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How does LEED Certification work?

LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. The LEED rating system, created by the USGBC, provides third-party verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at increasing performance, reducing waste, and improving quality of life.  Each strategy listed on the rating system checklist is catalogued as a credit. Credits are grouped into six major categories: Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy & Atmosphere, Materials & Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality, and Innovation in Design & Regionalization. All the credits in these categories are worth a certain number of points. For every strategy utilized in a LEED-registered project, the building acquires the corresponding number of points for that credit. The greater number of points, the more likely the building will qualify for LEED Certification. There are different levels of LEED Certification, based on this point range.