LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. It was started in the United States, but now spans over 30 countries. It is used to make building designs more environmentally sustainable. If a building designer or developer wishes to have his or her project certified they must adhere to several fairly strict requirements. The minimum LEED requirements must be met in order for a project to become certified.
LEED certification requires that all buildings must be permanent and have distinct property lines. The building and its developers must comply will all environmental laws, and agree to sharing building energy and water usage data. If a building meets these guidelines the building can then begin the rating phase.
Each building is rated in various areas. These areas include water and energy efficiency, access to public transportation, water usage, energy usage, renewable energy, and CO2 emissions.
The buildings are rated on a point scale, however there is the opportunity to achieve bonus points. Based on this rating a building can be awarded several types of certifications: certified, silver, gold, and platinum. A project must meet all the LEED requirements and hold a minimum rating to become certified.
A registration fee must also be paid by the building developer before the project can be certified. This fee must be paid upfront and can vary based on the type of rating system the building is applying under.