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.

  • 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.

  • Thinking Beyond Buildings: LEED for Neighborhood Development
    February 26, 2009

    Feature Article

    LEED for Neighborhood Development is not yet final, but it's already clear that it's a different type of rating system. Lessons from the pilot projects show that cooperation among team members and with the local government is essential to a successful project.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • California Law Uses Environmental Product Declarations to Drive Low-Carbon Procurement
    October 17, 2017

    News Analysis

    Buy Clean California is the first law in the nation to address embodied carbon in construction materials.

  • How Six Affordable Housing Projects Got to Green
    October 6, 2017

    Feature Short

    Stories of designers and developers who overcame the challenges of building affordable housing that is also green, sustainable, and healthy.

  • Washington, D.C. First to Achieve LEED at Citywide Scale
    October 6, 2017

    News Analysis

    The city is first to earn a Platinum LEED for Cities certification, leveraging information technology to track progress toward a range of sustainability goals.