LEED certification for schools
LEED is the world’s premier green building certification system and applies to all buildings at all phases of development (design, construction, operations and maintenance). LEED buildings and communities can be found in over 180 countries around the globe, with around 2.2 million square feet being certified daily. The LEED certification process is designed to inspire project teams to seek innovative solutions that are better for our environment and better for our communities. Find LEED-certified schools near you.
To achieve certification
LEED projects are third-party verified, which proves performance and helps guarantee that each LEED project saves energy, water and other resources. Third-party verification also affirms the integrity of green building commitments by guaranteeing that project teams are delivering on design plans and goals.
To achieve certification, projects choose which credits within the system are right for their project. Teams first decide what is most important for their community and local environment and then apply strategies to earn points across several sustainability topics, including:
|Integrative thinking: promotes reaching across disciplines to incorporate diverse team members during the pre-design period
|Energy: focuses on reducing energy demand through efficiency, then rewards renewable energy
|Water: addresses indoor use, outdoor use, specialized uses and whole-building-level water metering
|Materials and waste: encourages using sustainable building materials and reducing waste and includes a special focus on usage, life-cycle and transparency
|Location and transportation: includes an emphasis on advanced performance metrics to reward projects within relatively dense areas, near diverse uses, with access to a variety of transportation options, or on sites with development constraints
|Sustainable sites: rewards decisions about the environment surrounding the building, and emphasizes the vital relationships among buildings, ecosystems and ecosystem services
|Health and human experience: focuses on providing high-quality indoor environments that enhance productivity, decrease absenteeism and improve the building’s value
|Innovation: recognizes innovative building features and sustainable building practices and strategies
|Regional impacts: encourages project teams to focus on their local environmental priorities
Based on the number of points achieved, a project receives a LEED rating level: Certified, Silver, Gold, or Platinum.
Getting started with LEED
Step 1: Select the rating system that best fits your project. There are two options for structures serving K-12 education:
- LEED for Building Design and Construction: Schools
Construction or renovation of buildings dedicated to K-12 learning
- LEED for Operations and Maintenance: Schools
Day-to-day operation of existing buildings dedicated to K-12 learning
Step 2: Set goals. Woven throughout the newest version of LEED, project teams will find strategies to improve performance, both at the required (prerequisite) level and at the optional (credit) level. The team should set goals that make the most sense for their community and local environment and then match the credits that support those goals. Using the LEED credit library, teams can support their goals by selecting the associated strategies.
Step 3: Equip your project with the right tools. LEED Reference Guides are available for each rating system to help project teams understand each credit and prerequisite. A comprehensive online toolkit also guides teams to key supplemental material for LEED projects like addenda and sample forms.
Arc performance platform
Arc is a free online building performance platform that communicates a school building’s sustainability performance data in one easy-to-read score and graphic: energy, water, waste, transportation, and air quality.
Learn tips for using Arc in schools and explore how the platform can support your school’s maintenance and operations and sharpen your student’s analysis and problem-solving skills with the Building Learners program.