Learning About LEED

LEED banner. Image Credit: U.S. Green Building Council.

Here at the Norsteel blog, we talk a lot about LEED buildings and LEED certification.  So what exactly is LEED anyway? And what exactly does it do? Here’s a bit of a LEED primer.  We hope you find it useful!

LEED is an acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design which was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) in 2000.  It is an internationally-recognized, environmentally-friendly building certification system.

LEED buildings are constructed with a strict adherence to sustainable design codes and can be applied to commercial and residential buildings.  To date, over 9.7 billion square feet of construction space has been LEED certified in more than 120 countries. Additionally, nearly 10,000 homes have also been certified and nearly 30,000 homes have been registered under the LEED Home Rating System.

The LEED rating system is scored on a possible 100 points, as well as 6 additional points for design innovation.  There are four levels of certification, with “Certified” being the lowest and “Platinum” the highest.  A LEED “Certified” building has scored 40-49 points, while a “Platinum” building has a score of 80 points or above – at present, there are only four platinum-rated building in North America – one in Canada and three in the United States.

LEED rating systems are set and evaluated by LEED committees which are comprised of a group of volunteers from the building and construction industry.  LEED rating systems are not the same across the board.  According to the USGBC, the available LEED systems include:

  • LEED for New Construction (NC)
  • LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance (EB: O&M)
  • LEED for Commercial Interiors (CI)
  • LEED for Core & Shell (CS)
  • LEED for Schools (SCH)
  • LEED for Retail
  • LEED for Healthcare (HC)
  • LEED for Homes
  • LEED for Neighborhood Development (ND)

Each rating system uses a different rating system specific to the type of building.  For more information on the LEED, visit USGBC.org.


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