For a building project to secure Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certification, it must consist of a permanent building built on existing land, include all contiguous land associated with the project, and comply with LEED project size requirements. For LEED certification, neighborhood development projects must include at least two habitable buildings and not exceed 1,500 acres. Existing buildings and those under construction must have at least 1,000 square feet of gross floor area to meet certification standards.
Minimum standards for LEED certification of a home require that the structure meets the definition of "dwelling unit" according to all applicable codes and that of the International Residential Code. While LEED certification is only available for permanent structures, certification is possible for permanently installed prefabricated and modular structures. Similarly, buildings on docks, piers, jetties, infills or other manufactured structures in or above water are eligible for LEED certification if the land has previously supported other structures or hardscapes.
When defining the boundaries for a project seeking LEED certification, developers must include any land altered by the construction and all land containing parking, walkways, septic and storm water treatment or landscaping that is related to the project. Minimum standards for LEED certification of a home require that the structure meets the definition of "dwelling unit" according to all applicable codes, including that of the International Residential Code.
LEED projects earn various levels of certification depending upon the extent to which a project exceeds the minimum certification requirements in areas such as energy efficiency, sustainability, indoor environmental quality or, in the case of neighborhood projects, location and transportation accessibility. The U.S. Green building Council introduced the LEED standards and certifications in March 2000.