How LED Lighting Helps New Buildings Achieve LEED Certification

Jan 19th 2017

Any building in any stage of development can be submitted for review to receive the LEED Certification, a voluntary and credit-based certification program established by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) to evaluate the environmental performances of buildings and spaces in fixed locations. To accomplish the LEED Certification, buildings must achieve a minimum of 40 points from the Green Building Design and Construction (CBDC) rating system, but how a building earns the necessary points for the certification can occur in a many ways.

When it comes to lighting, and the overall consumption and costs of electricity for structures utilizing green building practices, the installation of energy-efficient and sustainable lighting, like LEDs, can help buildings reach and exceed the required amount of points needed to receive the LEED Certification faster and easier. Lighting alone relates to 23 points on the CBDC rating system, so if a building accomplished these 23 points alone, then it is more than half way to reaching the minimum amount of points required for the LEED certification.

How LED Lighting Can Earn Points for the LEED Certification

Buildings must demonstrate improved energy performance to receive the LEED Certification. Existing and new buildings can earn up to 19 points by showing a 5%, for existing buildings, and 10%, for newly constructed buildings, improvement. Buildings are compared to a baseline building that complies with ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning) 90.1-2007.

It is not difficult to meet this requirement, but it is challenging to exceed the requirement by a significant amount. To meet the requirements for Standard 90.1-2007 and to increase energy-efficiency when it comes to lighting, buildings are recommended to do the following:

  • Eliminate incandescent lighting whenever possible
  • Install automatic shutoff controls
  • Maximize day-lighting
  • Use multilevel switching and ambient/task lighting
  • Install LED exit signs
  • Use efficient exterior lighting that automatically shuts off

LED Lighting is the most energy-efficient light option available today. Buildings can dramatically reduce energy consumption and costs by installing LED lighting, in addition to taking advantage of natural daylight and installing a number of controllability features.

Here are a few ways buildings can earn extra points towards the LEED Certification for lighting:

Points For Light Pollution Reduction

Buildings can achieve additional points for minimizing light pollution that escapes from interior and exterior lights. Limiting the amount of glare produced by exterior lights can help to reduce outside light pollution (1 point). Interior light pollution can be decreased by turning lights off at night or shielding windows to prevent light from evading to the outside of a building (2 points).

Points Achieved For Controllability of Systems

Another way for buildings to earn additional points for the LEED Certification is to install personal dimming controls for light fixtures. Dimming switches can be used to control how much light is used throughout the day and the energy savings resulting from personal dimming controls is modest; however, it is proven controllability of light systems can improve occupant and employee satisfaction.

Using dimmers and task lighting can earn buildings up to 2 additional points and they have a positive impact on employee engagement, productivity, and absenteeism.

LED light bulbs and fixtures are completely dimmable, which is one more reason why LEDs are the best option for buildings seeking LEED Certification.

Points Earned For Multilevel Switching

Buildings that provide at least 90% of building occupants with multilevel switching, and have similar controls in multi-occupant areas, can achieve 1 point. A few examples of multilevel switching include:

  1. On/Off dimmable under-cabinet or desktop task lighting
  2. Individual dimming overhead light fixtures with continuous or step-dimming ballasts
  3. Wall switches with multilevel switching

LED light bulbs are great for task lighting because they emit direct light. Also, LEDs are available in a variety of color temperatures, so buildings can have the kind of light needed wherever it’s needed.

Points For Outdoor Light Fixtures

Another way to earn points for lighting is to install outdoor light fixtures that have no more than a B2 U2 G2 BUG rating. This rating, which stands for Backlight-Uplight-Glare, calculates the stray light that escapes from outdoor light fixtures.

Installing Vacancy and Occupancy Sensors

To reduce energy consumption and decrease energy costs, buildings can install vacancy and occupancy sensors in low traffic areas, such as bathrooms and storage rooms. This ensures electricity is not wasted when no one is in the room.

Get a Head Start Towards LEED Certification with Superior Lighting

Installing LED lighting in addition to dimmers, task lighting, multilevel switches, and more, buildings can be on the fast track towards LEED Certification.

You can learn more about the LEED Certification on USGBC’s website and you can find everything you need for energy-efficient and sustainable lighting on Superior Lighting’s website.

Contact Superior Lighting with questions or comments by calling us at 1-800-545-7778 or fill out our online contact form.