Originally created by the US Green Building Council, LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) is an internationally recognized standard for green building certification, that verifies that a building was built using strategies intended to improve environmental performance, as measured by five categories of measurement:
- energy conservation
- water efficiency
- reduction of CO2 (Carbon Dioxide) emissions
- improvement of the quality of the indoor environmental
- stewardship of limited natural resources and sensitivity to the impacts related to their use.
An additional category, Innovation & Design Process, more specifically addresses sustainable building expertise as well as innovative design measures not covered under the five environmental categories.
The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System™ supports and advances universal implementation of sustainable green building and development practices through the generation and use of universally recognized tools and metrics.
Benefits of LEED Certification
Private sector organizations and governments are adopt LEED certification in their policies, programming and operations, in order to achieve and demonstrate sustainability. Their reasons for obtaining LEED certification may include:
- Become recognized for for their green building goals and achievements
- Validate achievement through an unbiased, recognized third party review
- Qualify for a growing array of government incentives dedicated to providing funding for green practices throughout the public and private sector
- Contribute to a burgeoning green building knowledge base – pool resources, techniques, and policies that produce a measurably positive impact on sustainability.
How to Become LEED Certified
Leed Certification is obtained through an application and review process that is detailed here on the LEED Canada website.
In order to become LEED certified, an organization must earn a minium of 40 out of a possible 100 base points (plus 6 additional points for innovation and 4 for Regional Priority). LEED Points are earned in categories such as Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, and Indoor Environmental Quality. There are also mandatory prerequisites for all projects in each category which receive no points and are simply needed in order to qualify.
There are four levels of LEED Certification, based on the amount of points earned:
- Certified – 40 – 49 points
- Silver – 50 – 59 points
- Gold – 60 – 79 points
- Platinum – 80 points and above
Earning LEED Points for Commercial Energy Conservation
Commercial energy conservation practices earn LEED points for businesses and public organizations – in addition to their other benefits.
Voltage Optimization immediately reduces electricity costs by up to 10%, and its pronounced benefit to power quality and consistency, as well as its supply of optimal voltage, has been proven to significantly extend the life of electronics. Voltage Optimization is also a LEED-recognized method of energy conservation.
Voltage Optimization is achieved through the use of a smart transformer, such as the Legend Power Harmonizer AVR. The Harmonizer AVR automatically regulates voltage, reducing electricty usage and improving power quality. Recognized as a green technology, and employed by BC Hydro, the Legend Power Harmonizer can immediately earn buildings 5 points towards LEED Certification – almost 10% of the points needed.