The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) Green Building Rating System encourages worldwide adoption of sustainable green building and development practices. The program’s intention is to create and implement universally understood and accepted green tools and performance standards.
Originally developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED® provides building owners and operators a concise framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions.
LEED® is both a certification program and an internationally recognized benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings, providing building owners and operators tools they can use to have an immediate and measurable impact on green performance.
Five key performance areas of human and environmental health are recognized in LEED®’s whole-building approach to sustainability:
- Sustainable site development
- Water efficiency
- Energy efficiency
- Selection of materials
- Indoor environmental quality An additional category of innovation and design addresses sustainable building expertise and aspects of the design process not covered by the above five environmental categories.
LEED® Certification distinguishes building projects that have demonstrated a commitment to sustainability by meeting the highest performance standards. Following an independent review and audit, certification is awarded based on a total point score of LEED® Credits achieved in the rating.
Four levels of certification Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum are possible based on each particular project’s goals and constraints.
The Canadian rating systems are tailored specifically for Canadian climates, construction practices, and regulations, and are developed through an inclusive process engaging experts and stakeholders that represent the various sectors of the Canadian industry.
Growing numbers of private sector organizations and governments are adopting LEED® certification in their policies and operations. Here are some of the reasons why:
- To gain recognition for green building efforts
- To validate achievement through third party review
- To qualify for a growing array of government incentives
- To contribute to a growing green building knowledge base
Today, LEED® consists of nine rating systems with five overarching categories for the design, construction and operation of buildings, homes and neighborhoods. Currently the list consists of:
Green Building Design & Construction
- LEED® for New Construction and Major Renovations (LEED-NC)
- LEED® for Core & Shell Development (LEED-CS)
- LEED® for Schools (no short form)
- LEED® for Retail New Construction (LEED for Retail-NC, planned 2010)
Green Interior Design & Construction
- LEED® for Commercial Interiors (LEED®-CI)
- LEED® for Retail Interiors (LEED® for Retail-CI, planned 2010)
Green Building Operations & Maintenance
- LEED® for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance (LEED-EBOM)
Green Neighbourhood Development
- LEED® for Neighbourhood Development (LEED-ND)
Green Home Design and Construction
- LEED® for Homes (no short form)
In 2003, the Canada Green Building Council received permission to create its own version of LEED® for New Construction, now called LEED® Canada-NC v1.0, which was based upon LEED-NC 2.0.