Sustainable Design-Build: Turning LEED Silver into LEED Gold

Green Design-Build: turning LEED Silver into LEED Gold

At The Korte Company, we’re not experts in the science of alchemy. We don’t turn dirt, paper, shoes or other everyday items into gold. But we can use a few Build Smart tricks to turn your LEED Silver building into an even more sustainable, LEED Gold structure.

And we’re proud to be a green Design-Builder with a staff of LEED-certified personnel and a history of delivering LEED-certified projects. The above graphic shows you some of the ways to transform LEED Silver into LEED Gold. But what does that mean, and what does it look like in practice?

What is LEED?

LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, and the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) uses it to certify the sustainability of a structure. The USGBC offers LEED certification for a building as a whole and for a number of different building systems, basing the rating on points. The more sustainable the building and its systems, the more points it scores. And LEED is important because it gives us a frame of reference for understanding what’s green and what’s not.

The difference between LEED Gold and LEED Silver

To attain the various levels of LEED certification, a building has to earn a certain number of these points, and the points can come from within several categories. They can range from the use of green materials, energy-efficient systems and water-efficiency features to sustainable build sites, access to public or bicycle transportation and green innovations specific to the project. That’s a pretty broad brush to paint with, but the bottom line is the more sustainable your building, the more points it earns and the better the LEED certification it can attain.

LEED Silver buildings score between 50 – 59 LEED points, LEED Gold buildings score between 60 – 79 points and LEED Platinum buildings score 80 points and above. To earn a basic LEED certification, a building must score a minimum of 40 LEED points.

(The above image is from the US Green Building Council website)

A few of our favorite, real-life LEED Gold projects

Through the years, we’ve built green structures across the country, and on several occasions, we’ve turned LEED Silver buildings into LEED Gold ones. In Washington state in 2011, we turned around a $10.9 million, 40,841 square-foot project for Fort Lewis and earned a LEED Gold certification when the project was slated for LEED Silver. In addition to that project, we also turned a medical clinic at Fort Lewis from silver to gold.

It must be something about dental clinics that brings out the gold in us, because we also turned one from silver into gold at Fort Sill in Oklahoma.

And we couldn’t forget Fort AP Hill in Virginia, where we delivered LEED Gold for a $12 million, 32,917-square-foot training center.

Why we care about LEED certification and our philosophy on it

Those projects are only a few of the many green Design-Builds we’ve completed across the U.S., but they show our investment in building smart and sustainably. To us, building sustainably is about two things: preserving the resources around us and delivering ROI. We carefully plan the amount of green materials and types of sustainable methods we use in each build, incorporating a detailed cost-benefit analysis in our work. Not just of the money owners will save, but also of the energy and CO2 emissions our environment will save. Building green and building smart is deeply embedded in our company cultur.

To learn more about us and how company culture affects not only the sustainability of your build but everything else about it, click below and download our guide to company culture in construction.


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