LEED stands for “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design” and is a set of rating systems created by the U.S. Green Building Council to promote consistency and excellence in the industry.
In 1993, Rick Fedrizzi, David Gottfried and Mike Italiano established the U.S. Green Building Council. Their mission: to promote sustainability in the building and construction industry.
That April, representatives from approximately 60 firms and a few nonprofit organizations met in the boardroom of the American Institute of Architects for the council’s founding meeting. It was there that ideas were first aired for an open and balanced coalition spanning the entire building industry and a green building rating system.
LEED is one of the best known green building rating program, and is used internationally, “certifying 1.5 million square feet of building space each day in 135 countries” with more than 54,000 projects currently participating. The comprehensive green building certification program includes five separate rating “families”, each of which are further broken down into project types. The LEED v4 system – released November 2013 – addresses 26 different types of construction situations.
- Building Design + Construction (BD+C): LEED for New Construction v1.0 was the first rating system, released in 2000, and was for new construction commercial office buildings. The current version is still for new construction or major renovations but has 8 sub-sets for different project types including retail, schools, healthcare, warehouses/distribution centers, data centers and hospitality.
- Interior Design + Construction (ID+C): This rating system was developed to work with the BD+C Core & Shell system, &/or for tenants who lease space in commercial buildings. ID+C “is the recognized system for certifying high-performance green tenant spaces that are healthy, productive places to work; are less costly to operate and maintain; and have a reduced environmental footprint. It gives tenants and designers, who do not always have control over whole building operations, the power to make sustainable choices.”
- Building Operations + Maintenance (O&M) The O&M rating system only to existing buildings and allows owners to “implement sustainable practices and reduce the environmental impacts of their buildings, while addressing the major aspects of ongoing building operations.” “Projects that certify under any version of LEED for Existing Buildings must recertify at least once every five years in order to keep their certification current.”
- Neighborhood Development (ND) “Applies to new land development projects or redevelopment projects containing residential uses, nonresidential uses, or a mix. Projects can be at any stage of the development process, from conceptual planning to construction.”
- Homes: Applies residential development up to eight stories. “The system is further subdivided into two categories: Homes and Multifamily Lowrise, appropriate for single- and multifamily buildings of 1 to 3 stories, and Multifamily Midrise, for residential buildings of 4 to 8 stories.” LEED for Homes is slightly different from the other systems in that has more pre-requisites than the other systems, and requires third-party verification from a “green-rater.”