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Meticulously well-planned design procedure for green buildings!

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design or popularly known as LEED, has taken the construction and design world by storm! The versatility of the LEED rating system makes it a highly sought-after tool for all types of green building, economic construction, and design. With “environmental design” trending, everyone in the construction and design field wants to have a LEED Certification. In this blog, we will discuss in brief how you can get your project LEED certified and the benefits of having a LEED rating.

What is LEED?


What is LEED? LEED is a rating system that is used for all green building processes. In simple words, LEED is a rating system that consists of many standard requirements that need to be followed for sustainable green building design. LEED rating system is utilized not only for new construction but for older existing buildings.

What is the LEED Credit Categories?

LEED Credit categories
To understand LEED rating, let us first examine a simple example. In a quiz, you are awarded positive points when you give the right answer. In the very same way, LEED has a set of “prerequisites” and when they are followed your building gets awarded with points. The points or credits are awarded as per the LEED credit categories. The Categories as mentioned in the USGBC for LEED Credits are –

1. Sustainable Sites –

To have a sustainable site credit for the LEED certification,  you must ensure not only good indoor environmental quality but also a healthy relationship between the LEED-certified buildings and the local existing context.

2. Water Efficiency –

For efficient water usage, ensure the right indoor, outdoor and specialized use for the LEED certification. Water is a very important resource that must be used consciously.

3. Energy and Atmosphere –

It is important to adopt energy-saving design practices for the LEED certification process. This not will ensure good indoor environmental quality but renewable energy resources.

4. Materials and Resources –

For materials and resources under the LEED certification, you must take care of the energy and environmental design utilized to extract, transport, utilize, and finally dispose of the materials.

5. Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) –

IEQ is a very important factor for the LEED certification process, it helps in the thermal comfort of the occupants and aids in their overall well-being.

6. Innovation in Design –

It is very important to keep updating the design with the new innovations coming into the market. This will help the green building construction be efficient and aid in the LEED certification.

Ranking System –

LEED Ranking system
For the above LEED credit categories, you will be awarded credit points. As per the LEED ranking system, there are in total of 4 levels for the LEED Certification and they are –

1. LEED Certified –

40-49 points

2. LEED Bronze –

50-59 points

3. LEED Silver –

60-69 points

4. LEED Gold –

70-79 points

5. LEED Platinum –

80+ points

LEED Rating System for Different Project Types –

LEED Rating for different projects

The LEED Rating system to available and open not just for construction but for other project types like –1. LEED For Building Design and Construction –

This is the reference section for buildings that will be newly constructed or older buildings that are undergoing a huge renovation process.

2. LEED For Interior Design and Construction –

This is the reference section is dedicated to the design of indoor spaces and not the whole building.

3. LEED For Building Operations and Maintenance –

This is the reference section lists all the detailed steps to take for the smooth functioning of a building that has been occupied and operating for a minimum of 1 year.

4. LEED For Neighborhood Development –

This is the reference section is for larger-scale development benefitting local communities with good urban design, green building, and sustainable expansion.

LEED For Building Design and Construction –

LEED v4 Reference guide
In this blog, we will focus primarily on the LEED For Building Design and Construction section. To understand the design guideline for the construction of your project, you will have to make use of the LEED Reference Guide for Building Design and Construction, version v4. The guide may appear daunting with its vast pages of information at first glance. Hence to simplify it and to understand how to use the guide better, here is a brief description of what you will find within the guide-

(Please note that BD+C is also known as Building Design + Construction)

1. LEED BD+C: New Construction

2. LEED BD +C: Core and Shell

3. LEED BD+C: Schools

4. LEED BD+C: Retail

5. LEED BD+C: Healthcare

6. LEED BD+C: Data Centers

7. LEED BD+C: Hospitality

8. LEED BD+C: Warehouses and Distribution Centers

How to Certify your Project?

Stages in the LEED Certification process

To get LEED Certification, firstly the project must integrate the LEED Guidelines from above into the design process. The client will have to approach an architect who has a LEED AP to design the project. The architect must then direct the contractor to perform all civil, MEP, structural, interior, and landscape tasks, as per the design guidelines for LEED Building and Construction. The certification process is well planned and methodical. The whole certification process has 4 main stages, which are –

1. Feasibility stage –

The feasibility stage will include all the LEED pre-assessment and registration of the project.

2. Design Stage –

The design stage will include the pre-certification, design documentation submission, and the design review by GBCI.

3. Construction Stage –

During the construction stage, construction documentation is submitted and there will be a construction review by the GBCI.

4. Post-Construction stage –

Finally, the last stage of post-construction will involve the credit appeal and the final certification.

Benefits of having a LEED Certified Project –

Example of  LEED Certified project

1. Reduction in solid wastes, water usage, CO2 emission, and energy use.

2. Healthy and safe indoor environment for the occupants of the building.

3. Conservation of natural resources.

4. Economical project estimates.

5. Protection and enhancement of the local contextual environment.

Conclusion –

To summarize, getting a LEED Certification is not a difficult task! LEED Certification for green building construction and design is a very detailed procedure. All you need is to follow the reference guide and perform each standard accurately. The time for the LEED Certification can take over a month but the benefits will last lifelong.  The world of LEED is filled with enthusiastic LEED professionals whom you can approach if you find yourself in a fix! Once you are awarded LEED Certification, not only will your client enjoy the benefits but it is a proud achievement for you as an architect as well!  LEED certification is an excellent step in the direction of Green building for safer and healthier communities.

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