LEED Certification for New Construction

LEED for New Construction is a green building rating system for commercial, institutional, and high-rise residential projects developed by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).

Currently, there are two versions of the New Construction rating system available: LEED 2009 and LEED v4.  The LEED 2009 version, released in 2009, is the older version of the rating system.  LEED v4, released in November 2013, is the new version of the rating system, which was designed to focus more on the building's performance (rather than just design) than the 2009 version.  It will replace LEED 2009 and become the sole rating system in June 2015.  

Both the 2009 and v4 rating systems are structured in the same way.  Certification is awarded to new construction projects that meet all prerequisites and achieve a certain number of points in multiple sustainability categories: Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Indoor Environmental Quality, Materials and Resources, Regional Priority, and Innovation in Design.  The new LEED v4 rating system also includes a Location & Transportation credit category as well as a credit for Integrative Project Design.  LEED certified projects are high performance, have less of an impact on the environment, are healthier for occupants, and are more profitable than conventional buildings. According to USGBC, LEED buildings cost less to operate and maintain.

LEED Prerequisites are required credits in the LEED green building rating system. These credits must be met in order for a project to earn LEED certification. Each credit category in the LEED rating systems has at least one prerequisite credit, with the exception of Innovation in Design (ID).

A LEED Credit is an optional section of the LEED green building rating system that contains guidelines for a specific component of the green building project. Projects are awarded a specific number of points for meeting the guidelines set forth in a LEED credit. These points correlate to a certification level. In the New Construction rating system, buildings can achieve the following certification levels:

Certified: 40-49 points
Silver: 50-59 points
Gold: 60-79 points
Platinum: 80+ points
There are 100 base points, 6 Innovation in Design points, and 4 Regional priority points.

Any building professional can help with a LEED certification project. However, the LEED AP Building Design + Construction credential demonstrates the exceptional expertise of green building professionals in the design and construction phases of sustainable, healthful and durable buildings, including those serving the commercial, residential, education and healthcare sectors. Therefore, having a LEED AP BD+C onboard your LEED for New Construction project would be an advantage, because they have knowledge and experience with LEED.

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