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What is LEED Certification?

By J. Beam
Updated May 17, 2024
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LEED certification is a recognition that a construction project or building can attain by utilizing environmentally friendly building practices during construction or remodeling. The name is the acronym that stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, and it is the Green Building Rating System developed by the U.S. Green Building Council. The model was developed in 1998 to encourage environmental awareness amongst government agencies, architects, engineers, developers, and builders.

There are four different levels on which LEED certification can be attained — Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum — and they are determined by a credit, or point, system. A building or project can attain LEED certification by submitting an application that documents compliance with the requirements set forth in the rating system. The Green Building Council issues LEED certification upon satisfactory application, review and compliance verification. There are fees associated with this certification.

While design and construction of buildings have used environmentally friendly practices in the past, LEED was developed to provide a streamlined set of building standards. The government has worked to model sustainable green building by achieving certification on many of its state buildings. In order to increase the number of new and redeveloped buildings eligible for LEED certification, the government also offers many incentives within the building industry, including grant funding and tax breaks based on the level of LEED certification attained.

LEED professional accreditation is also attainable by individuals, contractors, project managers, and other industry professionals. Professional accreditation demonstrates that an individual or company is well-versed in the LEED system and can work with other individuals and developers to oversee the building process and follow guidelines to attain certification.

Some of the practices used or observed for LEED certification include the use of recycled material, eliminating or reducing the amount of waste leaving a job site, re-using existing material, using sustainable green building material, and using low-emitting materials such as caulk and sealers.

Certification can be achieved in both new construction, as well as renovations. The Green Building Council has given LEED certification to a number of new construction projects in the state of California, including the Department of Motor Vehicles in San Ysidro and the Department of Education in Sacramento, both of which are Gold certified. Many other states can also boast government buildings that are certified, and it has also been widely achieved within the private sector as well.

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Discussion Comments

By anon239660 — On Jan 10, 2012

With the increased demand for sustainable buildings, having LEED certification will undoubtedly improve your career prospects. In a recent report by Jones Lang LaSalle, LEEd Certification will be cheaper to obtain in 2012 than it was in previous years. One of the best ways to prepare for a LEED exam is to take a prep course through an education provider.

By anon231956 — On Nov 28, 2011

Achieving a LEED credential can be quite a process. It requires more than simply taking an exam and calling it a day. The purpose of attaining such a certification is to demonstrate one’s expertise in the green building industry.

The mandatory first step for an individual is to take LEED Exam Prep training. The main benefit of taking a LEED preparation course is the time that it saves. Upon completion of the LEED prep class, an individual should take two to three weeks of self-study time to really make sure they understand the information that will be on the LEED exam.

By anon161092 — On Mar 18, 2011

I am a project manager based in Ireland and would like to know where I can get details on Leed training to enable me to advise on construction and construction material required for Leed certification. Thanking you in advance.

By anon98103 — On Jul 22, 2010

I want to know all the details about Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design(LEED) Certification course like: cost of certification; university from which I can get certified in India; length of course.

Please reply to me as soon as possible.

By anon91516 — On Jun 22, 2010

What is the price of getting a building LEED Certified? I saw some information at online but I want to see some other sources before I make up my mind.

By anon69514 — On Mar 08, 2010

How do products attain Leed certification?

By anon65019 — On Feb 10, 2010

Please advise if an air conditioning system based on fan coils can receive a LEED certification.

Thanks in advance.

By anon64722 — On Feb 09, 2010

Can a building construction with Leed certification also have leed credit in interiors later?

By anon63673 — On Feb 03, 2010

Can anyone advise me if a standby diesel generator set needs to comply with the LEED application?

By anon56014 — On Dec 11, 2009

Please advise what are the different LEED certified furniture products?

By sevenseas — On Nov 12, 2008

Metal window blinds installed prior to 1990's might have been treated with finishes that are lead based. They would not get LEED approval. I am glad I found that piece of information since I have blinds that might fit that category. They work just fine, but I will not take any chances.

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