LEED is a program created by the U.S. Green Building Council which is intended to provide a framework to judge the level of sustainability of building design and operation. The rating system is based on five categories which include Sustainable Sites (SS), Water Efficiency (WE), Energy and Atmosphere (EA),
Materials and Resources (MR) and Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) with a bonus Innovation in Design (ID) category that rewards creative solutions. Each of these categories rewards points which are added up to determine the LEED certification level: Certified 40–49 points, Silver 50–59 points, Gold 60–79 points, Platinum 80 points and above.
A LEED AP (Accredited Professional) with designation (BD+C, ID+C, Homes, O+M, or ND) designates someone who has achieved their credentials in a specialized area of LEED Certification. For instance, a LEED AP BD+C designates a specialty in commercial, institutional, and high rise residential types of LEED projects and is the most common designation sought after by architects. All LEED APs are familiar with the certification process and can aid in the certification of any building type. Anyone can be a LEED AP as long as they meet current examination requirements, pass the LEED AP exams for their chosen designation, and maintain their credentials through continuing education.
The program is divided into different divisions which currently include: Homes, Commercial Interiors, Core & Shell, New Construction, Schools, Health Care, Retail Neighborhood Development, and Existing Buildings. In Architecture, we deal with all areas of LEED including helping to make decisions that will later affect achieving Existing Buildings operations credits.
If you would like to learn more about LEED you can visit the USGBC website.
What is the benefit of having a LEED certified building?
LEED certification allows building owners and their occupants to demonstrate to clients, family, and friends that sustainability is a high priority and that your building is truly green rather than simply green-washed. Green building is favorable to your bottom line by lowering operations costs and expenses through energy efficiency and healthier employees. Many business owners find that LEED certification also serves as a marketing tool that can be used in reaching out to new customers and maintaining existing clients.
You don’t have to go for LEED in order to go green. There are other ratings options such as those offered by Energy Star or you can choose to simply opt for a green design without official recognition. At Rittiluechai Architecture, PC we are always looking for solutions to include sustainable materials in all projects without added costs. We would be happy to help you make your next project just a little bit greener or take it all the way through the LEED process.