Need help deciding which LEED Rating System is right for your project?

Which LEED Rating System?

So you’re an owner, developer, or on a project team of a sustainable building. With all the different types of LEED Certifications, it is sometimes difficult to know where to start.

Sometimes we’re called upon to perform LEED feasibility studies and identify which LEED Rating System is most appropriate for a given project. Sometimes the goal of the feasibility study is turned around… when we are tasked with determining which LEED Rating System would result in the project achieving the most number of points and highest level of certification!

 

Which LEED Rating System?

 

Which LEED Rating System is Right for Your Project?

When LEED began there was only one Rating System, but now there are many:

Fortunately the USGBC has good resources pages to help newcomers navigate these LEED waters:

Determining the Right LEED System – Step 1

The first step is determine the most significant “construction type” of the project:

 

Which LEED Rating System?

The USGBC understands that not all projects will fit neatly into a single category, and they give the project team some latitude in making a “reasonable determination on which definition best fits their project.”

Determining Which LEED Rating System – Step 2

If there are multiple LEED rating systems applicable to the “construction type,” then you can choose a LEED Rating System based on space usage and programming.

This text comes from the USGBC Selection Criteria on their LEED website:

  • New Construction.This rating system is appropriate for buildings that do not primarily serve K-12 educational, retail, or designated healthcare uses. It is also appropriate for high rise (7+stories) residential buildings.
  • Schools. This rating system is required for buildings made up of core and ancillary learning spaces on K-12 school grounds. It is also appropriate for buildings made up of core and ancillary learning spaces on non K-12 school grounds, as well as non-academic buildings on school campuses.
  • Healthcare. This rating system is required (beginning January 1, 2012) for buildings that serve individuals who seek medical treatment, including licensed and federal inpatient care facilities, licensed and federal outpatient care facilities, and licensed and federal long-term care facilities. These are considered LEED for Healthcare ‘designated’ uses. It is also appropriate for buildings with other kinds of medically-related uses, such as unlicensed outpatient facilities, medical, dental and veterinary offices and clinics, assisted living facilities and medical education & research centers are examples of ‘non-designated’ uses, and may use LEED for Healthcare at the project team’s discretion.
  • Retail New Construction.This rating system is appropriate for buildings or interiors dedicated to the sale of goods or commodities directly to consumers who come onto the premise for the purpose of obtaining those goods or commodities. It includes, but is not limited to, banks, restaurants (quick and full-serve), stores of any kind, spas, etc. It is also appropriate for both direct customer service areas (showroom) and preparation or storage areas that support customer service.
  • Commercial Interiors. This rating system is appropriate for Interiors dedicated to functions other than retail.
  • Retail Commercial Interiors. This rating system is appropriate for buildings or interiors dedicated to the sale of goods or commodities directly to consumers who come onto the premise for the purpose of obtaining those goods or commodities. It includes, but is not limited to, banks, restaurants (quick and full-serve), stores of any kind, spas, etc. It is also appropriate for both direct customer service areas (showroom) and preparation or storage areas that support customer service.
  • Homes. The Homes rating system is appropriate for low-rise (1-3 stories) residential buildings. The LEED for Homes Multi-Family Midrise rating system is appropriate for mid-rise (4-6 stories) residential buildings.

Which LEED Rating System?

We provide LEED consulting services for all the LEED Rating Systems. If you’re still uncertain which LEED Rating system is best for you, contact Healthy Building Science or fill out a quote request.

 

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