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What is LEED Certified?

Magellan Development Group demonstrates its commitment to the environment by ensuring all its design and construction projects are LEED-certified. For example, 340 on the Park, a residential tower in Lakeshore East, is the first residential building in the Midwest to be awarded Silver LEED certification. Magellan’s Aqua condominium tower–also in Lakeshore East–is home to the first public electric-vehicle charging station in the Midwest. Aqua Apartments’s hardwood flooring is made of renewable bamboo, and all its faucets and fixtures are designed to promote water conservation without sacrificing performance. Magellan provides options to rent apartments in Chicago and reduce environmental impact at the same time.  So what does it mean to be LEED-certified?

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification is awarded to a building or community that meets an internationally-recognized standard for environmental friendliness. LEED-certified buildings are designed and built with sensitivity to resource use, external environmental impact, indoor environmental quality, CO2 emissions, energy conservation, and water efficiency.

LEED certification is granted by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the organization that first developed LEED and continues to refine the existing standards. The goal of the USGBC is to provide straightforward and achievable guidelines for the planning, building, operation, and maintenance of green developments. There are LEED standards for commercial as well as residential construction projects.

9 LEED Rating Systems

There are nine LEED rating systems, each based on the type of project. These nine systems are:

1. New Construction and Major Renovations

2. Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance

3. Commercial Interiors

4. Core & Shell

5. Schools

6. Retail

7. Healthcare

8. Homes

9. Neighborhood Development

Each rating system has its own set of weighted criteria. Every rating system except Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance grades projects only on their design and construction phases. The Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance rating system evaluates the operations of a building, rather than its design or construction.

To achieve LEED certification, a project must score a 40 out of a possible 100 points (there are also 10 possible bonus points). A score of 40 means the project has met all the minimum requirements in its rating system. Additional points are awarded for achievement beyond the minimum; additional points result in higher levels of LEED certification status. Specifically, a score of 40-49 means a project is “Certified”, 50-59 means “Silver” certification, 60-79 means “Gold” certification, and 80+ means “Platinum” certification.

Points can be awarded in nine categories, though a given rating system doesn’t necessarily use all nine. Each system uses the categories appropriate to it and weights each category differently. Here’s a breakdown of the nine categories:

9 Categories Where Points Are Awarded

1. Sustainable Site-Points awarded for avoiding undeveloped land, consideration of local ecosystems, minimizing erosion, and reducing construction-related and light pollution.

2. Water Efficiency-Points awarded for reducing water usage through efficient appliances and fixtures, plus utilizing water-wise landscaping.

3. Energy & Atmosphere: Points awarded for efficient use of energy/electricity as well as the use of on- or off-site renewable and clean energy sources.

4. Materials & Resources: Points awarded for reducing waste generated by construction and operation, recycling and reusing materials, and using sustainably-grown and -transported supplies.

5. Indoor Environmental Quality: Points awarded for improved air quality, use of natural daylight and views, and better acoustics.

6. Locations & Linkages: Points awarded to homes integrated into existing infrastructure and near open spaces.

7. Awareness & Education: Points awarded for educating green home buyers on making the most of their home’s unique features.

8. Innovation in Design: Bonus points awarded for new ideas and technologies used in the design and construction of the project.

9. Regional Priority: Bonus points awarded for projects that prioritize the most pressing local environmental concerns.