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LEED Certification and Why It Matters

Fewer than 5% of all US data centers are LEED-certified, yet some forward-thinking industry leaders are reshaping the green data center landscape.

What is LEED? 

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is the most widely used green building certification system in the world. 

Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), a non-profit coalition of building industry leaders, LEED uses a set of rating systems to provide independent verification of a building’s green features and sustainability initiatives. The system gives building owners, operators, and designers the framework and metrics they need to ensure their properties are environmentally responsible and use resources efficiently. 

In 1995, the USGBC created the LEED system to establish a universal standard of exactly what counted as a “green” building. In August of 1998, the first version of LEED was officially launched with the help of the Federal Energy Management Program. LEED has since been updated three times to incorporate new technology and government policies and standards that have changed and evolved. 

The LEED Rating System

LEED certification is based on a point system, where building projects receive points for fulfilling all of the certification criteria as well as for meeting minimum program requirements in various categories, such as:

    • Integrative processes
    • Location and transportation
    • Sustainable sites
    • Water usage
    • Energy usage
    • Materials and resources
    • Indoor environmental quality

Based on the number of points a building earns, a building can be awarded one of four LEED rating levels: Certified, Silver, Gold or Platinum.

Data Centers and LEED Certification

Achieving LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification can be a tall order for data centers. In fact, LEED data centers are surprisingly rare; fewer than 5% of all US data centers have achieved LEED certification. However, some forward-thinking industry leaders are reshaping the green data center landscape, enjoying reduced energy costs while building better, healthier structures for building occupants, the community, and the environment. 

Cisco, for example, has submitted its new data center in Allen, Texas for LEED Gold certification, and Microsoft has committed to making all of their future data centers LEED Gold status. Of all LEED-certified projects in the world, only seven percent of them have achieved a Gold status or higher, making these significant achievements. 

In fact, according to the USGBC, LEED-certified buildings that are classified as Gold or higher consume a quarter less energy and generate 34% lower greenhouse gas emissions than buildings that are not LEED-certified. Furthermore, LEED projects to date have been responsible for diverting over 80 million tons of waste from landfills. 

Netrality is proud to count its building at 1301 Fannin in Houston among the small percentage of LEED-certified Gold endeavors. To find out more about connecting to Netrality’s colocation data centers while contributing to a sustainable future, contact us.

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