If you want to get into green building, you’ll have to follow specific rules and regulations set out by your certifying body. One of the most respected programs with a set of green building standards is the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED® program. This blog begins a six-part series on LEED® certification.What is LEED®?Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, LEED®, is a voluntary, consensus-based program created by the U.S. Green Building Council as a rating tool for green building design and construction. The LEED® Green Building Rating System is there to provide immediate and measurable results.All LEED® -certified buildings have environmental and financial benefits from following the LEED creed:• Lower operating costs/ higher value• Less waste output• Energy and water conservation• Healthier and safer for occupants• Lower greenhouse gas emissions• Tax rebates, zoning allowances and other incentives* Eligibility – LEED® has nine sets of rules/regulations. Requirements for certification depend on the type of building. Before trying for certification, review the LEED® Rating System to find out where your building project fits.LEED® CertificationLEED® certification varies, depending on which rating system is called into account. The systems are based on a set of prerequisites and “credits” in several areas; a certain number of points are required per area. Under the current LEED® guidelines for new construction, there are sixty-nine possible points and four levels of certification:• Certified: 26 – 32 points• Silver: 33 – 38 points• Gold: 39 – 51 points• Platinum: 52 – 69 pointsPoints to PonderThe LEED® Rating System looks at five major areas to provide points, with each area having an overall possible amount of achievable points:1. Sustainable sites (14 points)2. Water efficiency (5 points)3. Energy and atmosphere (17 points)4. Materials and resources (13 points)5. Indoor environmental quality (15 points)It’s imperative to have a full understanding of which rating system your project falls under for LEED® certification. If you’re not sure which rating system you should use, you can find more information at the Green Building Council site. The second installment of this series will cover the ins and outs of sustainable sites.