LEED 101: A Syllabus Supplement for Green Building Coursework

Last updated: 
July 5, 2022

This syllabus supplement provides professors and students with content on LEED from BuildingGreen, LEEDuser, and other relevant resources.

Intended for design professionals, BuildingGreen provides an independent “living textbook” that integrates perfectly with green building courses while exposing students to the most cutting-edge sustainability strategies and real-world green building case studies.

Here we offer an Intro to LEED curriculum especially formulated for institutions that have access to the following articles through a campus-wide BuildingGreen subscription.

Don’t have a subscription yet? Contact our outreach director, Jerelyn Wilson, to get a no-strings-attached free trial for your campus.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand what the LEED rating systems are, how LEED certification works, what LEED professional credentials are available, and who the major organizations are in relation to LEED.
  • Gain background in the history and process of LEED development and adoption, including organizations and issues that have emerged to challenge LEED’s growth.
  • See the wider context of the green building movement, and where LEED fits in with addressing major issues in the environmental and energy performance of the built environment.

Week 1—What Is LEED?

Intro to LEED

U.S. Green Building Council

Discover LEED

U.S. Green Building Council

LEED Rating System Selection Guidance

U.S. Green Building Council

Guide to the LEED Certification Process

Green Building Certification Institute

LEED Help Center

U.S. Green Building Council

Guide to LEED Professional Credentials

U.S. Green Building Council

Week 2—Development of LEED

The Future of LEED Will Be Positive

LEED Rating System Lurches Ahead

LEED for Existing Buildings Goes Live

Homes Get Their Own LEED

Healthcare May Take LEED in New Directions       


New Concepts in LEED v4

Thinking Beyond Buildings: LEED for Neighborhood Development

New Tech Startup, Arc Skoru, to Support USGBC, GBCI with Data

Dynamic Plaque Piloted as LEED Performance Path

LEED to Certify Entire Communities, Cities

Resilient Design Pilot Credits Added to LEED

Week 3—Growth and Adoption of LEED

 USGBC to Drop Its Resilience Rating System, RELi

LEED Finally Lives Up to Its Promise

Only LEED Meets Its Needs, Says GSA

First U.S. City Resolves to Build LEED Platinum

Cities Mandate LEED But Not Certification

LEED Projects Doubled in 2008

LEED Gold Now Required for Federal Buildings

Automatic LEED Points for CALGreen Code Compliance

California Code Scores LEED Points

Green Building Sees Growth, But Fewer Firms Pursue LEED

Green Building Remains Strong in Commercial Sector

Data Show Plaque Thresholds Push LEED Projects Higher

USGBC Moves to Improve LEED v4

Week 4—LEED in Context

Leveraging LEED Design Strategies for WELL

How RECs Work—and Why You Might Not Own Your Clean Energy

A Review of Healthy Building Rating Systems

Measuring Energy Use in Buildings: Do Our Metrics Really Add Up?

Preliminary Study Supports LEED Productivity Benefits

Retrocommissioning: Big Savings for Big Buildings

Sustainable Design Literacy: A Foundation for Transformed Practice

What Makes a Product Green?

Circular Economy at Scale: Six International Case Studies

VOCs in LEED v4 and Other Rating Systems

The Great Eight: High-Impact Material Choices for Green Building

Verifying Project Outcomes: Which Metrics Work?

Why Chemical Transparency Matters

GSA Links High-Performance Outcomes to Integrated Design

USGBC Announces RELi As Its Resilient Design Rating System

Week 5—LEED Case Studies

LEED v4 Tips from Early Adopters: Earn High Ratings Without Added Costs

Oberlin College's Lewis Center

Presidio Neighborhood Is First LEED-ND 2009 Certified Project

Take Control of Your Materials: Four Empowering Lessons from Teams That Beat the Red List

Getting the EPD Credit in LEED v4: Canada Green Building Council Fit-Out

Getting the EPD Credit in LEED v4: Atlanta Stadium

Sidwell Friends Middle School, Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C. First to Achieve LEED at Citywide Scale

Week 6—Challenges to LEED: Issues in Green Building

LEED Must Lead on Climate

USGBC Response: Help Create the Next LEED version

Stemming Illegal Logging with a New LEED Credit

Worker Safety on LEED Projects Questioned

All LEED Projects to Provide Actual Performance Data

USGBC Expands Data Collection from LEED Buildings

New Report Criticizes LEED on Public Health Issues

Energy Efficiency of Bank of America Tower Depends on the Metric You Choose

Gifford Lawsuit Against USGBC, LEED Dismissed

Legal Wood in LEED Barks Up Wrong Tree, Say NGOs

LEED Buildings Still Average in Occupant Satisfaction

Week 7—Challenges to LEED: Industry Issues

Green Globes Emerges to Challenge LEED

Webcast: LEED vs. Green Globes: What's the Difference?

Chemical Industry Attacks LEED: BuildingGreen Checks the Facts

Chemical Industry, USGBC Announce Ceasefire

Are FSC and LEED Killing American Jobs? A Look at the Evidence

FSC and Beyond: LEED 2012 Buries the "Wood Wars" Hatchet

FSC, LEED, and the Price of Perfectionism

Three Things You Need to Know About Forests and Climate Change

LEED Pilots Legal Wood, Expansion of Certified Wood

Two New Laws Restrict Use of LEED

Spurred by Chemical Industry, Ohio Moves Anti-LEED Bill Forward

Cascadia Challenges Green to Go Beyond Platinum

Imperfect Consensus in Green Building Standards

Reality Check for LEED v4 Product Credits

LEED v4 and EPDs: How’s That Market Disruption Working Out for You?

Week 8—Achieving LEED Certification

Finding Products for LEED v4 and v4.1

LEED and WELL Product Labels: A Guide and Analysis

Waiting for Take-Back Programs for Green Building

LEED Certified or Certifiable? Making the Case for Earning the Plaque

Protect Your Spec: 14 Strategies 

Owners, This RFP Hack Enables Lasting Building Performance

Webcast: Building as an Organism: Understanding the Integrative Process Credit in LEED v4 Projects 

Webcast: Essential Playbook to Managing LEED Construction

Webcast: Whole-Building LCA Tools for LEED v4 and v4.1

Visit LEEDuser for credit-by-credit guidance on LEED project certification.

Week 9—What’s Ahead for LEED and Green Building?

New Leadership, New Strategy for U.S. Green Building Council

Deep Dive on Integrative Process with Marcus Sheffer

Net-Zero Energy Isn’t the Real Goal: 8 Reasons Why

Webcast: Building Re-entry with Arc

Reexamining Priorities in Green Building

The Four Core Issues to Tackle for Resilient Design (And the Programs That Can Help)

Find more articles collected on our LEED topic page.

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