What LEED Accreditation Means to Sustainable Building

tinkham leed sustainable buildingLEED Accreditation is an important standard for any building professional who is committed to sustainable design, architecture and construction. But first, what exactly does LEED stand for?

LEED is an acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, a certification program that is based on a points system, with a primary focus on new, commercial building projects. The more points earned in the program, the higher the LEED rating given. This certification program is provided by the USGBC, (The U.S. Green Building Council,) a not-for-profit, non-governmental, membership-based organization.

The LEED program is an objective method of measuring how environmentally-friendly, (or “green”,) a building is, in several primary areas:

  • impact on site/surroundings
  • water efficiency
  • energy efficiency
  • selection of building materials
  • indoor environmental quality

Designers, contractors, consultants and manufacturers seek LEED Accreditation through voluntary inclusion in the LEED Certification program, to learn sustainable building practices and commit to implementing these across all phases of development.

There are 2 types of green building professional credentials:

  1. LEED Green Associate – For professionals who demonstrate a solid understanding of green building principles and practices, and who want to exhibit green building expertise in non-technical fields of practice.
  2. LEED AP – For professionals who demonstrate advanced knowledge in specialized areas of green building and LEED certification.

A LEED credential not only validates professional credibility, it also demonstrates a commitment to staying abreast of the latest sustainability information. Through required ongoing education, professionals with LEED Accreditation are kept up to date with the most current knowledge available. This ensures that hiring green designers, architects, developers, manufacturers and consultants will bring the best talent and industry expertise to green building project(s).

Unlike LEED professionals, buildings become LEED certified through the completion of registration and documentation requirements, then receipt of official certification from the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI). You will sometimes see a plaque displayed on LEED Certified buildings, demonstrating that development of the site has satisfied LEED standards for green objectives.

This translates to energy- and resource-efficient buildings; (healthier and more productive homes, businesses and gathering spaces,) and savings from increased building values, higher lease rates and decreased utility costs.

Why is it important to hire building professionals with LEED Accreditation?

In a nutshell, hiring those who are committed to green design, architecture and construction enables us to effectively take part in preserving the environment for our planet, (thus ensuring the best possible quality of life for current and future inhabitants,) while enjoying the resulting overall cost savings.

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