An Explanation of LEED Certification
This one is from the Concrete Masonry Association of California and Nevada:
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a rating system promoted by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to design buildings that are environmentally responsible, energy efficient, and profitable. The LEED rating system is a voluntary, consensus-based national standard for developing high-performance sustainable buildings. Even though the rating systems is voluntary, governments such as California has made it mandatory for all state buildings to comply with LEED. Credits not explicitly related to energy design are also included in this section to provide guidance for those who take advantage of masonry properties for LEED design.
The LEED New Construction (LEED-NC) rating scale is divided into five environmental categories and a sixth design category. In order to become LEED compliant, a building must achieve 26 out of a possible 69 points. There are also silver, gold, and platinum levels in which buildings must achieve 33 to 38, 39 to 51, and 52 plus points respectively.
- Sustainable Sites (14 points available)
- Water Efficiency (5 points available)
- Energy and Atmosphere (17 points available)
- Materials and Resources (13 points available)
- Indoor Environmental Quality (15 points available)
- Innovation in Design (5 points available)
There is also a LEED Existing Buildings (LEED-EB) rating scale used for existing buildings, however, it is currently being used as a pilot program. There are various other LEED rating scales. The LEED-NC Certification is valid for a period of five years, and re-certification under LEED-EB is required to verify that the building continues to perform as it was designed. The re-certification promotes continuous improvements to the building.