The goals of the U.S. Green Building Council's (USGBC) LEED certification process are to improve the environmental performance and economic returns of buildings, while also improving and protecting the health of occupants. Buildings are LEED-certified if they can be shown to attain at least 26 points (out of a possible 69). The certification awards system is further refined into three categories: Silver (33-38 points), Gold (39-51 points) and Platinum (52 points or more).
The LEED rating system for new construction and major renovations (LEED-NC) is divided into five categories, each with numerous credits to acknowledge sustainable building practices, plus a sixth category to recognize pioneering designs that exceed the LEED credit requirements or that address sustainable issues not covered by the rating system. The categories are as follows:
- Sustainable Sites (14 available points)BR>
- Water Efficiency (five available points)BR>
- Energy and Atmosphere (17 available points)BR>
- Materials and Resources (13 available points)BR>
- Indoor Environmental Quality (15 available points)BR>
- Innovation and Design Process (five available points)
To learn more about the LEED system and the certification process, visit the USGBC's Web site at www.usgbc.org. The council offers several local and regional workshops on the rating system throughout the year.
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