LEED Unveiled: Your Comprehensive Guide to Sustainable Building Excellence certification.

Oct 2
LEED, as it’s called so; which stands for leadership in energy and environment design, leads the sustainable building industry.
The standard-like building rating system is continuously evolving to keep up-to-date with the latest sustainable practices and technologies.
This blog offers the reader a simplified full understanding of the certification types with rating categories or principles and focus of each and answers most important question in the topic, so, lets dive deep:

What does LEED mean?

LEED certification is the top in sustainable building or green building industry, is the leading organization in the field sustainable building design.

Who runs LEED?

It is an organization that is has been developed and run  by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), to provide a framework for creating efficient and cost-saving green buildings.

Where is LEED used?

Its certifications are globally recognized symbols of sustainability achievement and leadership with 100k+ certified projects & 200k+ accredited professionals in more than 180 countries around the world.

What is LEED rating system?

It assesses the sustainability and environmental performance of buildings, communities, and neighborhoods.

What are LEED types of certifications?

It can be applied to all building types throughout their life cycle, from new construction to existing buildings and beyond, any building whatever the stage or type will fall into one of the types of certifications below:

  • {BD+C} Building Design and Construction: For new buildings or major renovations.
  • {ID+C} Interior Design and Construction: For interior fit-outs.
  • {O+M} Building Operations and Maintenance: For existing buildings seeking certification or recertification.
  • {ND} Neighborhood Development: For new land development projects or redevelopment projects containing residential uses, nonresidential uses, or a mix.
  • {Homes} For single-family homes, low-rise multi-family (one to three stories), or mid-rise multi-family (four to six stories).

What does LEED certified mean?

 Buildings can earn different levels of LEED certification based on how they meet certain criteria and earn points in various categories.

These certification levels are:

1- Certified :          40-49 points
2- Silver:         
50-59 points
3- Gold:          
60-79 points
4- Platinum:  
80 points and above

What are the principles of LEED?

Projects awarded points based on their performance in various categories, each representing a different aspect of sustainability:
1- Sustainable Sites: This category focuses on the relation of the building with the surrounding and environment, In other words, the relation between The built and the natural environments.

Site Assessment
Evaluating topography, climate, vegetation, hydrology, soils, and human use.
Site Development - Protect/Restore Habitat
Restoring & conserving habitats to boost biodiversity.
Open Space
Providing or preserving open spaces for recreation and biodiversity.
Rainwater Management
Implementation of green infrastructure for stormwater; retains and treats rainwater.
Heat Island Reduction
Minimizing heat islands using reflective material, shading and vegetation.
Light Pollution Reduction
Reducing disruptive lighting using environment and human health.
Site Selection
Avoiding ecologically valuable/flood-prone sites.
Development Density & Community Connectivity
Supporting development in areas with infrastructure and reducing greenfield use.
Alternative Transportation
Promotes alternative transport, facilities for biking, and proximity to transit.

2- Water Efficiency: Encouraging water conservation through efficient fixtures, landscaping, and wastewater management.
Outdoor Water Use Reduction
Reduces outdoor water use via landscaping and irrigation strategies.
Indoor Water Use Reduction
Reduces indoor water use with efficient fixtures and fittings.
Building-Level Water Metering
Installs meters to track building water consumption.
Water Metering for Individual Water Uses
Installs sub-meters for detailed consumption tracking.
Cooling Tower Water Use
Optimizes water use in cooling towers.
Appliance and Process Water Use Reduction
Reduces water consumption in appliances and processes with efficient equipment.

3- Indoor Environmental Quality: Addressing factors that influence occupant health and well-being, such as indoor air quality, natural light, and thermal comfort.
Minimum Indoor Air Quality Performance
Setting basic standards for indoor air quality (IAQ).
Enhanced Indoor Air Quality Strategies
Improving ventilation and reducing sources of indoor air contaminants.
Low-Emitting Materials
Reducing concentrations of chemical contaminants from materials.
Construction Indoor Air Quality Management Plan
Maintaining air quality during construction and pre-occupancy.
Indoor Air Quality Assessment
Offering options for measuring & evaluating indoor air quality post-construction.
Thermal Comfort
Ensuring comfort regarding temperature and humidity for occupants.
Interior Lighting
Addressing controllability and lighting quality for occupants.
Promoting natural lighting in spaces.
Quality Views
Ensuring occupants have views to outdoor environment.
Acoustic Performance
Sets criteria for interior and exterior noise levels and room acoustics.

4- Materials and Resources:
Emphasizing sustainable material selection, waste reduction, and recycling practices.
Building Life-Cycle Impact Reduction
Promoting adaptive reuse and material optimization. Paths include historic building reuse, renovation, and material assessment.
Building Product Disclosure & Optimization - Environmental Product Declarations
Rewarding product selection with life-cycle info and preferable impacts. Prioritizing verified and industry-focused products.
Building Product Disclosure & Optimization - Sourcing of Raw Materials
Promoting sustainably sourced materials, such as recycled, bio-based materials and FSC-certified wood.
Building Product Disclosure & Optimization - Material Ingredients
Encouraging ingredient transparency and safer materials. Prioritizing products with health declarations and approved criteria.
Construction and Demolition Waste Management
Aims for waste material reduction. Rewarding diversion from landfills and incineration, and waste stream separation.
PBTs Source Reduction—Mercury 
Reducing mercury from lamps.
Furniture and Medical Furnishings
Encourages medical furnishings and transparency in furniture via environmental and material health disclosures.

5- Energy and Atmosphere: Promoting energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy sources to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Prerequisite: Energy Performance
Establishing the minimum required energy efficiency and performance.
Fundamental Commissioning and Verification
Ensuring the building's energy systems function as intended.
Building-Level Energy Metering
Monitoring energy consumption tracking via metering.
Advanced Energy Metering
Monitoring subsystems for more detailed energy use tracking.
Demand Response
Encouraging participation in demand response programs.
Renewable Energy Production
Promoting the use of renewable energy sources.
Enhanced Commissioning
Taking a deeper look at the building's energy systems' performance.
Optimize Energy Performance
Incentivizing increased energy efficiency levels beyond the prerequisite standards.
Green Power and Carbon Offsets
Encouraging the use of green power and carbon offset strategies.
Enhanced Refrigerant Management
Aiming to reduce ozone depletion and global warming potential from refrigerants.

6- Location and Transportation: Encouraging condensed housing and building on infill lots to protect green spaces and reduce urban sprawl.
Condensed Housing & Infill Building
Promoting building in dense areas to protect green spaces & environmentally sensitive areas.
Compact Development
Rewarding decisions to prioritize dense and efficient building layouts.
Alternative Transportation
Encouraging the use of transportation methods other than personal vehicles.
Connection to Local Amenities
Prioritizing building locations near amenities like restaurants and parks.

7- Innovation: Allowing projects to earn extra points for implementing innovative sustainable strategies.
Innovation in Design/Operations
Rewarding novel and exemplary performance or innovative strategies beyond requirements.
Pilot Credits
Encouraging the adoption of new and innovative credits are tested for potential inclusion.
LEED Accredited Professional (AP)
Counts credit for including an Accredited Professional in the primary project team.

8- Regional Priority: Rewards the use of geographically specific environmental priorities identified by local USGBC chapters and regional councils.

9- Education and Awareness: Promoting knowledge dissemination about home systems and the principles of green building.
Knowledge Dissemination
Encouraging builders to provide homeowners with necessary knowledge to operate their home systems properly.
Public Promotion of Green Building
Advocating for the public promotion of green building principles and the rating system.
Educational Walkthrough
Builders are required to offer a minimum one-hour walkthrough to instruct homeowners on operational systems.
Provision of LEED Checklist & Manuals
Builders must submit the completed LEED checklist and manuals on all home systems to homeowners.

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