What is a LEED Building?


When constructing a new building, architects hope to create something that’s both functional and an aesthetic addition to the existing landscape. But more than ever, designers are focused on creating eco-friendlier buildings as well, with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification being a top priority.

Continue reading to find out what a LEED building is and why using sustainable building materials is so important.

Definition of a LEED Building

The United States Green Building Council (USGBC) created LEED as a rating system to evaluate how green friendly a building is. The rating system is also used to help shift the design world toward more sustainable trends.

Buildings earn credits for each environmentally friendly component during the construction phase or thereafter. For example, buildings that have a plan in place for waste management during construction earn credits, or points. If there was no plan, the building would miss out on those credits.

In total, your building will need at least 40 credits to earn LEED certification. However, there are several certification levels available—silver, gold, and platinum—and each designation requires a different number of credits to qualify.

LEED Certification Levels

  • 40-49 Credits = Minimum for certification
  • 50-59 Credits = Silver
  • 60-79 Credits = Gold
  • 80-110 Credits = Platinum

Importance of Sustainable Building Materials

A green building, built through sustainable design, focuses on the efficient use of energy and materials. Reducing the impact that a building has on the environment by conserving water and energy is essential for an eco-friendly building to be successful. The concept of sustainable building design is important because your building can leave a long-lasting impact on the surrounding environment.

In the US, buildings account for nearly 40% of all energy use and almost 70% of electricity consumption.

To limit the negative impact that buildings can have on the environment, sustainable design strives to reduce operating costs and improve occupant productivity by limiting waste and reducing consumption.

The benefits of green building design range from improved air and water quality to protecting local ecosystems, so it’s obvious why many architects favor sustainable building designs.

Getting Ready for LEED Certification

To help your building earn LEED certification, you first must know what the criteria are for scoring. You can find the current LEED scorecard online. Although your building will be required to meet certain categories to be considered for certification, the rest of the categories in which you can score points is completely up to you.

Keep in mind, though, that the more points you accrue, the higher level of certification you can achieve.

Another important part of earning LEED certification is choosing the right materials. Using sustainable building materials, like HDPE plastic, during the construction phase will add points to your overall LEED score.