A Certification-Seeker's Approach to the LEED Process: Identifying Trends and Understanding Motivations

Prateek Jain, Purdue University


Buildings are not manufactured products; their design, construction and operation are necessarily complicated and specialized endeavors. Heavy customization according to local conditions and functional requirements implies that ‘sustainability’ has different meanings for different buildings. Mindful of this diversity, US Green Building Council’s (USGBC) flagship building certification program, LEED, provides a cross-cutting tool to define and evaluate best practices in sustainable design, construction and operation. This makes LEED inherently flexible—giving certification-seekers the opportunity to choose strategies they will pursue to score points on the LEED scorecard. Taking advantage of this flexibility, projects approach LEED in a variety of ways and no two LEED-certified buildings are exactly the same. In this thesis, the author first identifies those building types that deviate from the general trend of achievement rates for a particular LEED credit, following which the ground reasons leading to this deviation are investigated via industry survey. This helps certification-seekers to better formulate their LEED strategies and the USGBC to make data-driven adjustments to the scorecard, as well as justify dedicated rating systems for different building types and alternate compliance paths.




Alter, Purdue University.

Subject Area

Civil engineering

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