LEED in a nutshell – The greening of our commercial buildings
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a recognized green building certification program providing third-party verification that a building was designed and built to “be green”.
Buildings contribute directly to environmental pollution. Green buildings can be a major part of the solution to these issues. In addition, a common perspective exists where industries are the major part of greenhouse gas emissions, and their buildings are the major contributors to greenhouse gas emissions.
The goal of the system is to allocate points for various green building strategies based on the potential impacts and human benefits of each credit. Each credit is weighed based on the impact categories, which include:
- Reverse Contributions to Global Climate Change (Climate Change)
- Enhance Individual Human Health and Well Being (People)
- Protect and Restore Water Resources (Water)
- Protect, Enhance, and Restore Biodiversity and Ecosystems (Environment)
- Promote Sustainability and Regenerative Material Cycles (Resources)
- Build a Greener economy (Profit)
- Enhance Community, Social Equity, Environmental Justice and Quality of Life (People)
Levels of certification include: Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum; they are determined by the amount of points awarded. The highest level is platinum which requires 80 points, gold is 60 points, silver is 50 points, and basic certification requires 40 points.
The categories points which can be earned under (maximum is 100) include: Location and Transportation, Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Material and Resource, Indoor Environmental Quality, Regional Priority, and Innovation. Also, there are prerequisites and Minimum Program Requirements that must be met to become LEED certified.
The attributes of green buildings include reduction of energy use, carbon dioxide emissions, water use and solid waste production compared to conventional buildings.