Behind the Label: What Do LEED and ENERGY STAR Really Mean?

April 17, 2018

Looking to green your workplace? A good starting point for assessing workplace sustainability is the physical building itself. LEED and ENERGY STAR® are two benchmarks for measuring the sustainability of a building’s construction and operational performance. But what do these labels actually mean?



THE LEADERSHIP IN ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN (LEED) GREEN BUILDING RATING SYSTEM... the leading certification program available for builders and real estate owners to independently certify sustainable practices both inside and outside their buildings. There are several types of LEED certification available, including new construction, commercial interiors, and existing buildings. Depending on the type of LEED certification, rating assessments may include sustainability in site development, materials selection, water conservation, energy efficiency, and quality of indoor environment.




...and has historically been applied to appliances and residential homes but is growing as a benchmark for commercial real estate. Properties are rated from 1-100 on the ENERGY STAR scoring scale. ENERGY STAR-certified buildings demonstrate an energy savings of approximately 35 percent versus non-certified buildings.



Beyond the Label: Towards a More Dynamic Rating System

One challenge with these certification programs, however, is keeping your employees actively involved in day-to-day sustainability efforts.

In 2017, the U.S. Green Building Council modified its LEED EB (Existing Buildings) program to be a more performance based system. This program measures building performance in real-time, generating a performance score that is updated every time new data enters the platform. Buildings can benchmark against their own past performance and other similar buildings locally and globally.

LEED EB monitors building performance in real-time. The program’s goal is to deliver actionable insights so customers can see how their day-to-day energy usage is directly impacting the building’s overall sustainability score. While the program is still being rolled out, it may ultimately help engage businesses make meaningful improvements that conserve resources and save money.

In addition to selecting a LEED and ENERGY STAR certified building, your company can make additional tweaks to its workspace to improve operational sustainability. From choosing LED task lighting to unplugging electronics when not in use, learn more about easy yet impactful changes here.