What is LEED?
LEED stands for “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design”, a series of green building rating systems developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). LEED for new construction (LEED-NC) provides a standard for defining a “green building.” It is used by owners, architects, engineers, and contractors to take a holistic approach in evaluating a building and its systems over the life of the facility.
LEED for existing buildings (LEED-EB) is applicable to building operations, processes, system upgrades, and minor space changes, and can be used by buildings new to LEED certification, or as a recertification vehicle for buildings that have previously achieved a LEED rating.
New or existing buildings can achieve one of four ratings; Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Buildings receive official certification and a plaque that identifies it as achieving the award.
What is the USGBC’s LEED® rating system?
The LEED guidelines specify criteria that define environmentally superior buildings in each of six categories:
- Sustainable sites
- Water efficiency
- Energy and atmosphere
- Materials and Resources
- Internal Environment
In order to be LEED certified, a project must meet all the prerequisite requirements in each category. Projects then earn additional points by selecting more advanced criteria from various categories. The more points a project earns, the higher its LEED rating. This point system allows projects a great deal of flexibility in producing a LEED certified building. Upon completion, a certification package is created that documents the measures that were implemented, and the USGBC evaluates the certification package and grants a LEED rating along with a plaque and recognition on the USGBC website. There are distinct rating systems for new construction (LEED-NC), existing buildings (LEED-EB), and several other situations. New or existing buildings can achieve one of four ratings; Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. Building receive official certification and a plaque that identifies it as achieving the award.