Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)

System name

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design

System initiator and operator(s)

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) system has been developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), a non-profit organization established 
in 1993 and based in Washington D.C. The USGBC is a member of the World Green Building Council. This Council is a network of national green building councils in more than ninety countries.

The USGBC manages a network of 77 local chapters within the US. Chapters raise awareness of LEED and green building practice through education, outreach and advocacy.

The Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) administers the LEED certification program. The GBCI is a third-party organisation that works exclusively with the USGBC. It provides independent oversight of professional credentialing and project certification programs.

Assessment categories

Sustainable Sites, Water, Energy, Health and Wellbeing (Indoor Environmental Quality), Material, Innovation, Regional Priority


LEED is based on US standards, including ASHRAE, ASTM, ANSI. There is no tailoring for countries that have chosen different standards.

LEED identifies regionally specific environmental issues by tapping the expertise of the regional councils, chapters and affiliates. Regional priority credits address regional environmental issues for buildings in different geographic regions. Four bonus points are available in this category for strategies that address regional priority credits.


LEED certification is based on a point system (maximum of 100 points). Depending on the number of point achieved, the following levels of distinction may be achieved:

  • Certified: 40-49 points
  • Silver: 50-59 points
  • Gold: 60-79 points
  • Platinum: 80+ points


Achieving LEED certification requires working with a LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP). At least one principal participant of the project team must be a LEED Accredited Professional. This AP has a certain advanced knowledge in green building as well as expertise in a particular LEED rating system.

To achieve certification a few steps need to be followed:

  1. Projects need to be registered. Project registration, project data submission and project review is handled on LEED Online, USGBC’s web-based service.
  2. Beyond registration, the certification process for design teams is typically made up of two consecutive applications: one including design credits, and one including construction credits. All of the LEED credits in each rating system are assigned to either the design application or the construction application.
    • The design credits include those that are the purview of the architect and the engineer, and are documented in the official construction drawings.
    • The construction credits include those that are predominantly under the purview of the contractor, and are documented during the construction and commissioning of the building.

Quality assurance

Quality assurance is handled by the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI). GBCI performs the technical reviews and verification of all LEED-registered projects to determine if they have met the standards set forth by the LEED rating system. It also manages the training and accreditation of LEED Accredited Professionals. Finally, the GBCI administers the LEED Quality Assessment and certification award process.

Further information

USGBC: http://www.usgbc.org/

GBCI: http://www.gbci.org/