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Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a green building certification system developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) in 1998, which has become an  internationally recognized benchmark for environmentally friendly building construction, operation, and maintenance.

Goals for LEED buildings include the following:

  • Lower operating costs and increase asset value.
  • Reduce waste sent to landfills.
  • Conserve energy and water.
  • Be healthier and safer for occupants.
  • Reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Qualify for tax rebates, zoning allowances and other incentives in hundreds of cities.
  • Demonstrate an owner's commitment to environmental stewardship and social responsibility.

Key components of the LEED program are rating systems for nine types of buildings, four levels of certification to recognize the incorporation of materials, principles, and technologies into a project; and a program for professional accreditation.


The LEED program provides a point-based rating system and guidance for nine types of building projects (shown below).  The number of points earned for the various aspects of a specific project is determined through third party verification.

New Construction - LEED for New Construction and Major Renovations is designed to guide and distinguish high-performance commercial and institutional projects.

Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance - LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance provides a benchmark for building owners and operators to measure operations, improvements and maintenance.

Commercial Interiors - LEED for Commercial Interiors is a benchmark for the tenant improvement market that gives the power to make sustainable choices to tenants and designers.

Core & Shell - LEED for Core & Shell aids designers, builders, developers and new building owners in implementing sustainable design for new core and shell construction.

Schools - LEED for Schools recognizes the unique nature of the design and construction of K-12 schools and addresses the specific needs of school spaces.

Retail - LEED for Retail recognizes the unique nature of retail design and construction projects and addresses the specific needs of retail spaces.

Healthcare - LEED for Healthcare promotes sustainable planning, design and construction for high-performance healthcare facilities.

Homes - LEED for Homes promotes the design and construction of high-performance green homes.

Neighborhood Development - LEED for Neighborhood Development integrates the principles of smart growth, urbanism and green building into the first national program for neighborhood design.


The LEED program provides four levels of certification, based on points attained with the above-referenced rating system: 

Glendale, AZ - Planning

  • LEED Certified (basic certification)
  • LEED Silver
  • LEED Gold
  • LEED Platinum (the highest level of certification)


The LEED program provides a professional accreditation program consisting of study and education, passing an exam, and meeting credential maintenance requirements.  The types of accreditation being offered are shown below, with “LEED Green Associate” being the most basic and more advanced accreditation offered in five separate areas.

  • LEED Green Associate
  • LEED AP Operations + Maintenance (O+M)
  • LEED AP Homes
  • LEED AP Building Design + Construction (BD+C)
  • LEED AP Interior Design + Construction (ID+C)
  • LEED AP Neighborhood Development (ND) - available 2010

Information source: USGBC Web site at  



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