LEED Certification, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is both a professional certification in sustainable building practices, and a grading scale on a structure’s environmental impact and sustainability (USGBC, 2008). A LEED certified professional is recognized as having completed the required course of curriculum in LEED and has successfully passed the LEED Certification exam. This allows a LEED certified professional to be able to work with colleagues of the construction industry in all aspects of a project to develop a LEED certified structure. Using LEED ensures a structure to be designed and built with the utmost attention to detail to assure that the structure is as environmentally friendly as
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Commissioning is a prerequisite of the LEED process. Commissioning involves an outside team of individuals that is not part of the design and construction team. The area of responsibility is to ensure compliance of “fundamental building elements and systems” with the LEED guidelines. The estimate commissioning cost is to be in the range of 0.5 percent to three percent of construction costs (DCD, 2008).
LEED has certain requirements on architects and engineers because these designers must assess how a project could best attain certification and prepare the design and specifications to reflect these additional requirements. In either case, participating in the LEED process adds time and effort to the design and specification phase of a project. The estimate is that traditional design costs range from eight to twelve percent of construction costs, and then the additional design costs for green buildings are in the range of 0.4 percent to 0.6 percent of the total construction cost.
A significant weigh down of the LEED system is the need to document compliance with the various criteria in order to submit a package to the GBC for review and a decision on certification. This requires the establishment of a tracking and reporting system, which is often performed by a LEED consultant, rather than the design and construction team itself, and the tracking down of information that otherwise is not standard