What is LEED?

Thu, 2009-09-24 00:39

LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. The LEED Rating System was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, a non-profit organization committed to expanding sustainable building practices.

The simplistic way of thinking about LEED is to compare it to gas mileage for a car. The more LEED points that a building owns, the more resource-efficient, healthier, and sustainable a building is. For example, is it more important to conserve water or conserve energy? That answer depends. So what LEED does is define 50+ sustainable opportunities like saving water, saving energy, preserving habitat. Building owners and developers then get to decide which points they can attain within their cost structure. A building that earns 48 points (LEED Gold) is more sustainable than a building earning 26 points (LEED Certified), and prospective tenants or occupants can objectively measure the sustainability of a building just like you can measure the efficiency of a car with the gas mileage.

The Official Definition of LEED

Or you could just take the definition from USGBC.org: LEED is a third-party certification program and the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operations of high-performance green buildings. LEED gives building owners and operators the tools they need to have an immediate and measurable impact on their buildings’ performance. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality.