The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System encourages and accelerates global adoption of sustainable green building and development practices through the creation and implementation of universally understood and accepted tools and performance criteria.
LEED is a third-party certification program and an internationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. It provides building owners and operators the tools they need to have an immediate and measurable impact on their buildings’ performance.
LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health:
- sustainable site development
- water efficiency
- energy efficiency
- materials selection
- indoor environmental quality
Credits and Prerequisites are organized into these five categories. An additional category, focusing on innovation, addresses sustainable building expertise, exemplary performance, and design (or operational) measures not covered under these five environmental categories.
Certain rating systems include additional relevant categories. LEED Canada for Homes, for instance, includes a Location and Linkages category and an Awareness and Education category.
Certification is based on the total point score achieved, following an independent review. With four possible levels of certification (certified, silver, gold and platinum), LEED is flexible enough to accommodate a wide range of green building strategies that best fit the constraints and goals of particular projects.
The Canadian rating systems are an adaptation of the US Green Building Council’s (USGBC) LEED Green Building Rating System, tailored specifically for Canadian climates, construction practices and regulations. The rating systems are adapted to the Canadian market through an inclusive process that engages stakeholders and experts representing the various sectors of the Canadian industry.