In order for a building to earn LEED Certification, it must meet certain criteria and goals within the following categories:
- Location and Transportation: How close is the project to mass transit?
- Materials and Resources: Will the project use locally sourced, sustainable products?
- Water Efficiency: To what extent will the project reduce potable water usage?
- Energy and Atmosphere: How will the project improve energy performance and indoor air quality?
- Sustainable Site: To what extent will the project utilize nearby natural resources and ecosystems that can naturally take part of the design, minimizing environmental pollution?
- Regional Priority Credits: This addresses particular concerns based on project location
- Innovation: Any idea that is not covered under the main LEED areas
Each of these respective categories contains a series of opportunities to earn credits. The project earns points when it uses and integrates these opportunities. The more points the project earns, the more sustainable is the building. Depending on the number of points gained, the project can then earn certification as a certified building or as a silver, gold or platinum building.
Benefits of a LEED Certified building are many:
- Reduced use of energy and water
- Reduced operation and maintenance costs
- Reduced construction waste during the construction process
- Increased indoor air quality
- Usage of recycled materials
- Increased employee performance, satisfaction and retention
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