been found to compare well to established benchmarks. The world counts over 300 different green building labels, and they all come with different rating systems. BREEAM (Building Research Establishment’s Environmental Assessment Method, developed in the UK) is considered one of the leading green building rating system, as is LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, developed in the USA).
Sustainability criteria of BREEAM and LEED include:
- Use of recycled materials
- Energy usage
- Water efficiency
- Indoor air quality
- Minimal pollution/waste
- Land use
- Innovative technology
Cheaper in the long run
It is a common misconception that buildings with green labels cost more than buildings without. “It’s true that sustainable building materials and smart technology tend to be on the more expensive side of the equation, and that the assessment to obtain a green building label is not free of charge. But what many people don’t realize, is that the return on investment you get in the long run is definitely worth making the extra effort”, says Dorien Van der Weele. “The operating costs associated with certified buildings are usually low compared to buildings that don’t have a green building label.”
Increased property value
“Moreover,” Ms. Van der Weele continues, “green building labels are known to increase property value, enabling owners to charge higher rent. And since much of the building materials are recyclable, green buildings are able to maintain a high residual value as well.”
More productive employees
Last but not least, studies have shown that employees are more productive when they work in green buildings. “It is a known fact that a green work environment – one of the BREEAM and LEED criteria - makes employees happier, healthier and more efficient. Green label certified buildings are made from materials free of volatile organic compounds, have a pleasant indoor climate, make optimal use of natural light, and are filled with and surrounded by plenty of greenery”, Ms. Van der Weele elaborates. “In other words, since salary costs far outweigh construction and energy costs, building green is definitely a worthwile investment.”
How to gain extra BREEAM or LEED points
Although BREEAM and LEED only certify buildings - and not building materials – Mosa tiles do contribute to achieving a green building label. Ms. Van der Weele clarifies: “A mere few exceptions aside, our tiles are all Cradle to Cradle certified. More specifically, that means they can yield up to nine LEED or BREEAM points because they are made from recycled materials, result from a sustainable production method and are VOC free.
Learn more about Mosa and sustainability certifications