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LEED Certification ~ How Do Commercial Buildings Get LEED Certification?

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LEED Certification ~ How Do Commercial Buildings Get LEED Certification?

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification is a globally recognized symbol of sustainability achievement and leadership. Commercial buildings around the world strive for LEED certification to showcase their environmental stewardship, improve efficiency, and lower operating costs. But what does it take for a building to become LEED-certified? This blog post guides you through the process.

Understanding LEED Certification

LEED is a green building certification program used worldwide, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). It provides a framework for healthy, highly efficient, and cost-saving green buildings. LEED certification is available for all building types and all building phases including new construction, interior fit-outs, operations and maintenance, and core and shell.

The Steps to LEED Certification

  1. Register Your Project

Before beginning, your project must be registered with the USGBC. A registration fee is applicable, and your project details will be reviewed to ensure it meets the minimum program requirements.

  1. Choose Your LEED Rating System

LEED offers several rating systems tailored to different types of projects. Select the rating system that best fits your building based on its size, type, and phase of construction.

  1. Understand Prerequisites and Credits

LEED certification is based on earning points across several categories including energy use, water efficiency, indoor environmental quality, material selection, and sustainable site development. Prerequisites are mandatory for all projects, while credits are optional strategies that projects can select to pursue to gain points.

  1. Set Goals and Assemble Your Team

Successful LEED projects require the coordination of a dedicated team. It’s beneficial to have architects, engineers, contractors, and facility managers who have experience with LEED and sustainability.

  1. Documentation and Performance

Accurate documentation of your building’s design, strategies, and performance is key. Engage team members to help gather and manage the necessary paperwork that demonstrates compliance with LEED requirements.

  1. Submit for Review

After submitting the required documentation for review, the USGBC will assess your project. This review process can take several months, depending on the complexity of your project and its size. Sometimes, additional information may be requested.

  1. Certification Levels

Based on the number of points achieved, a project then earns one of four LEED rating levels: Certified, Silver, Gold, or Platinum. Each level reflects the degree to which the building adheres to environmental best practices, with Platinum being the highest achievement.

  1. Certification Award

If your project meets the necessary criteria, the USGBC awards your building the LEED certification. You’ll receive a certificate and the right to use the LEED certification mark.

  1. Continued Compliance

For certain projects, especially those certified under Building Operations and Maintenance continued compliance with LEED may be required to maintain certification over time. This involves regular submission of performance data.

Benefits of LEED Certification

LEED-certified buildings can result in various benefits, such as:

  • Reduced operating costs due to improved energy and water efficiency.
  • Increased asset value compared to non-certified buildings.
  • Healthier indoor spaces may increase productivity and comfort.
  • Lower carbon emissions and environmental footprint.
  • Market differentiation, as sustainability, is a growing concern and demand among clients and customers.


Achieving LEED certification is a process that takes careful planning, a commitment to sustainability, and consistent follow-through on green building strategies. Commercial buildings that attain LEED certification not only contribute positively to the environment but also benefit from long-term cost savings, improved occupant well-being, and a strengthened market presence. If your commercial building is on the path to going green, LEED certification is a comprehensive way to validate your efforts and join a community leading the charge in global sustainability.

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J.B. Donaldson

A Premium Commercial Development & Construction Company.
37610 Hills Tech Drive, Farmington Hills, MI 48331

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