Installing an electric vehicle (EV) charging station comes with all sorts of advantages, one of the most prominent being that it goes a long way toward helping you achieve LEED certification.
What is LEED?
To understand LEED, you just need to know what the acronym stands for: Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.
LEED is a certification program that aims to promote environmentally conscious energy usage and design. Created by the non-profit US Green Building Council (USGBC), it is recognized worldwide.
It gives projects points for environmentally conscious design and building features. The type of certification a project receives depends on how many total points it acquires. (More on that below.)
LEED and EV Charging Stations
Including EV charging infrastructure in your project (or adding it to an existing project) will gain you LEED certification points.
There are two options for using EV infrastructure to gain a LEED point, and they both have some requirements that must be met.
Option 1: Electric Vehicle Supply Equipment (1 point)
To gain a LEED point with EV charging stations, a project must:
- Install chargers in 5% of the parking spaces (minimum of 2 spaces) and reserve them solely for EVs.
- Provide at least Level 2 charging capabilities for these parking spaces.
- Make sure they use regionally standard EV connectors.
- Meet ENERGY STAR criteria and have features like load management and flexible pricing.
Option 2: Electric Vehicle Ready Infrastructure (1 point)
To gain a LEED point for future EV charging plans, a project must:
- Make 10% of all parking spaces (or at least 6 spaces) EV Ready.
- Include a dedicated electrical circuit with sufficient capacity for each space.
- Include conduits and wiring sufficient to provide Level 2 charging or greater.
- Have an electrical box or enclosure located near each EV charging space.
Whether you are building a new structure, renovating an existing structure, or just adding EV charging stations to your business or home, following the LEED requirements can get you a point toward certification.
But, even better, you will be taking concrete action in the fight against climate catastrophe and showing the world you want to do your part to cut harmful emissions and make the earth more livable for today and future generations.
How does LEED work?
As previously mentioned, LEED uses a tiered rating system that takes into account the design, materials, construction, operation, and maintenance of building projects. It is meant to be a goal designers, and builders can work toward for environmental stewardship in their projects.
For example, if someone wanted a building to be as environmentally conscious as possible, they may try to get the highest tier of LEED certification. If reaching the top tier isn’t possible, they can still use LEED criteria to guide them as they make their project environmentally friendly.
LEED can be applied to newly designed, built, or renovated commercial buildings, homes, neighborhoods, and even entire cities.
According to its website, the LEED system gives points for certain building practices that address:
- health, and
- indoor environmental quality.
For example, a building with solar panels would be worth points in the LEED system. If it uses recycled building materials, that would be worth more points, and so on.
These points are added up, and the project is given certification in one of four tiers:
- Certified (40-49 points)
- Silver (50-59 points)
- Gold (60-79 points)
- Platinum (80+ points)
LEED’s stated goal is to help create buildings that:
- Reduce contribution to global climate change.
- Enhance individual human health.
- Protect and restore water resources.
- Protect and enhance biodiversity and ecosystem services.
- Promote sustainable and regenerative material cycles.
- Enhance community quality of life.
To that end:
- 35% of LEED credits are related to climate change,
- 20% directly impact human health,
- 15% impact water resources,
- 10% affect biodiversity,
- 10% relate to the green economy,
- 5% impact community, and
- 5% impact natural resources.
Why get LEED certified?
The best reason to get LEED certification is obviously because the more LEED points you have, the more environmentally friendly your building is.
The second-best reason to get LEED certification is that, in some jurisdictions it can help you with tax breaks and other economic incentives. Many federal, state, and municipal branches of government have adopted LEED incentive programs.
These can include:
- tax credits,
- tax breaks,
- density zoning bonuses,
- reduced fees,
- priority or expedited permitting,
- free or reduced-cost technical assistance,
- grants and low-interest loans.
The USGBC has a tool called IncentiFind that can help anyone interested in LEED certification find incentive programs.
LEED certification is a great guide for creating more sustainable buildings and projects. If you want to make your construction project as green as possible, it’s a good way to get ideas on how to do that, and you may even be able to snag yourself some tax breaks or funding in the process.
At Blink Charging, we believe every new project should have some EV charging capacity. The more chargers we have, the quicker we can facilitate the switch from polluting internal combustion engine vehicles to cleaner, greener EVs.
Whether a project uses LEED points or not, including EV charging infrastructure is always a great point to emphasize.