Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) explained.
LEED is an acronym that has taken hold of the sustainable building movement and become integrated in many industries beyond. If you have any interest in green building, you have stumbled across the ubiquitous acronym a handful of times – enough to know it’s inherently good. But what, exactly, does it mean?
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is the certification and rating system designed to encourage, standardize, and award sustainable building efforts. The United States Green Building Council (USGBC) developed the LEED Rating System, “the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.”
“LEED gives building owners and operators the tools they need to have an immediate and measurable impact on their buildings’ performance. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.”
The LEED Rating System provides a framework for identifying and implementing practical and quantifiable green building solutions. The LEED framework outlines a number of credits and assigns points to a project based on how many credits the project fulfills. Based on the number of points earned, a project can earn titles ranging from Certified (earning the minimum number of points) to Silver, Gold, and Platinum (earning the maximum number of points).
Because building systems and types are dynamic and individualized, the clever people at the USGBC have developed different protocols for different industries. A healthcare facility, a retail tenant improvement project, and a new construction home all offer different challenges demanding unique solutions. LEED has responded with different rating systems for different building categories. Here is a rundown of the current rating systems:
Next in Shelter, we will look at how LEED has an impact on architectural design, construction, the environment, and green standards. Stay tuned.