LEED is a series of professional credentials and certifications that are designed to provide a framework for sustainable design and construction. Standing for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, these accreditations and certifications are designed to create buildings and construction projects that are sustainable, eco-friendly, and fit for a low/zero carbon future.
What does Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Really Mean?
Sustainable construction is all about making sure that we can meet the needs of humanity today, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. Both the LEED accreditation system and the LEED building certification system provide a framework to enable the positive change that is required in this regard.
In order for a building to be certified green, it must be environmentally responsible and use and manage resources efficiently and effectively. It is crucial for the future of humanity that we begin to safeguard our planet and its resources. We must learn to create and manage our built environment in more sustainable ways.
A building that exemplifies leadership in energy and environmental design is one that has been rated in a number of categories and has scored high enough points in each of these categories to be awarded certified, or with a Silver, Gold or Platinum rating.
To design and create green and sustainable structures of this sort, it is essential to develop a network of individuals who have the knowledge and ability to further the ethos, ethics, and practice of sustainable design and construction. The LEED Green Associate exam and the LEED AP with specialty exams allow individual professionals to gain accreditation in this field and allow them to show their commitment to this field.
Why Do We Need LEED?
Construction is a field that carries a huge carbon cost. Good design, effective operations, materials use, and procedures for ongoing use need to be overhauled to mitigate and minimize the negative impact of new and existing buildings on our planet and people.
In this era of growing environmental awareness, more and more people are recognizing the need to reform the construction industry, and design buildings that can truly meet the needs of the present and the future. Immense waste, in terms of energy, water, and other resources means that most construction is extremely detrimental.
LEED projects show that there is a 'better way' – a framework that can be followed to minimize harm and promote healthier and more enduring and sustainable design, methods, and practices. And the LEED professional accreditation scheme ensures that there are individuals who can work within and show their expertise within this field.
We need such a framework to make sure that changes are genuine and based on scientific knowledge. Such a framework of certification and accreditation can make sure that we know where sustainable design and methods really have been implemented, and where 'greenwashing' is in effect.
An internationally recognized system like LEED can make sure that there is a trustworthy baseline against which different projects can be measured.
While LEED may not be the be-all and end-all when it comes to sustainable design and construction, it does represent great strides that are being taken in the right direction.
Why Take LEED Exams?
Demonstrating that you are among the number of those within the design and construction industry who are committed to sustainability can be beneficial in a number of ways. Not only is this a good way to show stakeholders and customers that you share their ethical and eco-friendly goals, but it is also a good way to increase your standing and respect within the sustainable building industry.
Taking LEED exams and becoming a Green Associate and an Accredited Professional within a certain specialty is a way to show that you are committed to best practice, and are willing to study and improve your professional development. LEED accreditation exams are open to anyone who is involved with the design, construction, or operation of green buildings. Since this is the most widely used and broadly accepted green building accreditation, this is the one that can have the greatest impact on your development and how you are perceived.