LEED Requirements vs the Class-G Checklist for Sustainable Certification

LEED and Class-GYou shouldn’t have to rebuild, reorganize and reinvest to demonstrate your commitment to sustainable certification – and now you don’t have to.

Consumers are increasingly interested in environmentally responsible companies and reward them with their pocketbooks.

Unfortunately, achieving a meaningful “green certification” has traditionally been difficult for business owners. But that’s changing.

Most people are familiar with  Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, a program sponsored by the United States Green Building Council. It’s not easy to achieve- especially for well-established businesses that have multiple locations.

And achieving LEED certification is expensive.

Thankfully, there is another certification that can be even more useful, and a lot less expensive: Class-G.

Class-G has gained a strong following because it rewards companies and organizations for doing the right thing for the environment – particularly organizations with multiple locations.

Which certification program is right for your business? Keep reading to compare these two useful programs.

What each measures

LEED has five different rating systems. They include building design and construction, interior design and construction, building operations and maintenance, neighborhood development and homes.

Certification is earned by demonstrating that a building (or neighborhood area) has been designed and constructed in a way that conserves energy reduces water consumption, strives to maintain exceptional indoor air quality and uses environmentally friendly building materials.

Class-G measures are entirely different – over 130 best practices. Companies and organizations can achieve Class-G status by identifying the things they are currently doing to act as good stewards of natural resources, including reducing the use of paper, using high-efficiency electronics and equipment, employing environmentally friendly cleaning products, installing compact-fluorescent or LED lights and recycling.

The process of each

Becoming LEED certified requires an extensive process involving submission of an exhaustive application that includes building plans, energy use statistics or estimates, environmental impact assessments, letters of support and an external evaluation. Earning between 40 and 49 points will get you certified, but you can achieve silver, gold and platinum status by earning more points.

Earning the Class-G designation is a self-reporting process during which you will certify your current efforts to act in a sustainable manner by completing a checklist. You also submit a “wish list” of things actions you’d like to implement to protect the environment. Once your application is submitted, you receive a score as well as a checklist of steps you can take to continue working toward your goals.

The cost of each

Becoming LEED certified is not only a complicated process, it’s expensive. There is a flat registration fee ranging from $1,200 for the basic certification to $3,250 for silver, gold and platinum certification—and that’s just for the precertification review. There are additional costs, depending on the size of the building, that can reach up to $27,500 for buildings with more than 500,000 square feet. Moreover, the things you need to change in an existing structure to achieve the certification can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars.

If, for some reason, you do not achieve LEED certification, you can appeal – for a fee.

Applying for Class-G certification involves a one-time certification fee that’s less than what LEED charges for the right to apply.

The benefits of each
You can’t go wrong with either certification. Both recognize companies for doing the right things for the environment. Both are recognized by consumers who prefer to spend their money at environmentally responsible companies. And both are worthwhile. Class-G certification, however, doesn’t require you to make extensive upgrades to existing structures.

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