LEED Rating Systems
Rating systems are groups of requirements for projects that want to achieve LEED certification. Each group is geared towards the unique needs of a project or building type.
LEED is flexible enough to apply to all project types including healthcare facilities, schools, homes and even entire neighborhoods. The Rating System Selection Guidance will help you determine which specific rating system is right for your project.
Projects earn points to satisfy green building requirements
Within each of the LEED credit categories, projects must satisfy prerequisites and earn points. The number of points the project earns determines its level of LEED certification.
Main credit categories
- Sustainable sites credits encourage strategies that minimize the impact on ecosystems and water resources.
- Water efficiency credits promote smarter use of water, inside and out, to reduce potable water consumption.
- Energy & atmosphere credits promote better building energy performance through innovative strategies.
- Materials & resources credits encourage using sustainable building materials and reducing waste.
- Indoor environmental quality credits promote better indoor air quality and access to daylight and views.
Additional LEED for Neighborhood Development credit categories
- Smart location & linkage credits promote walkable neighborhoods with efficient transportation options and open space.
- Neighborhood pattern & design credits emphasize compact, walkable, vibrant, mixed-use neighborhoods with good connections to nearby communities.
- Green infrastructure & buildings credits reduce the environmental consequences of the construction and operation of buildings and infrastructure.
Additional LEED for Homes credit categories
- Location & linkage credits encourage construction on previously developed or infill sites and promotes walkable neighborhoods with access to efficient transportation options and open space.
- Awareness & education credits encourage home builders and real estate professionals to provide homeowners, tenants and building managers with the education and tools they need to understand and make the most of the green building features of their home.
Two bonus credit categories
- Innovation in design or innovation in operations credits address sustainable building expertise as well as design measures not covered under the five LEED credit categories. Six bonus points are available in this category.
- Regional priority credits address regional environmental priorities for buildings in different geographic regions. Four bonus points are available in this category.
for Existing Buildings Operations & Maintenance (v2009)
Recertification awarded Oct 2010
- Sustainable Sites
- Water Efficiency
- Energy & Atmosphere
- Materials & Resources
- Indoor Environmental Quality
- Innovation in Operations
Points possible = 100 points (+10 bonus)
The points from each category are totaled to create a final score. The higher the score, the higher the certification level earned.
Alternative Compliance Paths
LEED offers many options for projects to achieve credits. Global Alternative Compliance Paths provide projects around the world with alternative methods to demonstrate compliance with LEED while maintaining the rigor of the rating systems. See which credits apply
Regional Priority Credits
Interpretations & Addenda Database
LEED Interpretations are precedent-setting rulings reviewed by USGBC on Formal Inquiries submitted by LEED project teams that can be applied to multiple projects. Addenda are permanent changes and improvements to LEED 2009 resources, including rating systems and reference guides. Search the database
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