LEED consultancy and Certification:

Following the formation of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) in 1993, the organization’s members quickly realized that the sustainable building industry needed a system to define and measure “green buildings.” USGBC began to research existing green building metrics and rating systems. Less than a year after formation, the members acted on the initial findings by establishing a committee to focus solely on this topic. The composition of the committee was diverse; it included architects, real estate agents, a building owner, a lawyer, an environmentalist, and industry representatives. This cross section of people and professions added a richness and depth both to the process and to the ultimate product.


LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is transforming the way we think about how our buildings and communities are designed, constructed, maintained and operated across the globe. Comprehensive and flexible, LEED is a green building tool that addresses the entire building lifecycle recognizing best-in-class building strategies.


As LEED has evolved and matured, the program has undertaken new initiatives. In addition to a rating system specifically devoted to building operational and maintenance issues (LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance), LEED addresses the different project development and delivery processes that exist in the U.S. building design and construction market, through rating systems for specific building typologies, sectors, and project scopes: LEED for Core & Shell, LEED for New Construction, LEED for Schools, LEED for Neighborhood Development, LEED for Retail, LEED for Healthcare, LEED for Homes, and LEED for Commercial Interiors.


Project teams interact with the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) for project registration and certification. GBCI was established in 2008 as a separately incorporated entity with the support of the U.S. Green Building Council. GBCI administers credentialing and certification programs related to green building practice. These programs support the application of proven strategies for increasing and measuring the performance of buildings and communities as defined by industry systems such as LEED.


The green building field is growing and changing daily. New technologies and products are being introduced into the marketplace, and innovative designs and practices are proving their effectiveness. The LEED rating systems and reference guides will evolve as well. Project teams must comply with the version of the rating system that is current at the time of their registration.


Prerequisites and credits in the LEED Green Building Rating Systems address 7 topics:

Ø         Sustainable Sites (SS)

Ø         Water Efficiency (WE)

Ø         Energy and Atmosphere (EA)

Ø         Materials and Resources (MR)

Ø         Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ)

Ø         Innovation in Design (ID)

Ø         Regional Priority (RP)

LEED for New Construction, Core & Shell, and Schools certifications are awarded according to the following scale:

Ø         Certified 40–49 points

Ø         Silver 50–59 points

Ø         Gold 60–79 points

Ø         Platinum 80 points and above

GBCI recognizes buildings that achieve 1 of these rating levels with a formal letter of certification.

At its core, LEED is a program that provides third-party verification of green buildings. Building projects satisfy prerequisites and earn points to achieve different levels of certification. Prerequisites and credits differ for each rating system, and teams choose the best fit for the project.

1.2 Rating system

Ø         New Construction & Major Renovations

LEED for New Construction & Major Renovations takes an integrative approach to producing buildings that are designed to be efficient and have a lower impact on their environment.

LEED (for New Construction) v1.0 was released in 2000 as the first LEED rating system geared towards new commercial office buildings. Today, LEED for New Construction is applied to many building types including offices, libraries, churches, hotels and government buildings.


LEED for New Construction addresses design and construction activities for both new buildings and major renovations of existing buildings, which includes major HVAC improvements, significant envelope modifications, and major interior rehabilitation.


While primarily focused on design and construction, LEED for New Construction also helps lay the foundation for sustainable operations and maintenance practices once the project has been completed. Upfront planning for green operations and maintenance can help building owners and operators ensure that the building performs to its full potential.


Ø         LEED for Existing Buildings

LEED for Existing Buildings helps maximize the efficiency of your operations while minimizing the impact on the environment.

The rating system encourages owners and operators of existing buildings to implement sustainable practices and reduce the environmental impacts of their buildings, while addressing the major aspects of ongoing building operations:

·      exterior building site maintenance programs

·      water and energy use

·      environmentally preferred products and practices for cleaning and alterations

·      sustainable purchasing policies

·      waste stream management

·      ongoing indoor environmental quality

All buildings (as defined by standard building codes) are eligible for certification under LEED for Existing Buildings. It is targeted at single buildings, whether owner occupied, multitenant, or multiple-building campus projects. It is a whole-building rating system; individual tenant spaces aren’t eligible.


The prescriptive and performance strategies of LEED for Existing Buildings are intended to provide operational benefits throughout the life of the building. If these strategies are continued, a building can maintain and even improve its performance over time. 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.


The LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance Recertification Guidance provides clear direction for Existing Buildings projects that are ready to recertify.


Ø         LEED for Core & Shell

We recognize the unique nature of the speculative development market, where project teams don’t control all aspects of the entire building’s design and construction. Depending on how a project is structured, a developer's influence can vary significantly from project to project. LEED for Core & Shell acknowledges this and can be adapted to a variety of project types.


LEED for Core & Shell can be used for projects where the developer controls the design and construction of the entire core and shell base building (e.g., mechanical, electrical, plumbing, and fire protection systems) but has no control over the design and construction of the tenant fit-out. Projects could include a commercial or medical office building, retail center, warehouse, or lab facility.


After registering a project under LEED for Core & Shell, the project team can apply for precertification. Precertification is a formal recognition given to a candidate project that has established a goal to develop a LEED for Core & Shell building. Developers or owners of these projects can then market the building's proposed green features to potential tenants and financiers.

Because of the nature of the core and shell project type and scope, the LEED for Core & Shell rating system has some unique aspects.

·           Default occupancy counts: Guidance is provided for Core & Shell projects, which typically do not know what the actual building occupancy, for how for determining FTE and transient occupants.

·           Energy modeling guidelines: Guidance on how to model building systems that are beyond the developer’s scope of work is provided.

It is designed to be complementary to LEED for Commercial Interiors and LEED for Retail: Commercial Interiors.



Ø         LEED for Commercial Interiors


LEED for Commercial Interiors is the green benchmark for the tenant improvement market.


LEED for Commercial Interiors 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. Making these choices during tenant improvements and interior renovations can dramatically affect the indoor environment.


This rating system was developed specifically for tenants in commercial and institutional buildings who lease their space or don’t occupy the entire building.


LEED for Commercial Interiors was designed to work hand-in-hand with the LEED for Core & Shell rating system, used by developers to certify the core and shell of a project and prepare the building for environmentally conscious tenants.


Ø         LEED for Retail

LEED for Retail is designed to guide and distinguish high-performance retail projects, including banks, restaurants, apparel, electronics, big box and everything in between.

LEED for Retail recognizes the unique nature of the retail environment and addresses the different types of spaces retailers need for their product lines. Compared with other commercial buildings, retail has different occupancy characteristics and hours of operation, different parking and transportation considerations, and different process water and energy consumption. Retail projects also may be part of a larger multi-tenant retail complex, where certain issues are addressed at the site level rather than by the project itself.


LEED for Retail provides two options for projects seeking certification:

·       New Construction & Major Renovations

Addresses specifics for the construction or major renovation of a retail building. A major renovation includes major HVAC improvements, significant envelope modifications and major interior rehabilitation.

·       Commercial Interiors

Addresses the specifics of tenant spaces where a retailer is retrofitting an existing building, and the shell of the building is outside of the tenant’s control. Individual tenants may seek LEED for Retail: Commercial Interiors certification for their spaces whether the rest of the building is LEED-certified or not. Works hand-in-hand with LEED for Core & Shell.


Ø         LEED for Homes

LEED for Homes is the right fit for residential projects

·       Savings: A LEED home is designed to save energy, water, and therefore money.

·       Health: A LEED home has been built to provide a healthy environment for families.

·       Value: Data has shown that green and efficient buildings often sell for more, and in less time, than non-green buildings.

"Yahoo! Study: American Dream Homes Turn Green." Yahoo! Real Estate, 2011

·       Trusted: A LEED home is performance tested and green measures are third-party verified

LEED for Homes is a voluntary rating system for single and multifamily, affordable and market rate housing projects.

LEED for Homes promotes the design and construction of high-performance homes – energy efficient, resource efficient, and healthy for occupants. A home that achieves LEED certification has been designed to maximize fresh air indoors, minimizing exposure to airborne toxins and pollutants. It also has the potential to use 20-30% less energy—and some up to 60% less—than a home built to code. And less energy use means lower utility bills every month.


LEED certification recognizes and celebrates leadership in green homebuilding, and allows a builder to clearly differentiate their work. For the homebuyer, LEED is like the nutrition label that demonstrates in measurable terms that a home incorporates efficient techniques and features, and that the final product has been third party-verified and performance tested.


Builders interested in pursuing LEED for Homes certification begin the process by contacting a LEED for Homes Green Rater. Green Raters are local experts who conduct the on-site project verification services required for certification.


Ø         LEED for Neighborhood Development

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

Whole neighborhoods, portions of neighborhoods, multiple neighborhoods—there is no minimum or maximum size for a LEED for Neighborhood Development project.

Thoughtful neighborhood planning can limit the need for automobiles and their greenhouse gas emissions. Mixed-use development and pedestrian-friendly streets encourage walking, bicycling and public transportation. Green buildings and infrastructure also lessen negative consequences for water resources, air quality and natural resource consumption.


The character of a neighborhood, including its streets, homes, workplaces, shops and public spaces, affects quality of life. Green developments respect historic resources and the existing community fabric. They preserve open space and encourage access to parks.


Combine the substantial environmental and social benefits, and the case for green neighborhoods makes itself.


Ø         LEED for Schools

LEED for Schools is the recognized third-party standard for high performance schools that are healthy for students, comfortable for teachers, and cost-effective.

The LEED for Schools rating system was developed to address the design and construction of K-12 schools. Based on LEED for New Construction, it focuses on classroom acoustics, master planning, mold prevention, environmental site assessment and other issues important to these buildings. LEED for Schools provides a comprehensive tool for schools that wish to build green with measurable results by recognizing the uniqueness of school spaces and their occupants.


All projects involving a full building dedicated to K-12 instruction must use either LEED for Schools or LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance. Other projects (university educational buildings, K-12 athletic facilities, or interpretive centers) may choose to use LEED for Schools if they wish.


Ø         LEED for Healthcare

First, do no harm. The goal of the LEED for Healthcare rating system is to help you design, build and operate, high-performance healing environments.

The needs of healthcare facilities are very unique. Healthcare buildings often have strict regulatory requirements, 24/7 operations, and specific programmatic demands are not covered in LEED for New Construction. The LEED for Healthcare rating system acknowledges these differences by both modifying existing credits and creating new, healthcare-specific credits. The goal is to help promote healthful, durable, affordable, and environmentally sound practices in these projects.


LEED for Healthcare is geared towards inpatient and outpatient care facilities and licensed long term care facilities. It can also be used for medical offices, assisted living facilities and medical education and research centers.


Projects that meet certain criteria are required to use LEED for Healthcare. These include licensed and federal inpatient and outpatient care facilities and licensed long term care facilities.


1.3 LEED Process

LEED certification involves five primary steps:

1.         Choose which rating system to use. Keep in mind, some projects clearly fit the defined scope of one LEED rating system; others may be eligible for two or more.

2.         Register. The LEED process begins with registration. Once registration forms are submitted and payment is complete, your project will be accessible in LEED Online.

3.         Submit your certification application and pay a certification review fee. Fees differ with project type and size.

4.         Review. Await the application review. Review processes differ slightly for each project type.

5.         Certify. Receive the certification decision, which you can either accept or appeal. An affirmative decision signifies that your building is now LEED certified.