LEED U.S. Green Building Council.htm


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LEED is an internationally recognized green building program.
It provides building owners and operators with a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions.
What is LEED?
LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a voluntary, consensus-based, market¬-driven program that provides third-party verification of green buildings. From individual buildings and homes, to entire neighborhoods and communities, LEED is transforming the way built environments are designed, constructed, and operated. Comprehensive and flexible, LEED addresses the entire lifecycle of a building.
Participation in the voluntary LEED process demonstrates leadership, innovation, environmental stewardship and social responsibility. LEED provides building owners and operators the tools they need to immediately impact their building’s performance and bottom line, while providing healthy indoor spaces for a building’s occupants.
LEED projects have been successfully established in 135 countries. International projects, those outside the United States, make up more than 50% of the total LEED registered square footage. LEED unites us in a single global community and provides regional solutions, while recognizing local realities.
How it works
For commercial buildings and neighborhoods, to earn LEED certification, a project must satisfy all LEED prerequisites and earn a minimum 40 points on a 110-point LEED rating system scale. Homes must earn a minimum of 45 points on a 136-point scale. Learn more
Learn about LEED
LEED is developed, implemented and maintained with the help of the LEED Committees. Focusing more on the application of LEED, the LEED International Roundtable identifies ways LEED can better meet the needs of global users. Together, these groups include representation from a variety of industries across the country and around the globe.
USGBC is your source for up-to-date, high quality education on the rating systems. We offer a variety of ways to learn about LEED. Explore our course catalog
LEED-certified buildings are designed to:
• Lower operating costs and increase asset value
• Reduce waste sent to landfills
• Conserve energy and water
• Be healthier and safer for occupants
• Reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions
• Qualify for tax rebates, zoning allowances and other incentives in hundreds of cities
LEED is good for business. LEED certification boosts your bottom line, makes you more competitive, limits risk, and attracts tenants.
Credit library
Building projects earn points for satisfying green building criteria. Within each of the environmental LEED credit categories, projects must satisfy particular prerequisites and earn additional points. The number of points the project earns determines the level of LEED certification the project receives. Projects must earn at least 40 points to achieve basic certification.

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LEED U.S. Green Building Council.htm

  1. 1. LEEDhttp://new.usgbc.org/leed/rating-systems/ Selection GuidanceLEED Green Building Rating SystemsRating systems are groups of requirements for projectsthat want to achieve LEED certification. Each group isgeared towards the unique needs of a project or buildingtype.LEED is flexible enough to apply to all project types including healthcarefacilities, schools, homes and even entire neighborhoods. The Rating SystemSelection Guidance will help you determine which specific rating system is rightfor your project.Projects earn points to satisfy green building requirementsWithin each of the LEED credit categories, projects must satisfy prerequisites andearn points. The number of points the project earns determines its level of LEEDcertification.Main credit categories Sustainable sites credits encourage strategies that minimize the impact on ecosystems and water resources.
  2. 2. Water efficiency credits promote smarter use of water, inside and out, to reduce potable water consumption. Energy & atmosphere credits promote better building energy performance through innovative strategies. Materials & resources credits encourage using sustainable building materials and reducing waste. Indoor environmental quality credits promote better indoor air quality and access to daylight and views.Additional LEED for Neighborhood Development creditcategories Smart location & linkage credits promote walk able neighborhoods with efficient transportation options and open space. Neighborhood pattern & design credits emphasize compact, walk able, vibrant, mixed- use neighborhoods with good connections to nearby communities. Green infrastructure & buildings credits reduce the environmental consequences of the construction and operation of buildings and infrastructure.Additional LEED for Homes credit categories Location & linkage credits encourage construction on previously developed or infill sites and promotes walk able neighborhoods with access to efficient transportation options and open space. Awareness & education credits encourage home builders and real estate professionals to provide homeowners, tenants and building managers with the education and tools they need to understand and make the most of the green building features of their home.Two bonus credit categories Innovation in design or innovation in operations credits address sustainable building expertise as well as design measures not covered under the five LEED credit categories. Six bonus points are available in this category. Regional priority credits address regional environmental priorities for buildings in different geographic regions. Four bonus points are available in this category.New Construction & Major RenovationsLEED for New Construction & Major Renovations takesan integrative approach to producing buildings that are
  3. 3. designed to be efficient and have a lower impact on theirenvironment.LEED (for New Construction) v1.0 was released in 2000 as the first LEED ratingsystem geared towards new commercial office buildings. Today, LEED for NewConstruction is applied to many building types including offices, libraries,churches, hotels and government buildings.LEED for New Construction addresses design and construction activities for bothnew buildings and major renovations of existing buildings, which includes majorHVAC improvements, significant envelope modifications, and major interiorrehabilitation.While primarily focused on design and construction, LEED for New Constructionalso helps lay the foundation for sustainable operations and maintenance practicesonce the project has been completed. Upfront planning for green operations andmaintenance can help building owners and operators ensure that the buildingperforms to its full potential.Global Alternative Compliance Paths are available for this rating system.Existing BuildingsLEED for Existing Buildings helps maximize theefficiency of your operations while minimizing the impacton the environment.The rating system encourages owners and operators of existing buildings toimplement sustainable practices and reduce the environmental impacts of theirbuildings, while addressing the major aspects of ongoing building operations: exterior building site maintenance programs water and energy use environmentally preferred products and practices for cleaning and alterations sustainable purchasing policies waste stream management
  4. 4. ongoing indoor environmental qualityAll buildings (as defined by standard building codes) are eligible for certificationunder LEED for Existing Buildings. It is targeted at single buildings, whetherowner occupied, multitenant, or multiple-building campus projects. It is a whole-building rating system; individual tenant spaces aren‘t eligible.Global Alternative Compliance Paths are available for this rating system.An Ongoing ProcessThe prescriptive and performance strategies of LEED for Existing Buildings areintended to provide operational benefits throughout the life of the building. If thesestrategies are continued, a building can maintain and even improve its performanceover time. Projects that certify under any version of LEED for Existing Buildingsmust recertify at least once every five years in order to keep their certificationcurrent.The LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance RecertificationGuidance provides clear direction for Existing Buildings projects that are ready torecertify.Core & ShellPrepare your buildings for environmentally conscioustenants with LEED for Core & Shell.We recognize the unique nature of the speculative development market, whereproject teams don‘t control all aspects of the entire building‘s design andconstruction. Depending on how a project is structured, a developers influence canvary significantly from project to project. LEED for Core & Shell acknowledgesthis and can be adapted to a variety of project types.LEED for Core & Shell can be used for projects where the developer controls thedesign and construction of the entire core and shell base building (e.g., mechanical,electrical, plumbing, and fire protection systems) but has no control over thedesign and construction of the tenant fit-out. Projects could include a commercialor medical office building, retail center, warehouse, or lab facility.
  5. 5. Because of the nature of the core and shell project type and scope, the LEED forCore & Shell rating system has some unique aspects. Default occupancy counts: Guidance is provided for Core & Shell projects, which typically do not know what the actual building occupancy, for how for determining FTE and transient occupants. Energy modeling guidelines: Guidance on how to model building systems that are beyond the developer‘s scope of work is provided.It is designed to be complementary to LEED for Commercial Interiors and LEEDfor Retail: Commercial Interiors.Global Alternative Compliance Paths are available for this rating system.PrecertificationAfter registering a project under LEED for Core & Shell, the project team canapply for precertification. Precertification is a formal recognition given to acandidate project that has established a goal to develop a LEED for Core & Shellbuilding. Developers or owners of these projects can then market the buildingsproposed green features to potential tenants and financiers. LEED 2009: projects can use LEED Online to apply LEED v2.0: need to use the off-line process and hardcopy submittal templates for precertificationLEED for Commercial InteriorsLEED for Commercial Interiors is the green benchmarkfor the tenant improvement market.LEED for Commercial Interiors is the recognized system for certifying high-performance green tenant spaces that are healthy, productive places to work; areless costly to operate and maintain; and have a reduced environmental footprint. Itgives tenants and designers, who do not always have control over whole buildingoperations, the power to make sustainable choices. Making these choices duringtenant improvements and interior renovations can dramatically affect the indoorenvironment.
  6. 6. This rating system was developed specifically for tenants in commercial andinstitutional buildings who lease their space or don‘t occupy the entire building.LEED for Commercial Interiors was designed to work hand-in-hand with theLEED for Core & Shell rating system, used by developers to certify the core andshell of a project and prepare the building for environmentally conscious tenants.Global Alternative Compliance Paths are available for this rating system.LEED for RetailLEED for Retail is designed to guide and distinguishhigh-performance retail projects, including banks,restaurants, apparel, electronics, big box and everythingin between.A unique fit for retail and hospitalityLEED for Retail recognizes the unique nature of the retail environment andaddresses the different types of spaces retailers need for their product lines.Compared with other commercial buildings, retail has different occupancycharacteristics and hours of operation, different parking and transportationconsiderations, and different process water and energy consumption. Retailprojects also may be part of a larger multi-tenant retail complex, where certainissues are addressed at the site level rather than by the project itself.LEED for Retail provides two options for projects seeking certification: New Construction & Major Renovations Addresses specifics for the construction or major renovation of a retail building. A major renovation includes major HVAC improvements, significant envelope modifications and major interior rehabilitation. Commercial Interiors Addresses the specifics of tenant spaces where a retailer is retrofitting an existing building, and the shell of the building is outside of the tenant‘s control. Individual tenants may seek LEED for Retail: Commercial Interiors certification for their spaces whether the rest of the building is LEED-certified or not. Works hand-in-hand with LEED for Core & Shell.
  7. 7. Global Alternative Compliance Paths are available for this rating system.LEED for HomesLEED for Homes is the right fit for residential projects. Savings: A LEED home is designed to save energy, water, and therefore money. Health: A LEED home has been built to provide a healthy environment for families. Value: Data has shown that green and efficient buildings often sell for more, and in less time, than non-green buildings. "Yahoo! Study: American Dream Homes Turn Green." Yahoo! Real Estate, 2011 Trusted: A LEED home is performance tested and green measures are third-party verified.LEED for Homes is a voluntary rating system for singleand multifamily, affordable and market rate housingprojects.LEED for Homes promotes the design and construction of high-performancehomes – energy efficient, resource efficient, and healthy for occupants. A homethat achieves LEED certification has been designed to maximize fresh air indoors,minimizing exposure to airborne toxins and pollutants. It also has the potential touse 20-30% less energy—and some up to 60% less—than a home built to code.And less energy use means lower utility bills every month.LEED certification recognizes and celebrates leadership in green homebuilding,and allows a builder to clearly differentiate their work. For the homebuyer, LEEDis like the nutrition label that demonstrates in measurable terms that a homeincorporates efficient techniques and features, and that the final product has beenthird party-verified and performance tested.Builders interested in pursuing LEED for Homes certification begin the process bycontacting a LEED for Homes Green Rater. Green Raters are local experts whoconduct the on-site project verification services required for certification.LEED for Homes Scoring Tool
  8. 8. Learn how close you are to earning LEED certification by using the LEED forHomes Scoring Tool.LEED for Homes Green Rater ProgramGreen Raters provide in-the-field verification services ateach and every LEED for Homes Project.Green Raters play a critical part in LEED for Homes certification. With tens ofthousands of registered LEED for Homes projects, the demand for qualified GreenRaters is growing every day.Green Raters are responsible for: Providing on-site verification services on a LEED for Homes registered project Assembling the Project Submittal Package and submitting it for certification review Verifying that the home is designed and built to the rigorous requirements of the LEED for Homes rating system through onsite verification. Green Raters must be involved with the project from the design phase (prior to a preliminary rating) and throughout the construction process. Project teams interested in participating in the LEED for Homes program must contact a LEED for Homes Green Rater.All Green Raters work with LEED for Homes Provider Organizations to completethe verification process for each LEED for Homes project. Providers providequality assurance oversight for each Green Rater. LEED for Homes Providers arelocal organizations selected by USGBC based on demonstrated experience andexpertise in supporting builders in the construction of high-performance,sustainable homes in their market.Is a Green Rater qualified to complete performance testing?All projects pursuing LEED for Homes certification also require performancetesting to be completed by a qualified energy rater, or a Home Energy RatingSystem Rater (HERS Rater). Many Green Raters are also qualified energy raters(HERS Raters) and can provide both the onsite verification and performancetesting services. Ask your LEED for Homes Green Rater if they are qualified orlocate a HERS Rater near you.
  9. 9. LEED for Neighborhood DevelopmentLEED for Neighborhood Development integrates theprinciples of smart growth, urbanism and green buildinginto the first national system for neighborhood design.Whole neighborhoods, portions of neighborhoods, multiple neighborhoods—thereis no minimum or maximum size for a LEED for Neighborhood Developmentproject.A rating system for today — for a brighter tomorrowThoughtful neighborhood planning can limit the need for automobiles and theirgreenhouse gas emissions. Mixed-use development and pedestrian-friendly streetsencourage walking, bicycling and public transportation. Green buildings andinfrastructure also lessen negative consequences for water resources, air qualityand natural resource consumption.The character of a neighborhood, including its streets, homes, workplaces, shopsand public spaces, affects quality of life. Green developments respect historicresources and the existing community fabric. They preserve open space andencourage access to parks.Combine the substantial environmental and social benefits, and the case for greenneighborhoods makes itself.Unlike any otherLEED for Neighborhood Development, developed in collaboration with Congressfor the New Urbanism and the Natural Resources Defense Council,emphasizes elements that bring buildings and infrastructure together and relates theneighborhood to its local and regional landscape.LEED for SchoolsLEED for Schools is the recognized third-party standardfor high performance schools that are healthy forstudents, comfortable for teachers, and cost-effective.
  10. 10. The LEED for Schools rating system was developed to address the design andconstruction of K-12 schools. Based on LEED for New Construction, it focuses onclassroom acoustics, master planning, mold prevention, environmental siteassessment and other issues important to these buildings. LEED for Schoolsprovides a comprehensive tool for schools that wish to build green withmeasurable results by recognizing the uniqueness of school spaces and theiroccupants.All projects involving a full building dedicated to K-12 instruction must use eitherLEED for Schools or LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance.Other projects (university educational buildings, K-12 athletic facilities, orinterpretive centers) may choose to use LEED for Schools if they wish.Global Alternative Compliance Paths are available for this rating system.Get involvedThe Center for Green Schools is how USGBC is making sure every student hasthe opportunity to attend a green school within this generation. From thekindergartner entering the classroom, to the Ph.D. student performing researchingin a lab, the Center provides the resources and support to elevate dialogue,accelerate policy and institute innovation toward green schools and campuses.High-performing schools result in high-performing students, and the Center worksdirectly with staff, teachers, faculty, students, administrators, elected officials andcommunities to drive the transformation of all schools into sustainable places tolive and learn, work and play.LEED for HealthcareFirst, do no harm. The goal of the LEED for Healthcarerating system is to help you design, build and operate,high-performance healing environments.The needs of healthcare facilities are very unique. Healthcare buildings often havestrict regulatory requirements, 24/7 operations, and specific programmaticdemands are not covered in LEED for New Construction. The LEED forHealthcare rating system acknowledges these differences by both modifying
  11. 11. existing credits and creating new, healthcare-specific credits. The goal is to helppromote healthful, durable, affordable, and environmentally sound practices inthese projects.LEED for Healthcare is geared towards inpatient and outpatient care facilities andlicensed long term care facilities. It can also be used for medical offices, assistedliving facilities and medical education and research centers.Projects that meet certain criteria are required to use LEED for Healthcare. Theseinclude licensed and federal inpatient and outpatient care facilities and licensedlong term care facilities.Global Alternative Compliance Paths are available for this rating system.A collaborative effort for healthLEED for Healthcare is the result of seven years of working closely with the GreenGuide for Health Care (GGHC), a joint project of Health Care Without Harm andCenter for Maximum Potential Building Systems.Rating system selection guidanceThis guidance was developed to explain what type of project each LEED ratingsystem was written for. It provides general guidance for project teams to considerin order to make a reasonable decision before registering their project. Thisdocument also picks up where the LEED Reference Guides leave off whendeciding which rating system is best for a given project.Project teams should pay careful attention to the prerequisites and credits outlinedin the given rating system, and make sure that the project can earn all prerequisitesand enough points to earn certification. How to use this guidance Step 1 Determine which construction type the project falls into.
  12. 12. Step 2 If there are multiple systems applicable to the construction type, choose one based on space usage type. Step 3 If the correct rating system is not obvious, carefully review the 40/60 rule.Exceptions LEED for Schools and LEED for Healthcare projects. There are very specific building types that must certify under these rating systems. See the introduction section of the relevant reference guides, as well as this guidance, to outline when it is necessary to use these rating systems. This document does not address the LEED for Neighborhood Development rating system. Please refer to LEED for Neighborhood Development rating system for more information. Occasionally, USGBC recognizes that an entirely inappropriate rating system has been chosen for a project. In this case, the project team will be asked to change the designated rating system for their registered building project. Please review this guidance carefully, and contact USGBC if it is not clear which rating system to use. If both the following two statements describe the project, then a whole building rating system, with the exception of LEED for Commercial Interiors or LEED for Retail: Commercial Interiors, should be used. The entity conducting the work leases OR owns and controls 90% or more of the building that the space is located in The same entity is conducting new construction or major renovation in 40% or more of the gross floor area of the building New construction additions cannot include any portions of the existing building (renovated or not) within their LEED project boundary when pursuing a whole building rating system, unless they include the entirety of the existing building. For further detail on how to pursue certification for addition projects as ‗Attached Buildings‘, please reference MPR #2 in our 2009 Minimum Program Requirements – Supplemental Guidance documentStep 1 - Choose a rating system based onconstruction type
  13. 13. Determine which construction type the project falls into.Be sure to consider the building in its entirety or thecomplete interior space.Many projects will be undergoing construction work that does not fall neatly underone construction type definition (such as ‗major renovation‘ or ‗interior fit-out‘). Itis the project team‘s responsibility in this case to make a reasonable determinationon which definition best fits their project. A strict application of each definition isnot required.Complete ConstructionThese rating systems are appropriate for buildings that are undergoing newconstruction or major renovation (or gut rehab, for low- and mid-rise residential)and a complete interior fit-out. There are five rating systems in this category.Core and Shell Construction This rating system is appropriate for buildings that areundergoing new construction or major renovation on its exterior shell and coremechanical, electrical, and plumbing units but NOT a complete interior fit-out.There is only one rating system in this category.Commercial Interior Construction
  14. 14. This rating system is appropriate for commercial Interiorspaces that are undergoing a complete interior fit-out of at least 60% of thecertifying gross floor area. There are two rating systems in this category.Existing Buildings: Limited Construction This rating system is appropriate for existing buildingsundergoing improvement work or little to no construction. There is only one ratingsystem in this category.Step 2 - Choose a rating system based onspace usage typeIf there are multiple rating systems applicable to theconstruction type, choose one based on space usagetype.New ConstructionThis rating system is appropriate for buildings that do not primarily serve K-12educational, retail, or designated healthcare uses. It is also appropriate for high rise(7+stories) residential buildings.SchoolsThis rating system is required for buildings made up of core and ancillary learningspaces on K-12 school grounds. It is also appropriate for buildings made up of coreand ancillary learning spaces on non K-12 school grounds, as well as non-academic buildings on school campuses.
  15. 15. See the LEED for Schools Applications table for more information.Table 1. Applying the LEED for Schools Rating System % of building square footage dedicated to learning space More than 60% core 40-60% core and Less than 40% core and ancillary ancillary, and ancillary OR including 25%+ including 10%+ less than 10% core core coreK-12 Must use LEED for Should use LEED Should not use Schools for Schools LEED for SchoolsOther Should use LEED May use LEED Should not usethan K- for Schools for Schools LEED for Schools12HealthcareThis rating system is required (beginning January 1, 2012) for buildings that serveindividuals who seek medical treatment, including licensed and federal inpatientcare facilities, licensed and federal outpatient care facilities, and licensed andfederal long-term care facilities. These are considered LEED for Healthcare‗designated‘ uses. It is also appropriate for buildings with other kinds of medically-related uses, such as unlicensed outpatient facilities, medical, dental and veterinaryoffices and clinics, assisted living facilities and medical education & researchcenters are examples of ‗non-designated‘ uses, and may use LEED for Healthcareat the project team‘s discretion.See the LEED for Healthcare Applications table for more information.Table 2. Applying the LEED for Healthcare Rating System % of building square footage dedicated to healthcare use more than 60% 40-60% Less than 40% Licensed or federal Must use LEED Should use May use inpatient care, for Healthcare* LEED for LEED foroutpatient care, long- Healthcare Healthcare term care Other medically- May use LEED May use May use
  16. 16. related buildings for Healthcare LEED for LEED for Healthcare Healthcare* Effective January 1, 2012Retail New ConstructionThis rating system is appropriate for buildings or interiors dedicated to the sale ofgoods or commodities directly to consumers who come onto the premise for thepurpose of obtaining those goods or commodities. It includes, but is not limited to,banks, restaurants (quick and full-serve), stores of any kind, spas, etc. It is alsoappropriate for both direct customer service areas (showroom) and preparation orstorage areas that support customer service.Commercial InteriorsThis rating system is appropriate for Interiors dedicated to functions other thanretail.Retail Commercial InteriorsThis rating system is appropriate for buildings or interiors dedicated to the sale ofgoods or commodities directly to consumers who come onto the premise for thepurpose of obtaining those goods or commodities. It includes, but is not limited to,banks, restaurants (quick and full-serve), stores of any kind, spas, etc. It is alsoappropriate for both direct customer service areas (showroom) and preparation orstorage areas that support customer service.HomesThe Homes rating system is appropriate for low-rise (1-3 stories) residentialbuildings. The LEED for Homes Multi-Family Midrise rating system is appropriatefor mid-rise (4-6 stories) residential buildings.See the Residential Applications table for more information.Table 3. Applying the LEED for Homes Rating System # of occupiable, % of square footage that meets the above-grade definition of residential stories Less Between 40 More than than and 60% 60% 40%
  17. 17. Single-family home n/a n/a n/a LEED for Homes Multi-family with 1-3 stories NC NC or Homes HVAC systems shared Homes across living units 4-6 stories NC NC or Mid- NC or Mid- rise rise 7+ stories NC NC NC* Multi-family with 1-3 stories NC NC or Homes individual unit HVAC Homes systems 4-5 stories NC NC, Homes, NC, Homes or Mid-rise or Mid-rise 6 stories NC NC or Mid- NC or Mid- rise rise 7+ stories NC NC NC**If the building is more than 6 stories, it may use Mid-Rise in exceptionalsituations. Please contact Kelsey Mullen for further information.If the correct rating system is not obvious, use the 40/60 rule.Step 3 - Make a decisionWhen several rating systems may be appropriate, usethe 40/60 ruleIf the correct rating system is not obvious, for example, if different parts of theproject are undergoing different kinds of construction or are serving different spaceusage types, carefully review the rule below.Percentage of square footage appropriate for a particular rating system 0% to 40% Should not use that rating system 40% to 60% Project teams choice 60% to 100% Should use that rating system
  18. 18. The following ―40/60 rule‖ provides guidance for making a decision when severalrating systems appear to be appropriate for a project. To use this rule, first ‗assign‘a rating system to each square foot of the building based on the guidance in thisdocument.Example: LEED for Schools for an existing K-12 school undergoing majorrenovations and LEED for New Construction for an addition being built onto it.Choose the best rating system depending on the resulting percentages. Be sure toinclude the entire certifying square footage (but no more) in this exercise.Keep in mind that the entire gross floor area of a LEED project must be certifiedunder a single rating system, and is subject to all prerequisites and attemptedcredits in that rating system, regardless of a mixed construction or space usagetype. 1. If a rating system is appropriate for less than 40% of the gross floor area of a LEED project building or space, then that rating system should not be used. 2. If a rating system is appropriate for more than 60% of the gross floor area of a LEED project building or space, then that rating system should be used. 3. Project teams with buildings and spaces that do not fall into the scenarios described in 1) and 2) must independently assess their situation and decide which rating system is most applicable.The 40/60 rule is not applicable to LEED CI and LEED CS. For additionalguidance on using LEED CS versus another rating system, see LEEDInterpretation 10102, and for LEED CI, see Step 1 of this guidance document.