LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is an internationally-recognized green building certification system. It was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) in March 2000. LEED provides building owners, operators and managers with a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions.
LEED promotes sustainable building and development practices through a suite of rating systems that recognize projects that implement strategies for better environmental and health performance. The categories that make up LEED are; Site Selection, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality, and Innovation and Design Process. It also serves as a pillar for sustainable site development, materials selection, energy efficiency, water conservation, CO2 emission reductions, and indoor environmental quality.
LEED is flexible enough to apply to all building types, residential, commercial and industrial. It applies throughout the building lifecycle, starting from design to construction, operations and maintenance, tenant improvements, and significant retrofits.
LEED® points are awarded on a 100-point scale, and credits are weighted to reflect their potential environmental impacts. Ten bonus credits are available, four of which address regionally specific environmental issues. A project must satisfy all prerequisites and earn a minimum number of points (26 credits) to be certified by the USGBC.