LEED Certification 

An Introduction to the
U.S. Green Building Council
LEED Green Building Certification
The U.S. Green Building Council is a national nonprofit organization based in Washington D.C. composed of the nation's foremost coalition of leaders from across the building industry working to promote buildings that are environmentally responsible, profitable and healthy places to live and work. The organization's purpose is to integrate building industry sectors, lead market transformation and to educate owners, practitioners and the general public about sustainable design. The USGBC certifies design professionals who have been trained in LEED sustainable design and have passed professional certification testing. Marilyn Miller Farmer is a LEED certified professional and heads the Habitat Studio Green Team.
This USGBC has developed the LEED Green Building Rating System which, in the last two years has become the national standard for measuring and evaluating 'green design'. This system awards points for a variety of measures in five important design categories - sustainable site planning, water quality and conservation, energy efficiency and renewable energy, conservation of materials and resources, and indoor air quality - and offers four levels of certification:

• LEED Certified
• Silver Level
• Gold Level
• Platinum Level
26 - 32 points
33 - 38 points
39 - 51 points
52 + points (69 possible)

LEED Certification recognizes quality buildings and rewards environmental stewardship. It also offers third party validation of achievement which qualifies for a growing array of state and local incentives, and contributes to the general knowledge base of sustainable design. The benefits of green building generally fall into four categories:
  • ENVIRONMENTAL - reduced impacts of natural resource consumption
    • reduced operational costs (20-60% PER YEAR),
    • improved productivity/sales (15-40% PER YEAR),
    • increased building valuation,
    • decreased vacancy,
    • reduced liability,
    • marketing/fundraising/promotional edge.
  • HEALTH & SAFETY - enhances occupant health and well-being
  • COMMUNITY - minimizes strain on local infrastructures and resources & improves quality of life

Projects receiving LEED Certification are awarded with a certification plaque to be mounted on the building, and an array of promotional and marketing measures guaranteed to increase public exposure and recognition, including case study listing on the U.S. Green Building Council's web site, and a variety of media announcements showcasing sustainable design.
The LEED Certification program has been in place for two years and already many federal, state and local governments are mandating that all new projects be LEED Certified. Thus far there have been twenty projects which have received a LEED Certification and there currently are approximately 300 projects in the pipeline as the program enters its third year.
LEED Certified and Registered Projects | U.S. Green Building Council | LEED Green Building Certification