LEED Certification – Credit Categories and Strategies

In the interest of creating awareness and informing people about the process of LEED Certification, I’ve decided to run a series of blogs about the point scoring system and credit strategies involved.


This series will address the LEED Building Design and Construction and the LEED for Homes rating systems.
Since it’s inception in 1998, LEED, (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), has evolved into the most recognized Green Building Certification Body in the world.
Certification is attainable at 4 different levels based on the amount of points acquired per the credit categories.These are- LEED Certified, LEED Silver, LEED Gold, and LEED Platinum.


There are 100 base points and a possible 10 bonus points available for the Building Design and Construction Rating System. This system is structured for commercial projects and residential high rise, (4 stories or more), as well as mixed use projects.
Certification is awarded as follows-

  • Certified 40-49 points
  • Silver 50-59 points
  • Gold 60-79 points and
  • Platinum 80 points and above

There a several credit categories for availability of points.
The Credit Categories for BD&C are Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality, Innovation in Design, and Regional Priority.

LEED for Homes

LEED for Homes has a slightly different scoring system with 136 total points available-

  • Certified 45-59 points
  • Silver 60-74 points
  • Gold 75-89 points
  • and Platinum 90 points and above

Credit categories for LEED for Homes include- Innovation in Design, Location and Linkages, Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, Environmental Quality, and Awareness and Education.
Some categories include prerequisites which are mandatory for certification. Other credits are optional and can be chosen per the project specific goals and accessibility.
As this series continues I will address specific credits and the criteria needed to achieve them.
Please feel free to post questions and comments and help me to make this an interesting and informative source. Go to the USGBC Website for more info on LEED implementation.
Thank You,
Phil Vanderloo, LEED AP BD&C

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