The LEED® seal of approval (Leadership in Energy and Environmental
Design) is an internationally recognized green building - certification
Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) in 1994, today it’s
setting international standards and values for already existing
buildings as well as for new buildings, always revising new versions on
the latest findings.
Using a checklist, the buildings are examined and evaluated on various topics. These are in detail:
Site selection and development are important
components of a building’s sustainability. The Sustainable Sites
category discourages development on previously undeveloped land; seeks
to minimize a building's impact on ecosystems and waterways; encourages
regionally appropriate landscaping; rewards smart transportation
choices; controls stormwater runoff; and promotes reduction of erosion,
light pollution, heat island effect and construction-related pollution.
Buildings are major users of our potable water supply. The goal of
the Water Efficiency category is to encourage smarter use of water.
Water reduction is typically achieved through more efficient appliances,
fixtures and fittings inside and water-conscious landscaping outside.
Energy & Atmosphere
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, buildings use 39% of the
energy and 74% of the electricity produced each year in the United
States. The Energy & Atmosphere category encourages a wide variety
of energy-wise strategies: commissioning; energy use monitoring;
efficient design and construction; efficient appliances, systems and
lighting; the use of renewable and clean sources of energy, generated
on-site or off-site; and other innovative measures.
Materials & Resources
During both the construction and operations phases, buildings
generate a lot of waste and use large quantities of materials and
resources. The Materials & Resources category encourages the
selection of sustainably grown, harvested, produced and transported
products and materials. It promotes waste reduction as well as reuse and
recycling, and it particularly rewards the reduction of waste at a
Indoor Environmental Quality
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that Americans
spend about 90% of their day indoors, where the air quality can be
significantly worse than outside. The Indoor Environmental Quality
category promotes strategies that improve indoor air as well as those
that provide access to natural daylight and views and improve acoustics.
Locations & Linkages
The Locations & Linkages category
encourages building on previously developed or infill sites and away
from environmentally sensitive areas. Credits reward homes that are
built near already-existing infrastructure, community resources and
transit – in locations that promote access to open space for walking,
physical activity and time outdoors.
Awareness & Education
The LEED for Homes rating system acknowledges that a home is only truly
green if the people who live in it use its green features to maximum
effect. The Awareness & Education category encourages home builders
and real estate professionals to provide homeowners, tenants and
building managers with the education and tools they need to understand
what makes their home green and how to make the most of those features.
Innovation in Design
The Innovation in Design category provides bonus points for projects
that use innovative technologies and strategies to improve a building’s
performance well beyond what is required by other LEED credits, or to
account for green building considerations that are not specifically
addressed elsewhere in LEED.
USGBC’s regional councils, chapters and affiliates have identified
the most important local environmental concerns, and six LEED credits
addressing these local priorities have been selected for each region of
the country. A project that earns a regional priority credit will earn
one bonus point in addition to any points awarded for that credit. Up to
four extra points can be earned in this way.
There are 100 possible base points distributed across five major credit
categories: Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere,
Materials and Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality, plus an
additional 6 points for Innovation in Design and an additional 4 points
for Regional Priority.
Buildings can qualify for four levels of