LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a voluntary certification system, standardized and internationally recognized, designed to measure the sustainability of buildings and communities.
The certificate has been developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, and keeps evolving. Its aims are:
“Transform the way buildings and communities are designed, built and managed, to create healthy environments, social and environmentally responsible, thus improving the quality of life”
The LEED rating system measures environmental and health impact levels inside buildings, both new construction and renovations. To do this, it follows a structure based on the following five main categories:
- SUSTAINABLE SITES (SS): promotes strategies to minimize the impact on ecosystems and water resources.
- WATER EFFICIENCY (WE): promotes intelligent use of water (supply and disposal) to reduce the consumption of it.
- ENERGY AND ATMOSPHERE (EA): promotes better energy performance of the building and the use of innovative strategies, such as the integration of renewable energies.
- MATERIALS AND RESOURCES (MR): promotes the use of sustainable building materials and practices to reduce construction waste.
- INDOOR ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY (IEQ): promotes better indoor air quality, maximizing the use of natural light and providing direct view to the outside of the occupants.
Compliance with the different requirements and conditions detailed within the above categories give points to the building, up to a maximum of 100 points. It takes a minimum of 40 points to get the LEED certification. By getting from 50 to 59 points LEED Silver certification would be awarded. If 60 to 79 points are achieved, LEED Gold certification would be awarded. And by getting more than 80 points, the building would be LEED Platinum.
More than 125,000 projects in 91 countries around the world had already achieved its LEED certification by 2011. And these figures keep rising.