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LEED in a Nutshell

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System is a framework for assessing building performance and meeting sustainability goals.

The LEED Green Building Rating System is a framework for assessing building performance and meeting sustainability goals. Certification is voluntary, but under consideration as a requirement in many U.S. locations.

LEED certified buildings are designed to provide environmental and economic benefits, including the protection of local ecosystems, the conservation of natural resources, reduced building operating costs, and increased occupant health and productivity. LEED certification includes such requirements as the use of recycled materials, improved ventilation, energy efficiency, renewable energy, and water conservation.

The national LEED guidelines were introduced in 2000 by the U.S. Green Building Council. Members of the USGBC representing all segments of the building industry developed LEED and continue to contribute to its evolution. LEED standards are currently available or under development for commercial buildings, homes and neighborhood developments.

"One of the great things about LEED is that it establishes a common language," says Chris Leary of architecture firm Stubbins Associates. "With that common language, people can talk about what is sustainable design, using one definition." Stubbins Associates has guided the architectural design of large-scale green building projects such as the MITRE Center.

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