Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED provides building owners and operators a concise framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions. LEED is a third-party certification program and the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings. LEED gives 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 savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality. LEED is an internationally recognized green building certification system, providing third-party verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving performance across all the metrics that matter most: energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts. LEED is flexible enough to apply to all building types - commercial as well as residential. It works throughout the building lifecycle - design and construction, operations and maintenance, tenant finish out, and significant retrofit.

LEED-certified buildings are designed to:

Lower operating costs and increase asset value.

Reduce waste sent to landfills.

Conserve energy and water.

Be healthier and safer for occupants.

Reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions.

Qualify for tax rebates, zoning allowances and other incentives in hundreds of cities.

Demonstrate an owner's commitment to environmental stewardship and social responsibility.

LEED projects are rated by points and are awarded on a 100-point scale, and credits are weighted to reflect their potential environmental impacts. Additionally, 10 bonus credits are available, four of which address regionally specific environmental issues. A project must satisfy all prerequisites and earn a minimum number of points to be certified:

Certified= 40 - 49 points

Silver=50 - 59 points

Gold= 60 - 79 points

Platinum= 80 to 110 points.

The Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) assumes administration of LEED certification for all commercial and institutional projects registered under any LEED Rating System.

USGBC, Copyright © 2010 U.S. Green Building Council. All Rights Reserved. USGBC, U.S. Green Building Council® and LEED® are registered trademarks of the U.S. Green Building Council.