Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)
With the ever growing popularity of new home construction, buildings and major remodeling projects all seeking a greener construction path and looking for guidelines to help them along the way, the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) decided to create a program to help developers, designers and contractors plan, build and design their projects with better green footprints, materials and philosophies.
The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Green Building Rating System (LEED) was developed in 2000 to do just that. It is a third party certification program that is now nationally accepted as the benchmark guideline for all new green home projects including, construction, design and performance. This validation assures that the buildings and major remodels following this program do exactly as they were designed to do which is to be green through the use of proper materials, air qualities, energy efficiencies and locally produced supplies.
LEED certification can be used on any new construction project, major remodel, new home construction, existing buildings, schools, commercial interiors and core and shell construction. It is not currently available for retail, neighborhood development and healthcare as of yet but the USGBC is currently running pilot projects to incorporate these into future LEED certification. LEED points cannot be associated with individual products or materials either. The USGBC has also in conjunction with the American Society of Interior Designers, created the first of its kind program for home renovations. This program is REGREEN and it offers helpful tips, hints and a directory of green products for builders to help plan your green renovation project.
The LEED Green Building Rating System offers four levels of certification based on an accumulated points system from six categories. Depending on your subsequent scores from each category, you can either be LEED certified, Silver certified, Gold certified or Platinum certified. The categories used to certify a LEED project are:
- Sustainable Sites
- Water Efficiency
- Energy & Atmosphere
- Materials & Resources
- Indoor Environmental Quality
- Innovation in Design
The LEED Green Building Rating System certification process is conducted by LEED Accredited professionals from the building industry who also have a strong grasp of the green design process. It costs $450 for USGBC members to register their project with LEED and $600 for non members. An average price tag for LEED certification is approximately $2000 depending on project sizes and such.
For more detailed information on The LEED Green Building Rating System, please visit their web site and see if your project qualifies as green.