What is LEED certification?

LEED has become the accepted benchmark for green construction the U.S.PHOTO/COURTESY
LEED has become the accepted benchmark for green construction the U.S.PHOTO/COURTESY
LEED, acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is an ecology-oriented building certification program developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) – a non-profit organisation based in Washington D.C.

The LEED program, which was developed in 1998, consists of a set of rating systems for the design and construction of green (sustainable) buildings. It seeks to encourage the design and construction of structures that use sustainable building materials.

LEED certification process employs a suite of rating systems to determine the ecological merits of a project.

Key areas measured by the LEED according to the USGBC includes Innovation in Design, Energy and Water Efficiency, Indoor Environmental Quality, Sustainable Sites, Awareness and Education, Materials and Resources, Regional Priority, and Location and Linkages.

There are different rating systems for commercial buildings, residential houses, schools and other construction projects – including new construction and renovations. LEED certification is offered in four levels – certified, silver, gold or platinum – depending on the number of points a project has earned.

The Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) – which was established by USGBC – provides LEED exams to allow construction professionals to become LEED accredited for their knowledge on green construction.

Since its inception the LEED program has suffered much criticism from construction professionals and environmentalists who view the certification process as cumbersome, wasteful and ineffective at achieving true green credibility.

But despite the criticism, LEED has become the accepted benchmark for green construction the U.S. – covering every aspect of construction from design, materials to energy and water. More and more people in the building and construction industry are seeking to prop up their green-building credentials in all means possible.

For more information visit the Green Building Certification Institute website – www.gbci.org.