LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) in 2000. LEED is an internationally recognized mark which is a source of information for building owners and tenants instructing them how to implement practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions. LEED recognizes building performance in five key areas: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality. The certification process is managed by an accredited individual named LEED Accredited Professional. 

The final levels of certification are: Certified, Silver, Gold, Platinum. 

The following are a sample of LEED Rating Systems that guide and distinguish high-performance buildings: 


• New Construction – dedicated to commercial and institutional



• Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance applicable to 


existing commercial buildings; 


• Commercial Interiors aimed to certify green interiors; 

• Core & Shell is a green building rating system for designers, builders, developers and new building owners who want to address sustainable design for new core and shell construction; 

• Homes - promotes the design and construction of high-

performance green homes; 

• Neighbourhood Development - promotes the design and construction of high-performance neighbourhoods.

The systems most commonly used in the CEE and SEE are: LEED 

for New Construction and LEED for Core & Shell. They are used mainly for office or commercial buildings. 



BREEAM - (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method) was first launched in 1990. 


BREEAM recognizes building performance in nine key areas: 


Management, Energy, Water, Land Use & Ecology, Health & Well-being, Transport, Materials, Waste and Pollution. The certification process is managed by an accredited individual named BREEAM Assessor. BREEAM can be used to assess the environmental performance of any type of building, new and existing, anywhere in the world. BREEAM is an internationally recognised brand across the world, setting the standard for sustainability in the built environment. 

The final levels of certification are: Pass, Good, Very Good, Excellent and Outstanding. 

There are also international BREEAM schemes: 

• BREEAM Gulf (for any building type); 

• BREEAM Europe Commercial (Offices, Retail and Industrial). 

A BREEAM assessment can be carried out at the above stages for the following types of building projects only: 


• Whole new buildings; 

• Major refurbishments of existing buildings; 

• New build extensions to existing buildings; 

• A combination of new-build and existing building refurbishment; 

• New build or refurbishments which are part of a larger mixed use 


• Building fit-out.


Who uses LEED and BREEAM?

• Design teams use them as a method to improve the performanceof their buildings at the design stage of the investment; 

• Managers / Owners use them to reduce running costs and improve the performance of buildings; 

• Property consultants use them to promote the environmental benefits of a building to potential purchasers and tenants; 

• Developers, Funds use them to compare the sustainability performance of their buildings in a way that is comprehensive and visible in the marketplace.


Key features of LEED/BREEAM certified buildings: 

• Healthy indoor environment for tenants; 

• Low consumption of water and electrical energy; 

• Reduction of harmful greenhouse gas emissions; 

• Reduction of waste sent to landfills; 

• Lower operating costs.


The Rationale Behind It All 


Global warming is a sign of our times. Human activity causes climatic changes because of greenhouse gas emissions and the consumption of fossil fuels like coal, gas or oil, of which sources are limited. Design and construction of sustainable buildings is a way to protect both the natural environment and human health. The building industry has huge impact on the natural environment. It is estimated that buildings consume approximately 40% of energy and produces approximately 35 % of greenhouses in the EU Electricity is most often generated by burning fossil fuels whose combustion releases carbon dioxide and other gases which contribute to climate change. Green buildings reduce the amount of energy required for building operations which results in lower operating costs.

Energy generation from renewable sources such as solar, wind and biomass avoids air and water pollution. Renewable energy minimizes acid rains, smog, climate change and human health issues resulting from air pollution. In addition, buildings generate a large amount of waste which is often sent to landfills every year. Sustainable buildings can reduce the quantity of waste through responsible waste management and materials selection. 

It is also very important to remember about recycling which provides materials for new products, decreases the need for raw materials and preserves landfill spaces. Recycling of batteries or fluorescent light bulbs prevents air and water pollution. Reuse and recycling can also save money as it reduces the cost of waste disposal. As far as the indoor environment is concerned, people spend an average of 90% of their time inside so, the quality of the indoor environment has a significant influence on their well-being, productivity and health. It can reduce the number of absences at work (due to sick leaves).The building service installations, particularly mechanical ventilation systems, should provide a high level of indoor quality. An easy way to prevent indoor environmental quality problems is to use materials which do not release harmful chemical compounds.


Source: Going Green 2020, Jones Lang LaSalle