LEED Certification for Interior Design

LEED for Commercial Interiors is a green building rating system for tenant spaces in office, retail and institutional buildings developed by the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).

There are currently two versions of the Commercial Interiors rating system: LEED 2009 and LEED v4.  The 2009 version, released in 2009, is the older version of the rating system.  The new version, v4, was released in November 2013 and was designed to focus more heavily on building performance, rather than just design.

Many of the rating system's credits have been updated or deleted in the new rating system, and new ones have been added. Both the 2009 and v4 versions of Commercial Interiors are structured in the same way.  Certification is awarded to new construction projects that meet all prerequisites and achieve a certain number of points in multiple sustainability categories:

  • Sustainable Sites
  • Water Efficiency
  • Energy and Atmosphere
  • Materials and Resources
  • Indoor Environmental Quality
  • Regional Priority and Innovation in Design

Free LEED Green Associate Practice ExamIn LEED v4, there are two new credit categories: Location & Transportation and Integrative Process.  LEED certified projects are high performance, have less of an impact on the environment, are healthier for occupants, and are more profitable than conventional buildings. According to USGBC, LEED buildings cost less to operate and maintain.

LEED Prerequisites are required credits in the LEED green building rating system. These credits must be met in order for a project to earn LEED certification. Each credit category in the LEED rating systems has at least one prerequisite credit, with the exception of Innovation in Design (ID).

A LEED Credit is an optional section of the LEED green building rating system that contains guidelines for a specific component of the green building project. Projects are awarded a specific number of points for meeting the guidelines set forth in a LEED credit. These points correlate to a certification level. In the ID+C rating systems, buildings can achieve the following certification levels:

Certified: 40-49 points
Silver: 50-59 points
Gold: 60-79 points
Platinum: 80+ points
There are 100 base points, 6 Innovation in Design points, and 4 Regional priority points.

Any building professional can help with a LEED certification project. However, the LEED AP Interior Design + Construction credential demonstrates the exceptional expertise of professionals participating in the design, construction and improvement of commercial interiors and tenant spaces that offer a sustainable, healthful and high-performance work environment. Therefore, having a LEED AP ID+C onboard your LEED for Interiors project would be an advantage, because they have knowledge and experience with LEED.


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