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What is LEED?
Friday, June 5th 2015 11:09 am
Author: Paige Rans

LEED is an acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Developed by the United States Green BuildingCouncil (USGBC), it is a completely voluntary program set up to certify the construction and operation ofbuildings in both residential and commercial areas to be environmentally friendly. There are different levels of certifications that are achieved by earning points.

There are five rating systems that address multiple project types. Each rating system has requirements that address the needs of buildings and projects in order to be LEED certified.

These rating systems are as follows:

BD+C - Building Design and Construction: This applies to newly constructed buildings or buildings that are having a major renovation done.
ID+C - Interior Design and Construction: This applies to projects that are having an interior renovation or new interior construction.
O+M - Building Operations and Maintenance: This applies to existing buildings that are having improvement work that requires little or no construction.
ND - Neighborhood Development: This applies to new land development projects or redevelopment projects.
Homes - Homes: This applies to single family homes andmuti-family homes.

Within each rating system, there are credit categories. Each of these credit categories awards a certain amount of points that is used to determine the level of LEED certification.

Credit categories are as follows:

Location and Transportation: These credits reward projects that are in dense areas that have access to a variety of transportation options.
Materials and Resources: These credits reward projects that use sustainable building materials and reduce waste.
Water efficiency: These credits reward projects that reduce potable water consumption and promote a smarter use of water.
Energy and Atmosphere: These credits reward projects that are using innovative strategies for energy performance.
Sustainable Sites: These credits reward projects that are minimizing the impact on ecosystems and water resources.
Indoor Quality Control: These credits reward projects that promote better indoor air quality and access to daylight views.

The number of points that a project earns determines the level of LEED Certification:

Certified: 40-49 points
Silver: 50-59 points
Gold: 60-79 points
Platinum: 80+ points

If you are serious about saving energy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving indoor air quality and making green building choices, being LEED certified is the best choice. LEED certifications are recognized across the world. You receive a life-time of returns in terms of energy efficiency and saving money on energy bills. LEED certified buildings may also qualify for tax rebates, ncentives and as an added bonus: higher property values!