Leed® founded in 1993 stands for leadership in energy and environmental design. Leed is a voluntary program and is administered through United States green building council (USGBC). USGBC is an international nonprofit that offers various types of green rating systems for all types of structures, including schools and hospitals internationally. One rating is specifically designed and targeted for green neighborhood certification. Points can be awarded for smart location, transit orientated development (TOD), close to or adjacent to mass transit systems, discouraging urban sprawl, designing and constructing a walkable neighborhood, with a high walkscore constructing green infrastructure, sustainable green energy efficient buildings.
Leed certification process awards points and has four (4) different levels that can be achieved. A Leed committee continues to implement continuous rigorous upgrades over the years. New standards are usually posted for public comment. Leed platinum is the highest and most stringent level to achieve.
leed certified 45-59 points
leed silver 60-74 points
leed gold 75-90 points
leed platinum 90-136 points
Points can be achieved by not focusing on energy efficiency but selected categories, such as water consumption, indoor air quality, green building materials, an emphasis placed upon connectivity and proximately to public transportation, transit orientated development (TOD).
The USGBC continues to make improvements and upgrades to obtain LEED green certification. Recent introduction of ARCa new performance platform for neighborhoods communities and cities, has been released in 2016. ARC places a performance score from one to 100 based upon global building data, across five major categories. The ARC platform is designed to deliver real time analytic scores for live metrics, benchmarking against industry peers at local and international levels. The new platform supports data sharing for comparison analysis.
The US government utilizes Leed as the certification tool for government buildings, however recently there has been a drop in government leed certification as certified wood sourcing has become a point of contention concerning leed certification. It is also noteworthy that over 60% of leed certification has occurred outside of the United States as the entire world is moving towards sustainability.
Leed requires 3rd party certification from a green rater which must be tested and certified by the USGBC. Leed also has a significant cost structure associated with its certification process. This added cost structure has alienated many of the nations potential green home builders.