Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Sustainable Practices

June 5, 2018 Karli Langner

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is the most widely used green building rating system in the world. It provides a framework to create healthy, highly efficient and cost-saving green buildings. LEED rated buildings save energy, water, resources, generate less waste and support human health.

Projects must undergo LEED certification by having their projects reviewed and rated with the goal to achieve one of four rating levels, which include:

  • Certified – 40 – 49 points
  • Silver – 50 – 59 points
  • Gold – 60 - 79 points
  • Platinum – 80+ points

LEED certification involves four main steps:

  1. Register project by completing key forms and submitting payment.
  2. Apply for LEED certification by submitting completed certification application through and paying a certification review fee.
  3. Review. Your LEED application is reviewed by Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI).
  4. Certify. Receive the certification decision.

There are two major LEED rating systems – LEED v4.1 and LEED 2009. People need to choose the appropriate rating system before they register their project. Rating system descriptions are available for new construction and major renovation of schools, retail, warehouses, healthcare, homes; for interior design and construction of commercial interiors, retail and hotels; for building operations and maintenance for retail, schools, warehouses, etc.; and for neighborhood development.

What are the LEED sustainable practices?

LEED sustainable practices focus on green building design, clean energy, climate protection, sustainable transportation, sustainable building operations, recycling and waste management. When designing and developing a “green” building to meet LEED certification, you design the building for sustainability. Sustainable design is the philosophy of designing buildings that comply with the principles of social, economic, and ecological sustainability.

According to the US Green Building Council (USGBC), “Green building is a holistic concept that starts with the understanding that the built environment can have profound effects, both positive and negative, on the natural environment, as well as the people who inhabit buildings every day.” LEED acts as a framework for project management teams to help them with “the planning, design, construction, and operations of buildings with several central, foremost considerations: energy use, water use, indoor environmental quality, material section and the building's effects on its site.”

The construction industry is uniquely positioned to have a positive effect on the environment by following sustainable practices. Sustainable buildings reduce the impact on the environment while providing healthier places for people to live and work – and this brings a win-win situation for all involved.

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