The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) was started in March of 2000 by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).
In essence, LEED provides owners and operators with a framework that aids them in identifying and then implementing a greener method and options for not only construction, but design and maintenance as well.
LEED’s Rating Systems promote both sustainable and environmentally sound development, and because each building project is unique, the LEED certification is flexible so that it can be applied to any project.
Points are awarded on a 100 point scale and points are rewarded according to the environmental impact of the project. An additional 10 bonus point is also available and these are rewarded according to specifics of the region in which the project will take place.
LEED’s certification system is administered by the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI). This means that all building projects, be it an institutional or commercial project, that is registered under a LEED Rating System, is administered by the GBCI.
Furthermore, USGBC oversees a further development in the training of personal in terms of greener methods and the LEED Certification Process is thus of the highest standards.
The LEED Certification Process is based on Rating Systems. Each Rating System has its own requirements. Certification is issued in the following categories: New Constructions, Schools, Core and Shell, Commercial Interiors, Existing Buildings (Operations and Maintenance), Neighborhood Development and Italia for New Construction.
Each one of these categories has their own set of documentation and checklists, but each category follows the basic process starting at the registration of the project. Next an application is prepared and then submitted. The application is reviewed and when it is accepted, certification is issued.
New Construction’s Certification for example deals with all new construction projects as well as major renovations that will include construction and design changes. Certification for Schools involves aspects such as health, classroom acoustics and daylight and views.
There are fees involved in both Registration and Certification, and USGBC members do pay less. In order to be certified, a project must meet requirements and score a minimum of points.
LEED Certification is an essential part of green construction and is one of the few that are leading the way forward. In order to make environmentally sound decisions, we need to look at the way we construct and live. LEED and the USGBC is looking at this and provides resources to make essential changes.