When we notice a certification label of any kind we acknowledge that a third-party has verified a claim of meeting specific standards is true and correct. LEED Certification means that a building’s sustainable performance claims were verified by a disinterested, third-party who is not beholden to anyone associated with the design, construction, operations or maintenance of the certified entity.
Sustainable certifications exist in many industries. Several sustainable certifications can be found in your grocery store. When you see products with labels such as ‘Organic’, ‘Fair Trade certified’, ‘Food Alliance certified’, ‘Marine Stewardship Council’ certified, and ‘Non-GMO’ certified, the consumer is assured that those products meet established standards of those certifications. That claims made by the manufacturer or producer is verified to be true.
In order for a product to display the ‘Organic’ label, a producer’s organic operations must demonstrate that they are protecting natural resources, conserving biodiversity, and using only approved substances as stated in the Organic Food Production Act, USDA Organic Regulations, and the National Organic Program Handbook. The ‘Organic Certification’ is third-party verified by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and a USDA-accredited certifying agent.
Akin to ‘Organic’ certification there are regionally, nationally, and internationally recognized certifications for buildings, neighborhoods, sites and even roadway infrastructure. As with the example of ‘Organic’, LEED certification for buildings and neighborhoods must meet established, proven measures and be third-party verified. A feature that makes LEED certification so credible and widely accepted is its dual-level third-party verification process, the first of which is the commissioning requirement. Commissioning is a vital process that requires oversight by a skilled, trained professional who ensures that energy and control systems are installed and operating as specified. The second is the LEED verification documentation process, administrated by Green Business Certification, Inc., an arm of the U.S. Green Building Council, the non-governmental organization that authors the LEED rating system. It is this dual third-party verification combined with the rigor of credit requirements that makes LEED the preeminent performance green building rating system in the United States and fast becoming so in a dozen other nations.
When you own, live, work, or study in a LEED certified building you can be confident that its design, construction, and/or operations has addressed key sustainability, performance elements such as the site in which the building sits, the building’s water and energy consumption, the materials used in its construction, and its indoor environmental quality.