The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has organized a system of rating buildings that incorporates new criteria for the design, construction, and operation of new and renovated green buildings in the U.S. This rating system, known as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), classifies buildings into four categories, depending on their level of performance with respect to energy and environmental issues: platinum (highest), gold, silver, and LEED-certified. A building’s rating depends on specific site characteristics, design strategies, and construction features that combine to make the building green. Buildings merit points for such categories as water efficiency; energy and atmosphere; materials and resources; indoor environmental quality; and innovation and design processes.
A number of jurisdictions have adopted LEED-based evaluation as part of their design review and building permit process. For instance, LEED certified projects are eligible for density and height bonuses underArlington,Virginia’s green building incentive program. Several LEED programs can be utilized for multifamily projects including LEED for New Construction 2.2 (which applies to residential buildings with four or more habitable stories), LEED for Existing Buildings, LEED for Neighborhood Development, and LEED for Homes (which applies to residential buildings less than four stories). More information on LEED is available atwww.usgbc.org.
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