Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is an internationally recognized green building certification system developed by the US Green Building Council (USGBC). It provides third-party verification that a building or community was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving performance across all the metrics that matter most: energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts3.
In order to qualify for LEED certification buildings must comply with all prerequisites and obtain a certain number of credits. A designation of certifified, silver, gold, or platinum is assigned based on the number of points awarded by the certifying agency.
The credit system is divided up under a number of categories; Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality, Innovation in Design and Regional Priority. For more details of the individual credits and how to earn them go to http://www.usgbc.org/.