The Certification Network

Leed Certification

 


LEED Certification distinguishes building projects that have demonstrated a commitment to sustainability by meeting the highest performance standards. The information contained on this page outlines the required steps of the application process and answers the questions most frequently asked by project teams seeking LEED certification.

Leed Certification: Why Certify?

  • Establish recognized leadership in the green building sector
  • Validate achievement through third party review
  • Qualify for a growing array of state and local government incentives
  • Contribute to a growing green building knowledge base
  • Earn LEED Certification plaque and certificate

 

Leed Certification Eligibility

Commercial buildings as defined by standard building codes are eligible for certification under LEED Version 2.1. Commercial occupancies include—but are not limited to—offices, retail and service establishments, institutional buildings (e.g., libraries, schools, museums, churches, etc.), hotels, and residential buildings of four or more habitable stories. If the application of LEED for a unique building type is questionable, USGBC encourages the project team to tally a potential point total using the LEED Rating System checklist. The project is a viable candidate for LEED certification if it can meet all prerequisites and achieve a minimum of 26 points.

Leed Certification Registration

The first step toward earning LEED certification is project registration. Registering during the early phases of project design will ensure maximum potential for achieving certification. Registration is an important step that establishes contact with the USGBC and provides access to essential information, software tools and communications. Upon registration, project contacts receive an orientation letter and access to resources that explain and facilitate the formal LEED application process. For more information, visit the LEED Registration page.

Leed Certification Documentation

Once a project is registered, the project team begins to prepare documentation and calculations to satisfy the prerequisite and credit submittal requirements. It is helpful to have a LEED Accredited Professional as the project contact and team member responsible for coordinating the LEED process. To streamline the application process, required documentation should be gathered throughout the design and construction phases. Use the LEED software tools for Version 2.0 and/or Version 2.1 as appropriate. Mixed 2.0/2.1 submittals are acceptable, but using Version 2.1 exclusively is recommended for simplicity. Documentation should be compiled in one three-ring binder and/or compact disc  (LEED Version 2.1 Letter Template Excel document is required on a CD for Version 2.1 submittals).  All electronic submittals must be printable on letter- or legal-sized paper. Refer to the Certification section below for application details. The project team submits two copies of ALL project application materials and the corresponding fee (check payable to U.S. Green Building Council) to the LEED Certification Manager.

Leed Certification

To earn LEED certification, the applicant project must satisfy all of the prerequisites and a minimum number of points to attain a LEED rating level. The certification review process includes the following:

1)  Application Submittal.

The project team submits two copies of ALL project application materials, and the corresponding fee (check payable to U.S. Green Building Council), to the LEED Certification Manager.  A complete application includes the following:

  • the printed LEED Letter Template and requested submittals for each prerequisite and credit, separated by tabs (LEED Version 2.1 Letter Template Excel document is required on a CD for Version 2.1 submittals);
  • LEED registration information, including project contact, project type, project size, number of occupants, date of construction completion, etc.;
  • an overall project narrative including at least three project highlights;
  • the LEED Project Checklist/Scorecard indicating projected prerequisites and credits and the total score for the project (If mixed submittal, LEED v2.0 credits are to be noted as such in LEED v2.1 Letter Template Credit Summary or similar format.); and
  • Drawings and photos (8.5x11 or 11x17) illustrative of the project, including:
    • Site plan
    • Typical floor plan
    • Typical building section
    • Typical or primary elevation
    • Photo or rendering of project

2)  LEED Version 2 Technical Reviews.

a)  LEED Version 2.0 Review: Documentation submittals for every prerequisite and credit are reviewed for compliance. The inclusion of extraneous documentation is discouraged as this slows the application review process. Within 30 days of administrative approval, the USGBC issues a Preliminary LEED Review document noting credits earned, pending and denied. The project team has 30 days from the receipt of the Preliminary Review to provide corrections and/or additions as a supplementary submittal to the application. The USGBC conducts a Final LEED Review of the application within three weeks of receiving the resubmittal and notifies the project contact of the LEED certification.

b)  LEED Version 2.1 Review:  The LEED Letter Templates and additional submittals for each prerequisite and credit are reviewed for compliance. Within 30 days of administrative approval, the USGBC issues a Preliminary LEED Review document noting credit achievement anticipated, pending and denied. In addition, up to six prerequisites and/or credits shall be selected for audit. The project team has 30 days from the receipt of the Preliminary Review to provide corrections and/or additional supporting documents (e.g., calculations, cutsheets and other backup) as a supplementary submittal to the application. The USGBC conducts a Final LEED Review of the application within three weeks of receiving the resubmittal and notifies the project contact of certification status.  If two or more audited credits are denied, additional credits may be selected for a second audit and may prompt a Second Preliminary LEED Review prior to a Final LEED Review.   

c)  LEED Version 2.0 / 2.1 Combination Review:  All credits submitted under the LEED v2.0 Rating System shall be reviewed as outlined in the LEED 2.0 Review Process.  All credits submitted under the LEED v2.1 Rating System shall be reviewed as outlined in the LEED v2.1 Review Process.  If audited credits pass, the timeline is identical for both processes.

3)  Award. Upon notification of the LEED certification, the project team has 30 days to accept or appeal the awarded certification. Upon the project’s acceptance, or if it has not appealed the rating within 30 days, the LEED certification is final. The project may then be referred to as a LEED certified building. The USGBC presents the project team with an award letter, certificate and metal LEED plaque indicating the certification level.

4)  Appeal. If the project team feels that sufficient grounds exist to appeal a credit denied in the Final LEED Review, it has the option of appeal.  The appeal fee is $250 (changing to $500, effective 9/1/04) per credit appealed.  A review of these items will occur within 30 days at which time an Appeal LEED Review will be issued to the applicant.

 

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