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27 Quick Wins for Architects up Against a LEED-Certified Building

27 Quick Wins for Architects up Against a LEED-Certified Building


Designing for a building that is already LEED certified puts a lot of pressure on everyone involved — especially the architects. After all, whoever is in charge of the building has already gone through the rigamarole of satisfying all of the prerequisites and credit criteria for certification. The last thing you want to do is knock them out of good standing.

Now, there’s a lot to keep in mind. However, we’ve compiled a pretty solid list of various LEED quick wins to consider with construction, spatial planning and partners. And, it’s all yours. Here you go!


  • Minimize demolition waste by incorporating existing structural and aesthetic elements.
  • Use high-quality, renewable materials that will stand the test of time without needing to be replaced.
  • Incorporate eco-friendly materials like timber, bamboo and self-heating concrete.
  • Repurpose recycled materials like cardboard for insulation, plastic for carpeting and scrap metal for structural elements.
  • Include elements, such as padded booths and window covers, that second as natural insulators.

Spatial Planning

  • Position windows, skylights, openings and reflective surfaces throughout the space to reduce energy consumption.
  • Separate heat-producing equipment like grills away from refrigerated units, drafty doors and air ducts to prevent inefficiencies from competing temperatures.
  • Reserve space around equipment, so it can properly ventilate, or “breath” by expelling hot air, without using extra energy to stay cool.
  • Dedicate areas that are accessible to waste haulers, employees and customers for the collection and storage of recyclables.
  • Incorporate bicycle storage facilities to encourage less driving.
  • Carve out space in the parking lot for green vehicles.
  • Support renewable energy production by incorporating power sources like solar panels.
  • Make room in outdoor areas for green space and gardens.
  • Tie in natural ventilation, such as open-air dining space or garage doors that open and close to the outside.


  • Look for the Energy Star® rating, or equivalent.
  • Use energy-efficient LED light bulbs and fixtures instead of incandescents.
  • Prioritize energy-saving features like power controls that automatically turn off and on. For example, consider food finishers with instant-on elements and toasters or zoned merchandisers that only turn on when a product is present.
  • Consider appliances with water-saving devices, such as low-flow spray valves and aerators.
  • Leverage innovations that recycle or use less energy, such as fryers that reuse exhaust to heat the oil.
  • Leverage equipment that keeps ambient temperatures at bay, such as induction solutions (they use 85% to 95% of the energy they produce), and exhaust hoods that remove hot air from the kitchen.
  • Cut chemical usage by working automatic dispensing systems and chemical-free water boosters into your plan.
  • Control heating and cooling efficiencies with heatless hand dryers, as well as individually-controlled and SMART thermostats.
  • Ensure heating or cooling equipment, like hot and cold wells, has high-quality, thick insulation.


  • Source products and materials locally to reduce packaging and emissions from transportation and delivery.
  • Work with eco-friendly vendors with a solid reputation for green services and products.
  • Partner with LEED-accredited professionals to earn credits.
  • Earn even more credits by getting your own LEED accreditation.

To learn more about Hatco’s commitment to sustainability — including all of the ways we are reducing waste, saving energy and minimizing our carbon footprint — talk to a knowledgeable Hatco rep today!

Not ready for that? Get more eco-friendly design tips here.

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