LEED Frequently Asked Questions

How does LEEDTM work? LEEDTM measures and ranks a building’s environmental performance in terms of 6 general categories: – Sustainable Sites, – Water Efficiency, – Energy & Atmosphere, – Materials & Resources, – Indoor Environmental Quality, and – Innovation & Design. Points are awarded for achieving specific goals clearly outlined in each category. The total number of points possible is 69. A score of 26-32 points achieves basic certification; 33-38 achieves Silver; 39 – 51 Gold; and 52+ achieves Platinum certification. How is a building certified? At the moment, official LEEDTM certification is organized through the USGBC. The USGBC LEEDTM website (www.usgbc.org/LEED/LEED_main.asp) provides a summary of the three steps to certification. The CaGBC will eventually take over certification of Canadian projects, but is still in the early stages of organization. Any certification earned under the USGBC until that point will be honoured by the CaGBC. Is LEEDTM mandatory? NO. LEEDTM is a voluntary building assessment tool. Some jurisdictions like the City of Seattle; however, have adopted a minimum LEEDTM standard for all new public buildings as a matter of policy. The City of Vancouver is currently considering the merits of adopting a minimum LEEDTM standard for all new public buildings, and is currently piloting its new Vancouver City Works Yard as either LEEDTM Silver or Gold. The City of Calgary is also moving toward requiring a minimum of LEEDTM Silver for all new public buildings. Does LEEDTM cost more? The answer to this will come over time as more case studies are documented. The USGBC took a first stab at the question by issuing a memo in August 2001 summarizing a number of case studies. In general, they found initial capital costs to be 1-4% higher than conventional buildings while long-term costs were “significantly lower”. However, many professionals are now finding that initial costs can even be lower than for conventional buildings as professionals become more comfortable to the technology and process. What types of buildings is LEEDTM most applicable to? LEEDTM is most applicable to existing and new commercial, institutional and high-rise residential buildings. The underlying concepts embodying the LEEDTM process are also very relevant and useful for smaller residential building design. Draft guidelines for Existing Buildings are now available on the USGBC website. Some benefits of LEEDTM – Simplicity–final results are summarized on a one-page ‘scorecard’; – Not overly prescriptive – room for interpretation; – Potentially significant long-term cost benefits; – Modifiable – can be modified to local conditions & regulations; – Marketable – as it becomes more popular, consumers will begin to recognize the LEEDTM label as a measure of environmental performance.
source: Primer Part 3c: Buildings See also XlnkS58F

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