Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is an international third-party certification program. It is an internationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance. It provides 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 efficiency, energy efficiency, material selection, and indoor environmental quality. An additional area focuses on innovation, sustainable building expertise, exemplary performance, and design measures not covered under the 5 key areas. There are two residential LEED Rating Systems, LEED for Homes (1-3 stories) and LEED Midrise (4-6 stories). Certification is based on the total point score achieved, following an independent review. There are four possible levels of certification (certified, silver, gold, and platinum).
Why are a growing number of private sector organizations and governments adopting LEED certification in their policies, programming and operations, with the goal of achieving and demonstrating sustainability? The reasons include:
- Gain recognition for green building efforts
- Validate achievement through third party review
- Qualify for a growing array of government incentives
- Contribute to a growing green building knowledge base