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September 13, 2022

LEED Certification Requirements

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LEED Certification Requirements

Understanding the LEED certification requirements is vital when working on a LEED building project. There are more than 100 green building strategies you can use to help gain points within the LEED rating system. If you want to earn a LEED certification, understanding the requirement is paramount. If you’re just getting started, you might be looking into LEED accreditation, not LEED certification. This is where you will likely need to start. 

What are the LEED certification requirements? 

When looking at the LEED certification requirements, you will notice there are several different categories, which include:
  • Integrative Process
  • Location & Transportation
  • Sustainable Sites
  • Water Efficiency
  • Energy & Atmosphere
  • Materials & Resources
  • Indoor Environmental Quality
Each category comes with goals or strategies that have assigned credits. When you earn credit, it gives you a specific number of points. The points you gain will determine our LEED certification level, which can be Certified, Silver, Gold, or Platinum. 

How to Meet the LEED Certification Requirements

Before you set off to achieve a certified LEED building, you want to figure out the LEED certification level you are targeting. The LEED rating system tool from the USGBC can help you determine the level you want to gain.  After you choose the level for you, it’s important to use the right LEED rating system. The USGBC offers guidance on the LEED rating system you should use to guide you. Once you have a LEED rating system in place, you can start your LEED project. You will need to register your project with the USGBC and pay the flat certification fee, along with the registration fee to start your LEED certification. The fee you will pay will range from $900 to $5,000. It will be determined by the size of your project, along with the LEED certification goal you have set for the project. Throughout the project, you will submit LEED documentation and data on credits. Once the review has been completed by the USGBC’s Green Building Certification Institute, you will find out which LEED certification requirements you have met and the level you have gained. This process will likely take between 20 and 25 business days to complete.

What are the Minimum LEED Certification Requirements?

Any LEED building project you take on will have to meet the minimum program requirements to apply for LEED certification. These requirements are defined based on the type of building that LEED will evaluate. There are three main goals achieved by the minimum requirements, which are:
  • Provide a clear guidance
  • Reduce complications that happen throughout the LEED certification process
  • Helps to protect the LEED program’s integrity
The most recent LEED rating system shows the following minimum requirements:
  • Must be on Existing Land in a Permanent Location – All LEED building projects have to be constructed and operated on existing land and a permanent location. Projects cannot be designed to be moved.
  • Must use Reasonable LEED Boundaries – It’s necessary for the LEED project boundary to include all land associated with the project. This may include hardscapes, landscaping, stormwater treatment equipment, or septic treatment equipment.
  • Must follow the project size requirements – LEED certification requirements include a minimum size requirement, which varies based on the project.
Before you can apply for LEED certification, these minimum program requirements will need to be met.

What will it Cost Me to Apply for LEED Certification?

The cost to meet the LEED certification requirements starts with a pre-certification and registration fee. The actual certification fees depend on whether you’re getting certified in Construction, Design, or both. Currently, the rate ranges from $0.0014 to $0.0057 per square foot.  the registration fee will be either $1,200 or $1,500. There is also a precertification fee, which will have a flat fee per building of $4,000 or $5,000 and can also include an expedited review fee. The combined certification review fee will vary, based on the size of the project. If you end up appealing credits, you will also pay a fee for the appeal. A full list of the fees to meet LEED certification Requirements can be found here. If you want to meet the LEED certification requirements for your building project, you want to make sure you understand the LEED rating system and the LEED categories. There are LEED checklists that can help you with the process. It’s also possible to hire someone with LEED accreditation or earn it yourself through the right courses and exams. 

Becoming LEED Accredited

If you want to gain a deeper understanding of the LEED certification requirements, you can become LEED accredited. This is a process of learning how to help others make their buildings more sustainable and more environmentally friendly.  There are two LEED exams you can take to earn LEED accreditation. This accreditation will be good for two years. If you become a LEED Green Associate, you will need 15 continuing education hours every two years to remain accredited. LEED APs will need 30 hours of continuing education every two years. Both accreditations will give you a deeper understanding of the LEED certification requirements.

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