Definition of LEED Certification

What Is LEED Certification?


The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification program, which was developed by the US Green Building Council (USGBC), has become the standard against which most other green building models are measured by and is used by architects, facility managers, real estate professionals, construction managers, lenders, government officials, and interior designers to develop sustainable building designs. Today, the LEED Certification rating system is used in the US as well as Canada, Brazil, India, and Mexico.

LEED green building standards are developed through a committee-run, consensus-based process. The standards that are developed through the process are then applied to the design, construction, and operation of green buildings using a third-party verification system. The types of environmental issues addressed by the LEED Certification rating system include:

  • Human health
  • Environmental health
  • Sustainable site development
  • Water savings
  • Materials selection
  • Energy efficiency
  • Indoor environmental quality

The LEED Certifications are available at four different levels depending on the number of credits earned: Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum. LEED-certified buildings have lower operating costs, are healthier for occupants, and perform more efficiently than conventionally-designed buildings. The LEED Certification system is available for a wide variety of building types, including:

  • Residential homes
  • Neighborhood developments
  • Commercial interiors (for existing buildings)
  • Core and shell (for new buildings)
  • New construction projects
  • Schools, healthcare, and retail projects
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