LEED is a rating tool for assessing the sustainability of buildings and neighborhoods. Developed by the US Green Building Council, LEED goes beyond assessing a building’s energy efficiency and awards credits based on performance in areas such as water savings, material use, indoor environmental quality and site selection and management. It can be used to assess both new developments and existing buildings
Initially used to demonstrate a developer’s or building owner’s dedication to sustainable development, LEED has grown into a well-recognized tool for assessing building quality. Various research reports on building performance have repeatedly shown the superior performance of LEED certified buildings in terms of energy and water use, but also in the less tangible criteria such as building occupant’s satisfaction. The latter is becoming increasingly important as companies and institutions are realizing that the highest cost associated with occupying a property is not rent or energy costs, but the cost of their employees. The indoor environmental quality of green buildings results in reducing employee absenteeism and staff turnover, thus generating benefits well beyond energy and water savings to a building occupier.
Given the advantages that green buildings have over conventional ones, LEED has become a synonym for quality and a market standard. This has made it easier for developers to market their sustainability achievements but it has also proven beneficial to the tenants who can now more easily distinguish between good quality and poor quality space when looking for a building to occupy.