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September 13, 2022

LEED for Buildings

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LEED for Buildings

LEED certification can be used for new construction and existing buildings. LEED for buildings provides four different LEED rating systems that help to support the sustainability of the building throughout the life cycle. Several benefits come along with building a certified LEED building.

What is LEED? 

LEED offers a framework for efficient, healthy, cost-saving, and carbon green buildings. Certified LEED Building is recognized throughout the world as a sustainable achievement. It’s a voluntary program providing a way to meet specific sustainability goals.  LEED standards are maintained by the USGBC or U.S. Green Building Council. While LEED is voluntary, in some areas, some LEED certification requirements are mandated for public buildings. In others areas, incentives are offered for private buildings.

Four LEED For Buildings Rating Systems


1. LEED for Building Design and Construction (LEED BD+C)

Used for new construction projects and major renovation, LEED BD+C works for a variety of buildings. This LEED for buildings rating system can be used for schools, retail buildings, distribution centers, warehouses, hospitality buildings, healthcare buildings, data centers, and more.   

2. LEED for Interior Design and Construction (LEED ID+C) 

A LEED rating system primarily used for interior spaces considered to be a complete interior fit-out, LEED ID+C requires at least 60% of the gross floor space to be completed by certification time. It’s commonly used for commercial space interiors, retail interior spaces, and hospitality interior spaces.  

3. LEED for Building Operations and Maintenance (LEED O+M)

A LEED rating system used for buildings and spaces, the LEED for Building Operations and Maintenance is used for existing buildings and existing interiors.   

4. LEED for Residential BD+C

This LEED rating system takes a very similar approach as the LEED BD+C, but instead of focusing on commercial buildings, its focus is on residential buildings. It addresses both new construction and major renovations where at least 60% of the gross floor area is completed for the certification. This LEED for buildings rating system is used for single-family homes, multi-family homes, and multifamily homes core and shell.  More details on the LEED for buildings rating systems and selection guidance can be found on the USGBC website.

5 Main Benefits of LEED for Buildings Certification

1. Cost Savings

Of course, the main benefit of any LEED for buildings rating system is the cost savings. Since the features will utilize less energy, the building won’t require the same expense to run. Typically, certified LEED buildings will use between 30% and 60% less energy through LED lighting, energy-efficient HVAC, and Energy Star appliances.

2. Healthier Environment

When you gain LEED certification, your building will provide a healthier environment throughout. You will have better indoor air quality. The EPA estimates that indoor air is polluted by about two to ten times as much as outdoor air. However, with LEED-certified buildings, there are fewer airborne pollutants and less mildew and mold within the building. This can lead to healthier and happier tenants or employees.

3. Better Resale Value

You can gain better resale value when you meet the LEED certification requirements. Of course, this can be different based on the levels of LEED certification. The higher the level, the better your resale value will likely be in some areas. A survey showed that LEED certification in California led to a higher selling price by about 9% from 2007 to 2012. Commercial buildings and multi-family rental properties can gain as much as 20% in resale value with LEED for buildings.

4. More Environmentally-Friendly

Of course, LEED certification means your building will be more environmentally-friendly. It will use less energy or even produce energy from renewable sources. Often, water consumption is also reduced. In some cases, certified LEED buildings will have a strong recycling and waste reduction program. 

5. Ability to Recruit Workers Better

With commercial LEED-certified buildings, you might be able to recruit workers easier. Some workers have shown that they will work for a smaller salary if the company is more sustainable. This can also go for tenants. Some prefer to live in a certified LEED building compared to one that isn’t as environmentally friendly.

How to Use LEED for Buildings

The process of meeting the LEED certification requirements isn’t easy, but it can be worth it. You will want to go through the entire process from registering with the USGBC to completing the orientation. There is a registrant fee and you will need to submit the necessary LEED documentation.  Once your LEED documentation has been received, you will participate in a review process. After meeting the necessary requirements, you can take part in the ongoing audits. The USGBC website will guide you through the entire process based on the different levels of LEED certification.  It’s also possible to get help from a professional that has been involved in LEED for buildings on other projects. With the help of a professional, you will gain a better understanding of LEED scoring and what it takes to meet the necessary LEED standards.

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