What Is LEED? The Guide To Your LEED Questions

A surfeit of green and renewable energy devices such as solar panels, wind turbines, and smart meters enable building owners to increase efficiency and cut energy costs, but such technologies are only, in essence, appendages for buildings. If you’re looking for a way to increase the efficiency and environmental friendliness of a building, you need not look further than Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), a program that is rapidly becoming the de facto standard in green building development.

Even as LEED continues to grow in regard and green efficacy, some might not be as well versed as they would like in the specifics of LEED: its multiple rating systems, the assorted levels of certification, and how it pertains to the buildings we inhabit every day. Our LEED guide provides an extensive overview of how LEED was formed, what it is intended to accomplish, and how it benefits you.

USGBC LEED

Image via USGBC

Taking the LEED

Recognizing that green buildings would eventually play a large role in environmental sustainability, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), a nonprofit organization dedicated to inventing cost- and energy-efficient methods of green building design, created LEED in 1998. As defined by the USGBC, LEED is “an internationally recognized green building certification system,  providing third-party verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving performance across all the metrics that matter most: energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.”

Each of those metrics are areas most of us hear about frequently in this age of green awareness. Combined, they provide a framework constructed by the USGBC that identifies and executes practical and assessable green building design. Crafted for versatility, LEED is applicable to both residential and commercial architecture. It also allows pre-existing buildings to be retrofitted in order to make them as efficient as modern counterparts.