What Are The LEED Levels And What Do They Mean?

By now we are all familiar with the LEED certification for buildings. Designers, builders, and architects all strive together to earn the highest possible Leadership in Energy and Engineering Design ratings and brag about them to prospective investors. Press releases include the grades of new buildings, and tenants boast of their LEED scores as they show around their own employees or clients. Projects with the highest LEED scores get local and national attention, and companies boast of their sustainability and eco-friendly buildings.

But what are the rankings, and what do they represent?

Well, there are four rankings for buildings, according to the US Green Building Corporation. Those rankings are certified, silver, gold, and platinum, with certified being the lowest level, and platinum being the highest. They are awarded on a point scale for achievements in certain areas of energy efficiency.

Certified 40-49 points

The first level of attainment for LEED certification is “certified.” Buildings that score between 40 and 49 points are Leed Certified. This means that they have met important standards for sustainability and energy usage in their selection of materials and building design. This is an important designation that shows a commitment to sustainable growth and building.

Silver 50-59 points

The next highest certification is “Silver.” A building that earns this status has invested time, energy, and additional resources to demonstrate their commitment to the environment over time. Through the use of credits, complex credits, and the right building materials and approaches to reduce energy usage, Silver buildings deserve recognition as a monument to sustainability.

Gold 60-79 points

Unlike in the Olympics, “Gold” is the second-highest level of achievement in LEED certification. However, just like in the Olympics, “Gold” status bestows a very high honor. The Gold status is reached only through meticulous care and careful dedication to the LEED standards, and an awareness of resource usage throughout the entire building process.

Platinum 80+ Points

The highest level that can be achieved on the LEED certification scale is Platinum. This is a distinguished level, and shows a rare deep investment in sustainability in every aspect of the building process. According to the USGBC website, fewer than 9,000 buildings in the world have earned Platinum LEED status as of August 1, 2021. These buildings are known locally and internationally to designers and engineers, and they draw additional visitors who simply want to see how this level was achieved.