LEED certification and energy efficiency are complementary yet distinct aspects of sustainable construction projects. Both are important for future-proofing the design of your structures, as well as reaping the more immediate benefits of reduced energy costs.
While there is a significant overlap, LEED takes a more comprehensive view of a structure’s holistic impact. This goes beyond its direct relationship to the material world and examines its social impact on the surrounding urban design. LEED also provides 4 levels of certification, based on a point system. Something can achieve a level of certification based primarily on points unrelated to energy. Conversely, improving the energy efficiency of a structure alone may not be enough to warrant LEED certification.
By explicitly setting goals for both energy efficiency and LEED certification, you ensure that your project can benefit from the many areas where these two goals overlap.
But how does this relate to energy tax credits?
Federal and state governments often introduce tax incentives for increasing the energy efficiency of structures. The most prominent of these incentives is Section 179D of the U. S. tax code, which offers a tax credit of $1.80 per square foot in a building that achieves a 50% reduction in total energy cost. However, this is a perpetually temporary piece of legislation which frequently expires, only to later be renewed retroactively. So even if you manage to meet its qualifications, your building project may not be able to immediately reap the benefits of any tax credits. The good news is that 179D enjoys ongoing bipartisan support, so appropriately constructed or renovated buildings will likely reap some tax benefits sooner or later.
Given the intermittent nature of these tax credits, it’s perhaps better to view them as a bonus rather than a prime motivator for favoring sustainable, energy-conscious construction. The main benefit to your business is reduced energy expenditures over subsequent years, which more than cover initial costs as a matter of course. And not insignificant is the social capital your business accrues from this, by joining the ranks of countless businesses and companies around the world with a shared concern for the longevity of our planet.
If you’re ready to take the first step towards sustainable construction, call us at 408-295-2182 and discover how to take your place of business into the future.