building design energy

About LEED certification

Have you ever walked into a building that has a LEED certified sticker on its door and wondered what exactly that means? Well, today I’m going to give an overview on LEED certification.

What is LEED

LEED, or Leader in Energy and Efficiency Design, is a certification program for buildings. The program was designed by the US Green Building Council (USGBC), and provides a rating system that certifies how environmentally friendly a building design is.

What can be LEED certified

The building can be certified in terms of design, construction, or operation. Neighborhoods and homes can be certified as well. In fact there are five different certifications based on the type of project:

  1. Building Design and Construction
  2. Interior Design and Construction
  3. Building Operations and Maintenance
  4. Neighborhood Development
  5. Homes

New construction, remodels and already existing buildings can LEED certified.

What is the LEED certification based on

Certification is based on the number of points that a building project earns in evaluations. Projects are scored out of 100 possible points. The points are earned across 6 categories: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovation in design. A building that earns 40-49 points is Certified, 50-59 points is Silver, 60-79 points is Gold, ad 80+ points is Platinum.

How does a building get LEED certification

First of all, in order to be LEED certified, a building or building project needs to apply for evaluation – The USGBC isn’t just going around to all the buildings and evaluating them willy nilly, it is an opt in certification that demonstrates the owner, and the architect, designer, and construction team’s dedication to green and sustainable building. When a building project has applied for certification the team then pursues various objectives in the 6 categories in order to earn points.  Credential holders who are trained in the LEED certification categories and goals perform an evaluation of the project throughout the building process, and submit the scores for certification.