A Quick Guide to LEED Certification

Since its creation in 1998, LEED has grown in popularity.  Many people have heard the term.  So, what is it exactly? Here’s a quick guide.

The LEED award on the outside of the MEarth building next to Carmel Middle School.  GraniteCrete paving material was used to create the patio in front of the building.

What is LEED?

LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a globally-recognized building certification system sponsored by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).  It “provides a framework for healthy, highly efficient, and cost-saving green buildings.”

How does LEED certification work?

The LEED certification program looks at building design and construction, as well as environmental factors such as responsible land use.  Points are awarded based on areas such as energy efficiency, water usage, air quality, and choice of building materials.

There are four levels of LEED certification, based on the total points earned:

How are points earned?

When a project is being developed, those involved in the process can choose relevant LEED certification credits to earn points.  The points system starts broad and funnels down to specific details:

  • Rating Systems categorize the building project
  • Credit Categories target systems in the building
  • Credits are the actual strategies to improve the building
  • Points are earned when a strategy is correctly implemented

The more points that are earned, the more sustainable the building is and the higher the certification.

How can LEED influence architects and contractors?

From the very beginning, those involved in the development and building process should carefully consider the design and building materials involved.  Some areas to consider are:

  • Use of regional and renewable materials
  • Construction waste management
  • Indoor air quality during construction

What are key benefits to certification?

Buildings with LEED certification have a host of benefits.  These buildings are designed to be resource-efficient, energy-efficient, and cost-effective.  They also support the local economy, have a greater resale value, and represent a commitment to sustainability.  A company involved in creating a LEED-certified building establishes itself as a company striving to shape the world into a greener place.

How can GraniteCrete contribute to a building’s LEED certification?

When GraniteCrete is used for walkways, patios, and small parking lots on a building project, it can contribute to earning points under the following LEED credits:

Sustainable Sites

Materials & Resources

  • Credit: Construction and Demolition Waste Management
  • Credit: Building Life-Cycle Impact Reduction
  • Credit: Building Product Disclosure and Optimization – Environmental Product Declarations