The newest way to support protecting the environment and going green is to become LEED Certified.
LEED is an accreditation that is given to vendors, products, projects, designers or builders. The brand “LEED” is the new “green” when referring to a firm or organization that is environmentally conscious.
LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is an internationally recognized certification program offered and regulated by the U. S. Green Building Council (USGBC) that recognizes best-in-class building strategies and practices for “green” building.
To obtain LEED certification from the USGBC, building projects must satisfy prerequisites and earn points to achieve different levels of certification. Each rating system has different systems for prerequisites and criteria. Teams choose the criteria and options that best fit their project.
Ratings & Certifications
There are different rating systems for the categories of projects. The Categories are:
- New Construction & Major Renovations
- Core & Shell
- Commercial interiors
- Existing Buildings
- Operation & Maintenance
The Five Certification Abbreviations are :
- BD+C Building Design and Construction
- ID+C Interior Design and Construction
- O+M Building Operations and Maintenance
- ND Neighborhood Development
- H Homes
There are four levels of Certification, for the different point ranges:
- 40-49 Points – Certified
- 50-59 Points – Silver
- 60-79 Points – Gold
- 80+ Points – Platinum
To begin the process of obtaining certification, you must first sign up online at the U.S. Green Building Council’s website. The enrollment fee is usually about $900 for USGBC members, and $1,200 for non-members.
Once you submit the registration form and payment, you’ll have access to your application at LEED Online, which has tools and resources to help you in your application process for LEED certification. Then you can assemble your project team and start the documentation process.
Now you’re ready to identify specific LEED credits to pursue.
- Collect information and prepare documentation to include with your application for certification. You can upload your completed materials directly into LEED Online.
- Double-check each credit to make sure details are accurate and consistent.
BD+C and ID+C projects can choose to split the standard review (called a Split Review), which allows teams to submit their application in two parts: one for design credits and the other for construction credits.
Your project team is responsible for selecting the appropriate criteria to receive certification. You can assign specific criteria to each teammate.
Here’s how you can earn points:
- Sustainable Sites: 21 points
- Water Efficiency: 11 points
- Energy and Atmosphere: 37 points
- Materials and Resources: 14 points
- Indoor Environmental Quality: 17 points
Once you have all of your relevant information and corresponding calculations for each category you have chosen to pursue, and you have re-checked everything for relevance and accuracy, you are ready to prepare your application, and pay the application fee.
The dates and deadlines timelines for submitting documentation are clearly outlined in their established Rating System expiration terms.
All the forms you need to apply are online. There are different forms to fill out for prerequisites, criteria, and the project in general,
The application can include any or all Design Credits your team is pursuing. Only the project leader can initiate a review.
- Preliminary Design Review
- Optional Final Design Review, when Reviewers evaluate clarifications submitted for credits reviewed in the Preliminary Design Review. The application should include all construction and design phase credits not already or previously submitted, in preparation for the Preliminary Construction Review.
- Preliminary Construction Review
- Optional Final Construction Review, when Reviewers evaluate clarifications submitted for credits reviewed in the Preliminary Construction Review.
- The USGBC will process your application, and give you an application review decision. If you don’t like their answer, you have 25 days to appeal a final decision, and your team must pay a fee for each prerequisite or criteria it is appealing. The fee is $500 per criteria.
That’s it! Good luck!