Photo © Ana Ka’ahanui


The LEED Rating Systems make up a voluntary program meant to objectively measure how sustainable a building is in several key areas:

  • impact on site and location

  • water efficiency

  • energy efficiency

  • material selection

  • indoor environmental quality

The system also encourages innovation.

The LEED standards are maintained by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), a nonprofit, non-governmental, membership-based organization. While participation in LEED is voluntary, the program owes some of its growth to municipal and state ordinances that have mandated it for public buildings and have offered incentives for private buildings.

  • Materials Transparency & LEED
    December 6, 2017


    This deep dive into the three Building Product Disclosure and Optimization (BPDO) credits in LEED v4 provides the rationale for why product choices are so important, the details on how to achieve points within the three credits, and which options you shouldn't bother pursuing.

  • Finding Products for LEED v4-A Guide
    September 3, 2013

    Feature Article

    That complicated new Materials and Resources section of LEED v4 that we debated for years? It's here. Are you ready?

  • USGBC Moves to Improve LEED v4
    December 11, 2017

    News Analysis

    LEED v4.1, a new iteration of the green building rating system will be piloted in 2018 with the goal of smoothing over rough spots.

  • BuildingGreen’s Guide to Products for LEED Projects
    June 20, 2016

    Product Guide

    The products in the collections listed here contribute to the requirements of key LEED credits.

  • New Concepts in LEED v4
    October 2, 2012

    Feature Article

    Past versions of LEED have helped make FSC and other concepts practically household terms. Where is LEED v4 taking the green building conversation next?

  • An Embarrassment of Riches: Products and Materials at Greenbuild 2017
    November 2, 2017

    Blog Post

    A new focus on embodied carbon and LEED v4 are driving designers to dive deep into what we choose for our buildings

  • Energy-Efficient Multifamily Housing
    June 29, 2011

    Feature Article

    Now you can get LEED, Energy Star, and other labels for designing or retrofitting high-performance multifamily buildings.

  • Measuring Energy Use in Buildings: Do Our Metrics Really Add Up?
    April 29, 2011

    Feature Article

    How much energy our buildings use matters a great deal, but figuring out how to measure that use and compare it from building to building is tricky. Here's a guide to key metrics and how to use them.

  • Your Guide to the New Draft of LEED
    November 8, 2010

    Feature Article

    USGBC is accepting comments on what will become LEED in 2012-EBN walks you through key changes as they appear in the current draft.

  • Retrocommissioning: Big Savings for Big Buildings
    September 29, 2010

    Feature Article

    Retrocommissioning or RCx can be a valuable tool for commercial building owners. RCx addresses the same scope as new building commissioning but is performed on existing buildings. RCx can improve building performance, save energy and money-especially for large buildings.