LEED: The Premier Certification in Sustainable Manufacturing

Founded by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) in 1994, LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is the most widely used green building rating system in the world. LEED certification ensures that the design, construction, operation, and maintenance of a building is as sustainable as possible.

The mission of LEED is to “transform the way buildings and communities are designed, built and operated, enabling an environmentally and socially responsible, healthy, and prosperous environment that improves the quality of life.”

Certifications like LEED are becoming more common and important to the manufacturing industry. Both environmental need and consumer demand are driving the push for greater sustainability. Green building certification is one important factor you should consider when choosing where to manufacture your product.


How Does it Work?

To become LEED certified, a building project must earn points in a ranking system. These points are earned by adhering to a combination of prerequisites and credits across nine different categories of measurement:

  1. Integrative Process (1 point)
  2. Location and Transportation (16 points)
  3. Sustainable Sites (10 points)
  4. Water Efficiency (11 points)
  5. Energy and Atmosphere (33 points)
  6. Materials and Resources (13 points)
  7. Indoor Environment Quality (16 points)
  8. Innovation in Design (6 points)
  9. Priority (4 points)

These points amount to four different levels of certification:

  • Certified (40-49 points)
  • Silver (50-59 points)
  • Gold (60-79 points)
  • Platinum (80+ points)

LEED can be applied to any building but is especially relevant to factories and warehouses. LEED evolves over time, adapting to changes in technology. The newest version (LEED v4.1) was released in April of 2019 and emphasizes the importance of human health.


Alternative Certifications

LEED originated in the United States, but now there are nearly 100,000 certified or registered LEED facilities across 167 countries. Though it is the world’s most widely utilized green building certification, others also exist. Some of the most commonly used alternatives to LEED are:

In the last 10 years, the green building certification industry has exploded. Keep in mind that there are countless green building certifications worldwide with different priorities and specifications, so it’s important to research which certifications your factory has.


Countries Leading the in Sustainable Manufacturing Revolution

Many countries, even developing nations, are working towards a sustainable manufacturing future. Bangladesh has one of the most sustainable apparel manufacturing industries, with 67 LEED certified ready-made garment factories and more than 280 on their way to certification. The Made in China 2025 initiative focuses on creating sustainability in manufacturing by modernizing the industry. As part of the Make in India initiative, the ZED model increases sustainability by raising product quality to reduce waste. Mexico hopes to become a green manufacturing powerhouse in the next decade, and has recently implemented strict environmental regulations with a goal of reaching 30% clean energy by 2023.


Why Does it Matter?

All buildings have a negative impact on the environment. They use resources, generate waste, and are expensive to maintain. Traditional factories are some of the least sustainable buildings in the world, well-known for being dangerous to employees and bad for the environment. Green factories are designed, built, and operated in a way that minimizes that negative impact and helps you create a sustainable product. As sustainability becomes increasingly more important to consumers, choosing a certified green factory is an easy way to integrate sustainability into your business.

To learn more about the certified sustainable facilities that Blacksmith has partnered with, then contact us today!