An established trend in Toronto real estate is the greening of condominiums and a major milestone in the process is Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED.
LEED is a certification process first developed in the U.S. in response to the EPA wanting to promote environmentalism for their government office buildings. Since then, it has been adapted to address other building types, such as high-rise residential and is now popular in Canada.
What’s the advantage of LEED certification to a prospective condo buyer? According to Neil Munro, architect at Young + Wright / IBI Group, there’s the “highest probability that it’s meeting stated green features. There is a value to it.”
Munro is a principal responsible for overseeing IBI’s environmental design policy and maintains that LEED is strong in the marketplace as a brand. “LEED is a marketing tool; they make no bones about it.”
Although there is an added cost of about $60,000 to administer the entire process, builders still see an advantage and are going for the certification.
Developers interested in attaining certification commonly retain the services of a specialist or consultant familiar with the highly administrative process.
Certain architects and engineers now provide this service and they work with the owner throughout the submission and verification procedures.
Al Daimee, founder of TOPofTO.com, is a licensed realtor affiliated with Royal LePage. He believes that the builders are using LEED standards as a way to try and draw environmentally conscious buyers to their projects. “These same builders state that the cost to obtain LEED status is higher, thus justifying higher prices as a result.”