LEED Certification: Become a LEED Certified Building

You have made a good choice in deciding to get your building project LEED-certified. Many individuals in the construction industry are moving towards this certification, and reaping the benefits. Now that you are ready to pursue LEED certification, there a few steps you must follow. We will break them down for you below:

*Note: This Guide is for LEED BD+C, LEED ID+C, and LEED O+M only*

Step One: Register

Before you begin, you want to make sure your project meets all of the LEED minimum requirements. To register, you can visit LEED online (https://www.leedonline.com/). From this website, you will be prompted to create a login, fill out your application, submit a payment, and sign the certification agreement. The site also has a variety of tools & resources for your convenience.

Step Two: Apply

To apply, you must gather the appropriate documentation so GBCI can review your project. You can find all this information, after you register online. Apply by submitting your completed certification application through their website and paying a certification review fee. This is a good time to get your team together and assign them to gather all the data LEED requires. It will require a lot of spreadsheet calculations for each credit category.

Here Is an example of a Water Efficiency Form With the Appropriate Calculations.
Water Use Reduction 
Systems Construction cost (Relative percentage)
Construction cost ($ per fixture)

Annual maintenance per fixture

Raw water savings contribution compared to standard fixture

High Performance 
Water closets

A. Standard (1.6 GPF)


B. Low-flow (1.28 GPF)


C. Manual dual flush (1.6/1.1 GPF)


D. Sensor dual flush (1.6/GPF)


E. Composting (0.0 GPF)

379%-464%$2,950 100%
Residential Lavatory Faucet (see notes)

F. Standard (2.2 GPM)

G. Reduced flow (1.8 GPM)102%$510$018%
Commercial Lavatory Faucet 
H. Low-flow (0.5 GPM)100%$600$00%

I. Sensor low-flow (0.5 GPM)


J. Sensor turbine low-flow (0.5 GPM)


K. Standard (1.0 GPF)


L. Low-flow (0.5 GPF)


M. Ultra low-flow (0.125GPF)

N. Waterless*90%-110%$650$20


Certification fees are based on each LEED rating system, and the project size. These fees cover both the preliminary and final reviews. (Registration and certification fees are subject to change and are calculated on the dates of registration and verification submission.)

*Please note: Discounted pricing options are available for USGBC members*

The following fees are based on the LEED Building Design and Construction rating system

LEED BD+C Per BuildingSilver, Gold, and Platinum MembersOrganizational or Non-Members




Flat fee (per building)


Expedited review (reduces from 20-25 business days to 10-12, available based on GBCI review capacity)

Combined Certification Review: Design + Construction Rate Min.RateMin.

Project gross floor area (excluding parking): less than 250,000 sq. ft.

$0.057 per sq. ft.$2,850$0.068 per sq. ft. $3,420

Project gross floor area (excluding parking): 250,000 - 499,999 sq. ft.

$0.055 per sq. ft. $14,250 $0.066 per sq. ft. $17,100

Project gross floor area (excluding parking): 500,000 - 749,000 sq. ft. 

$0.055 per sq. ft.  $0.060 per sq. ft. $33,000

Project gross floor area (excluding parking): more than 7750,000 sq. ft.

Contact GBCIContact GBCI

Expedited review (reduce from 20-25 business days to 10-12, available based on GBCI review capacity


Step Three: Review

After you have submitted your application and paid the fee, GBCI will conduct a thorough review. Each review will vary depending on the structure of your building, and will differ from project to project. Generally, each review is broken down into three parts:

Preliminary Review

GBCI will respond within 20-25 days of receiving your application online. They will check your application for completeness and compliance with your selected rating system, and then indicate which prerequisites and credits will be awarded, are pending, or denied.

Final Review (Optional)

This review allows you to submit supplementary information or amend your application. GBCI suggests that you submit any additional information within 25 days of receiving your preliminary review. GBCI, will then review your application again, and indicate any anticipated credits that are awarded or denied. After an additional 20-25 days, you have the opportunity to either accept the final review, or appeal it.

Appeal Review (Optional + Additional Fees May Apply)

This review provides another round of amendments or changes to be done to your application, if you should choose to do so.

Step Four: Certify

After going through the review process, you are almost done! Once your final review is completed and either accepted or appealed, GBCI will certify your building project with one of the four certification levels.

What Are the Minimum Requirements for LEED Certification?

  • Comply with environmental laws
  • Be a complete, permanent building
  • Use a reasonable site boundary
  • Comply with project size requirements
  • Comply with minimum floor area requirements
  • Comply with minimum occupancy requirements
  • Commit to sharing whole-building energy and water usage data
  • Comply with a minimum building area to site area ratio

Recommended Reading

LEED certification identifies the design and construction of a building that’s energy efficient, water-efficient, and follows sustainable waste-reducing practices. Score high in each credit category to achieve one of four levels: certified, silver, gold, or platinum certifications.

LEED certification demonstrates steps taken to ensure a building’s durability, energy-efficiency, and its impact on the environment. Becoming LEED certified provides assurance that your building’s design and operation exist at the highest environmental standards.

A LEED Green Associate means an introductory level of accreditation which signifies a general understanding of the LEED rating system. The LEED exam to become a Green Associate are administered by the national testing agency Prometric and are run by GBCI.

Shakir Williams
Shakir Williams

A true creative with a penchant for the spiritual and natural order. She loves the Earth, almost as much as she loves writing about it.

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