LEED certification is a recognition that a construction project or building can attain by utilizing environmentally friendly building practices during construction or remodeling. LEED is the acronym that stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and is the Green Building Rating System developed by the U.S. Green Building Council. The model was developed in 1998 to encourage environmental awareness among government agencies, architects, engineers, developers, and builders.
While design and construction of buildings have used environmentally friendly practices in the past, LEED was developed to provide a streamlined set of building standards. The government has worked to model sustainable green building by achieving certification on many of its state buildings. In order to increase the number of new and redeveloped buildings eligible for LEED certification, the government also offers many incentives within the building industry, including grant funding and tax breaks based on the level of LEED certification attained.
Some of the practices utilized or observed for LEED certification include the use of recycled material, eliminating or reducing the amount of waste leaving a job site, re-using existing material, using sustainable green building material, and using low-emitting materials such as caulk and sealers.