USGBC is renowned for its initiation and the development of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating systems and its annual Greenbuild International Conference and Expo, which is considered the world's largest conference and expo associated with the green buildings.
The LEED rating system is an internationally accredited and recognized system that functions as a third-party verification system. Buildings or communities under the rating system are designed and constructed following the required metrics: energy, water efficiency, reduced CO2 emissions, enhanced quality of the interior environment, and the management of related resources used on a project.
Levels of LEED Certification
• Silver (50–59 points)
• Gold (60–79 points)
• Platinum (80+ points)
The premier certification level, platinum projects, has shown its adherence to the rating system by not only achieving all the prerequisites but also have shown exemplary performance in the rating system. Often, projects achieving this score have achieved innovation credits by doing something above and beyond the typical rating system.
An excellent example of a Platinum certification level is presented in the CapitaLand Innovation Center offices. It consists of three certified platinum buildings; the CapitaLand project followed the rating system with a particular focus on water-saving and energy consumption. For example, the project team first installed water faucets that did not meet the water reduction desired. To fix this problem, they installed aerators on the water fixtures to reduce the water flow rate. The team also focused on employee satisfaction by providing sunlight-friendly views to reduce employee stress and fatigue.
LEED Certification Process
The process can be broken down into four main steps:
- Register your project under the USGBC rating system and submit your registration payment.
- Apply for LEED certification by submitting your entire application and paying the review fee.
- Review of your application is done by the Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI).
- Certification of your project is done based on the points received during the review process. Congratulations on your project!
History of LEED Certification
The first version of LEED adopted by USGBC was developed thanks to the Federal Energy Management Program by Robert K. Watson in August 1998. However, the most famous and usually adopted version, v3, was introduced in 2007. Version four (v4.1) is used throughout the USGBC system, with many teams adopting it as the set standard. The main aim of LEED certification was to arrange the official definition of a "green building" and produce its corresponding standards and measurement criteria. The encouragement and endorsement of the integrated green building design practices were also significant cornerstones of design.
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Apart from these certifications, the rating system also offers various certificates and exams to individuals.
- Green Associate Exam evaluates the basic knowledge of the various design, construction and operations associated with green buildings.
- Accredited Professional Exam evaluates knowledge about the green building and the rating and certification system. The only prerequisite is that you must already be a Green Associate.
To take these tests, a candidate has to register for them. Then a specialized link will be provided to schedule the test. You can choose to take the exam at a Prometric testing center or from home using a webcam. Both methods will earn you your accreditation for passing the exam. The main benefit of having your AP accreditation and not just a Green Associate is that an AP earns one point for participating in the LEED certification process.