Public Safety Buildings Embrace LEED Certification

LEED and Public Safety

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating system dates back to 2000, when it was originally released by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). Through a series of project prerequisites and credits, a building can achieve one of four LEED rating levels: Certified, Silver, Gold or Platinum [1].

Salt Lake City Public Safety Building

For nearly two decades, many commercial and government buildings have adopted green building design, construction, operations and maintenance measures to obtain one of the LEED certification levels. This trend has extended to the public safety space, with a growing number of public safety buildings registering for LEED certification over the last five years.

USGBC’s 2018 public LEED project directory shows that, of the nearly 3,500 non-confidential buildings registered in the U.S. and Canada, 130 were from the public safety and government sectors. Many of the registered public safety buildings appear to be fire stations and police facilities – and for good reason: firefighters’ shift schedules require them to spend a substantial amount of time at their stations. Fire chiefs and management may choose to pursue LEED certification to improve their employees’ working and living environment, while reducing a station’s overall life cycle costs.

Within law enforcement, LEED certification can increase department morale while promoting environmental responsibility and the resiliency of the facility. A great example is the Salt Lake City Public Safety Building, which in 2015 obtained the highest level of LEED certification [2] (Platinum). The Salt Lake City Public Safety Building is a Net Zero energy facility that produces at least as much emissions-free renewable energy as it consumes [3]. It is also designed to maintain functionality during and immediately after an earthquake [4]. The building was built to maximize the health of occupants and increase their productivity, while using fewer resources, reducing waste, reducing negative environmental impacts and decreasing building life cycle costs.

LEED certification offers a range of benefits to the public safety and government sectors, but comes with associated costs that increase with the level of certification. Nonetheless, in the long run, reduced energy consumption and improved occupant productivity should outweigh these costs. As LEED awareness increases, we anticipate a growing number of LEED certifications for fire stations, emergency communications centers and law enforcement facilities.

DELTAWRX is a management consulting firm that specializes in serving public safety agencies. We frequently assist clients with strategic planning engagements, feasibility studies, technology procurements and other engagements. Granaz Movahed is a LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP), Professional Engineer (Electrical PE) and a certified Project Management Professional (PMP). In addition, she holds an FCC Technician Class Amateur Radio License.

[1] https://new.usgbc.org

[2] https://www.usgbc.org/projects/salt-lake-city-public-safety-building?view=overview

[3] http://www.slcpd.com/about/

[4] http://www.slcdocs.com/civreview/minutes/1QMinutes2013.pdf

Photo credit: SLCgreen | blog

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