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
Projects must satisfy prerequisites and earn points within each of the LEED credit categories to earn LEED certification. The number of points the project earns determines its level of LEED certification. For commercial buildings and neighborhoods, 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.
Main Credit Categories
- Sustainable sites credits encourage strategies that minimize the impact on ecosystems and water resources.
- 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 Credit Categories
- Smart location & linkage credits promote walkable neighborhoods with efficient transportation options and open space.
- Neighborhood pattern & design credits emphasize compact, walkable, 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 walkable 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.
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.
Locally, the USGBC Greater Cincinnati Regional Chapter and its members provide input on the implementation of the LEED rating systems by determining the Regional Priority Credits for our area.