LEED Green Building Rating Systems are groups of requirements for projects that want to achieve LEED certification. Each group is geared towards the unique needs of a project or building type. LEED is flexible enough to apply to all project types including healthcare facilities, schools, homes and even entire neighborhoods.
LEED for New Construction & Major Renovations takes an integrative approach to producing buildings that are designed to be efficient and have a lower impact on their environment. This system is applied to many building types including offices, libraries, churches, hotels and government buildings. It addresses design and construction activities for both new buildings and major renovations of existing buildings, which includes major HVAC improvements, significant envelope modifications, and major interior rehabilitation.
LEED for Existing Buildings helps maximize the efficiency of your operations while minimizing the impact on the environment. The rating system encourages owners and operators of existing buildings to implement sustainable practices and reduce the environmental impacts of their buildings, while addressing the major aspects of ongoing building operations. All buildings (as defined by standard building codes) are eligible for certification under LEED for Existing Buildings. The prescriptive and performance strategies of LEED for Existing Buildings are intended to provide operational benefits throughout the life of the building. If these strategies are continued, a building can maintain and even improve its performance over time. Projects that certify under any version of LEED for Existing Buildings must re-certify at least once every five years in order to keep their certification current.
LEED Core & Shell will prepare your buildings for environmentally conscious tenants. This rating system recognizes the unique nature of the speculative development market, where project teams don’t control all aspects of the entire building’s design and construction. Depending on how a project is structured, a developer’s influence can vary significantly from project to project. LEED for Core & Shell can be used for projects where the developer controls the design and construction of the entire core and shell base building (e.g., mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection systems) but has no control over the design and construction of the tenant fit-out. Projects could include a commercial or medical office building, retail center, warehouse, or lab facility. Precertification is a formal recognition given to a candidate project that has established a goal to develop a LEED for Core & Shell building. Developers or owners of these projects can then market the building’s proposed green features to potential tenants and financiers.
LEED for Commercial Interiors is the recognized system for certifying high-performance green tenant spaces that are healthy, productive places to work; are less costly to operate and maintain; and have a reduced environmental footprint. It gives tenants and designers, who do not always have control over whole building operations, the power to make sustainable choices. This rating system was developed specifically for tenants in commercial and institutional buildings who lease their space or don’t occupy the entire building.LEED for Commercial Interiors was designed to work hand-in-hand with the LEED for Core & Shell rating system, used by developers to certify the core and shell of a project and prepare the building for environmentally conscious tenants.
LEED for Retail is designed to guide and distinguish high-performance retail projects, including banks, restaurants, apparel, electronics, big box and everything in between. LEED for Retail recognizes the unique nature of the retail environment and addresses the different types of spaces retailers need for their product lines. Compared with other commercial buildings, retail has different occupancy characteristics and hours of operation, different parking and transportation considerations, and different process water and energy consumption. Retail projects also may be part of a larger multi-tenant retail complex, where certain issues 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 and Commercial Interiors. Individual tenants may seek LEED for Retail: Commercial Interiors certification for their spaces whether the rest of the building is LEED-certified or not.
LEED for Homes promotes the design and construction of high-performance homes – energy efficient, resource efficient, and healthy for occupants. A home that achieves LEED certification has been designed to maximize fresh air indoors, minimizing exposure to airborne toxins and pollutants. It also has the potential to use 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, LEED is like the nutrition label that demonstrates in measurable terms that a home incorporates efficient techniques and features, and that the final product has been third party-verified and performance tested.
LEED for Neighborhood Development integrates the principles of smart growth, urbanism and green building into the first national system for neighborhood design. Whole neighborhoods, portions of neighborhoods, multiple neighborhoods—there is no minimum or maximum size for a LEED for Neighborhood Development project. Thoughtful neighborhood planning can limit the need for automobiles and their greenhouse gas emissions. Mixed-use development and pedestrian-friendly streets encourage walking, bicycling and public transportation. Green buildings and infrastructure also lessen negative consequences for water resources, air quality and natural resource consumption. The character of a neighborhood, including its streets, homes, workplaces, shops and public spaces, affects quality of life. Green developments respect historic resources and the existing community fabric. They preserve open space and encourage access to parks.
LEED for Schools is the recognized third-party standard for high performance schools that are healthy for students, comfortable for teachers, and cost-effective. The rating system was developed to address the design and construction of K-12 schools. Based on LEED for New Construction, it focuses on classroom acoustics, master planning, mold prevention, environmental site assessment and other issues important to these buildings. LEED for Schools provides a comprehensive tool for schools that wish to build green with measurable results by recognizing the uniqueness of school spaces and their occupants. All projects involving a full building dedicated to K-12 instruction must use either LEED for Schools or LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance. Other projects (university educational buildings, K-12 athletic facilities, or interpretive centers) may choose to use LEED for Schools if they wish.
LEED for Healthcare rating system’s goal is to help healthcare providers design, build and operate, high-performance healing environments. The needs of healthcare facilities are very unique. Healthcare buildings often have strict regulatory requirements, 24/7 operations, and specific programmatic demands are not covered in LEED for New Construction. The LEED for Healthcare rating system acknowledges these differences by both modifying existing credits and creating new, healthcare-specific credits. The goal is to help promote healthful, durable, affordable, and environmentally sound practices in these projects. LEED for Healthcare is geared towards inpatient and outpatient care facilities and licensed long term care facilities. It can also be used for medical offices, assisted living facilities and medical education and research centers.