Your Guide to LEED Certification and the LEED Rating System
The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, is a based on a Green Building LEED rating system created by the USGBC, or United States Green Building Council. The LEED system is a certain set of guidelines that dictate the environmental viability of construction projects. Since the founding year of this council in 1988, it has had a hand in approximately 14,000 construction projects in 30 countries including United States, equaling to a development area of 1.062 billion square feet. This council provides third-party verification for various building and community projects.
The Purpose of LEED
The entire purpose of LEED is to keep watch over aspects regarding water efficiency, energy saving capability, indoor environmental quality, carbon dioxide emissions, and resource preservation. The LEED rating system is geared toward residential and commercial construction and is put into place during the entire building phase from design, construction, and operations to tenant fit, maintenance, and significant retrofit. Aside from these aspects, LEED certification also promotes whole-building and integrated design practices, environmental building industry leadership, green building consumer awareness, construction market modification, and green competition.
Becoming LEED Certified
Obtaining a LEED Certification is possible only when a building is stated to be eco-friendly because it fits certain criteria. Not only does this certification promote the construction process and the profits that stem from it, but also the reduction of negative environmental factors in order to enhance the health of the building’s occupant. This certification will guarantee that society, builders, and their clients and competition will know that a building possesses certain environmental objectives and performs according to its intentional design. There are several benefits to this certification. It causes society to be more conscientious of safe environments, the press to express interest in building projects, and builders to reap government incentives on the local and state level.
There are various levels to the LEED rating system–a system guided by points. 26-32 points provides a “Certified” rating, 33-38 points is a “Silver” rating, 39-51 equals “Gold,” and 52-69 means “Platinum.” These points are related to the five different green design classifications–indoor environmental quality, water efficiency, sustainable site, materials and resources, and energy and atmosphere. A few projects that are LEED certification covered include major renovations, new commercial construction, existing building projects, and interior projects. Additionally, there is a LEED affiliate for Neighborhood Development. This affiliate provides certain benefits to building projects that are advantageous to an entire neighborhood.
Before obtaining your LEED certification, you should first consider what LEED rating system level you intend to target as well as your total budget for the particular project you are planning. Keep in mind that the higher rating levels, such as “gold” and “platinum,” require a large budget. You must also take the appropriate steps to ensure that the building’s economic aspects and environmental aspects mesh harmoniously with one another. Above all else, be sure that your project’s team is focused and well-versed on meeting your particular LEED level, all within the confines of your budget.
Learn how to turn your corporate office into a LEED Certified Green Building. Browse through our extensive library of hand picked recommended books on LEED certification, the LEED AP Exam, Green construction, sustainable living, and environmental issues.
Volunteer to become a LEED certified professional at your current company. LEED certification training is often provided for in return for your ability to make your company comply with environmental and LEED standards.