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LEED General Information Sheet

What is LEED?

  • The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System encourages and accelerates global adoption of sustainable green building and development practices through the creation and implementation of universally understood and accepted tools and performance criteria.
  • LEED is a third party certification program and nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings. LEED gives building owners and operators the tools they need to have an immediate and measurable on their buildings performance. LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability.

What are the various LEED categories?

  • Sustainable Site Development
  • Water Savings
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Materials Selection
  • Indoor Environmental Quality

What category does decorative finishes fall into?

  • Materials Selection and Indoor Environmental Quality.

Is a product LEED certified?

  • No. A product can help contribute to LEED points only.

Is there an independent body that confirms all manufacturers claims?

  • No. A manufacturer provides their own information concerning how their products help contribute to LEED points. Some very large manufacturers may have submitted their products to independent evaluation but this is not a requirement.

What if my product can be recycled?

  • The only criteria that LEED considers is whether or not the product itself has recycled product in its composition. The fact that the product can be recycled does not factor at all into any LEED consideration.
  • Describe the process as to how a product is evaluated for contribution to LEED points?
  • Within any LEED category, all of the products that may help contribute to that LEED point are documented, and the contribution by dollar value is calculated for every material.
  • So for example, if your product  X meets the criteria for contribution to a LEED credit because it has the minimum required amount of post consumer recycled product, and it has a value of $ 100, and the total value of ALL materials that meet the same criteria is $10 000, then the contribution of product X is $ 100 / $ 10000 or 1%, or .01 of the LEED point.

Should I not consider a product because it doesn’t help contribute to the LEED point?

  • It depends on how much of that product is being considered. If we refer to the above example, the loss of contribution to that LEED point would be .01 point. The designer would have to consider whether the incremental .01 point will make a difference in the overall ability of the project to achieve a certain LEED level, or if the design would be compromised in any way by choosing a material that can help contribute to that incremental point, but that might not be the most aesthetic solution for the client. In many cases where the incremental contribution is extremely small, the designer should consider choosing the product based on its decorative or functional merit.
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