LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is one of the green building rating systems developed by the American Green Building Council (USGBC). Among the international rating systems, LEED, which is the most widely used in the world, reveals sustainable design, construction and operation criteria in building and urban scale. It is a system that identifies buildings that are safer, more environmentally friendly and more economical than traditional buildings.

History of USGBC

USGBC was established more than 20 years ago to develop green and healthy buildings. Rick Fedrizzi, David Gottfried and Mike Italiano set up the USGBC in 1993 to promote sustainability-oriented practices in the building sector and held the first assembly meeting of the Council in the American Institute of Architects meeting room in April with a community of about 60 representatives and volunteers.leed logo

LEED is an international green building rating system for all building types such as hospitals, data centers, historic buildings, and schools. Since the rating was introduced to the market in 2000, hundreds of thousands of square meters of buildings per day are certified as environmentally friendly. The latest version of LEED, enrolled by the USGBC as of October 2016, has been enhanced with LEED v4 being more flexible and taking into account overall user experience. Some of the reasons why LEED v4 is much better than the old versions; Materials: The chemicals in the material are more focused on the impact on human health and the environment. Performance Based: For interior environmental control, the building adopts a more performance-based approach to enhance the comfort of the users. Smart Grid: The advantages of a smart grid approach have been highlighted with a credit that rewards projects that will participate in demand response programs. Water Efficiency: By evaluating the use of total building water, water efficiency is provided more clearly.

What are LEED Certification Levels?

With LEED certification, it is determined by the points that the buildings collect how energy efficient, water efficient and healthy structures are. In order for a structure to be certified, it must first have minimum requirements and compulsory prerequisites. By qualifying these conditions and qualifying to receive a Simple Certificate with a score of at least 40. As the LEED-specified credits are earned, the earned points increase and the certificate level increases. The maximum point is 110.

leed categorys

LEED is rated at 4 levels. These are;LEED Certificate (40-49 points),LEED Silver (50-59 points),LEED Gold (60-79 points),LEED Platinum (80+ points) 

What are LEED Building Types?

LEED BD+C (Building Design + Construction)

It is valid for buildings that are newly built or to be renovated in large scale. Under this type of certificate, building types are divided into subcategories, some requirements vary. These types of buildings; New Buildings, Core and Shell, Schools, Commercial Buildings, Accommodation, Data Centers, Warehouses and Distribution Centers and Health Structures.

LEED O+M (Building Operations and Maintenance)

Developed for existing buildings, the purpose of this certification type is to reduce environmental impacts by improving buildings’ energy, water, material and interior quality performances. Improvement of energy/water efficiency and indoor quality; reduce the operating costs of the building and help to achieve sustainable goals and objectives. There are also subcategories under this type of certificate. These are: the existing buildings, Health Constructions, Data Centers, Warehouses and Distribution Centers, Schools and Commercial Buildings.

LEED ID+C (Interior Design and Construction)

The interior is valid for fit-out projects. The subcategories under this type of certificate are Interior, Health Constructions and Commercial Interiors.

LEED ND (Neighbourhood Development)

It applies to new field development projects or urban regeneration projects involving housing use, non-residential use or mix projects. Projects can be in the field of design development or construction phase.

LEED Homes: It is valid for detached houses, low-floor (one to three floors) or medium-height buildings (four to six floors).

What are the LEED Categories?

 leed credit


Integrated Process Management: Starting from the preliminary design phase, interdisciplinary work and performance and cost analysis of the project, followed by the implementation of the targeted green building strategies from the beginning to the end.

Site Selection & Transportation: To avoid environmental pollution resulting from the selection of the project site and to reduce the amount of carbon released for access to the project location.

Sustainable Lands: Prevention of pollution caused by construction, evaluation of existing site area before design, protection or renewal of habitat, creation of open spaces, restoration of rain water to surface and restoration to ecosystem, reduction of heat island effect and decrease of light pollution.

Water Efficiency: Reducing water consumption inside and outside the building, using alternative water resources to protect natural water resources and measuring water consumption, determine strategies for efficient systems.

Materials & Resources: Raw material use, waste reduction, reuse of materials and recycling.

Energy & Atmosphere: It covers topics such as basic testing and commissioning-validation, advanced testing and commissioning, minimum energy performance, optimizing energy performance, renewable energy, building energy measurement, advanced energy measurement, carbon reduction.

Interior Quality: Reducing the carcinogens that may be present in the interior, provide indoor air quality, to provide daylight and landscape for building users, to provide indoor air quality, thermal, lighting, visual and acoustic comfort.

Innovation in Design: It is intended to support different studies that may be outside the scope of LEED credits but which may be green building applications.

Regional Priority: When the project registration is made, approximately 20 credits determined by the USGBC will be credited to the points where the project is located.

LEED Project Process

LEED Pre-evalution

A one-day workshop for launching LEED studies is being undertaken jointly with LEED consultants, project team, employer, contractor and other project stakeholders, based on projects and site requirements. This work; All project stakeholders will learn about LEED, while at the same time the responsibilities of everyone involved and the level of LEED Certification to be applied are determined. With the conclusion of the preliminary evaluation studies, the project is recorded in the USGBC.


ERKE works together with the project team to develop projects (architectural, electrical, mechanical, infrastructure, landscape) without adversely affecting the process in order to obtain more credits and save energy when necessary in order to meet the requirements in the preliminary evaluation. It is then documented the design credits for review and approval.


During the construction phase of the project, the task of the LEED adviser is to complete the work on completion of construction LEED credits, which can be submitted to the USGBC for review and approval. In addition, the ERKE team responds to the questions of the contractors’ construction management company regarding the LEED certification and provides the necessary resources.

Is the number of green buildings increasing in Turkey and around the World?

The world population has increased exponentially in the last 60 years, reaching 7 billion today from 2.5 billion in 1950. This increase has increased the demand for limited natural energy resources and has led to environmental problems such as global warming, biodiversity loss, water scarcity, reduced water and its quality, deforestation, air pollution caused by automobiles, and health problems. Since buildings are responsible for about 40% of total greenhouse gas emissions, they play a crucial role in achieving sustainable development with the construction industry and business processes. For this reason, green building construction for the building sector is emerging as a necessity, not an alternative today.

Turkey has shown a large increase in demand for energy demands as well as for the ever increasing urban population. Turkey’s LEED-certified year between 2013 and 2014 shows a 258 percent increase in the gross square meter (GSM) amount. This means great energy savings and a positive environmental and economic impact because it accounts for 42 percent of the net electricity consumption of Turkey’s construction industry.

The US Green Building Council (USGBC) ranks eighth in the ranking of the top 10 countries with the highest LEED certification outside the US by the end of 2016. The top three countries were China, Canada and India, respectively.

There are a total of 775 LEED buildings in Turkey. 199 of them are certified and 576 of them are registered. The total square meter is 22.598.592.

Does the construction costs increase in order to obtain LEED Certification?

‘Green Building’ is still a little known in Turkey. Investors are primarily concerned with what the cost will be. However, there is no additional cost for this business except for certification, consulting fees and some simulations. It’s just a conscious job; You’ll do it right from the right point. For example, material selection, aesthetics and robustness, as well as evaluating the effects on human health as well. First of all, green buildings are helping to increase the level of knowledge of all involved persons, partners in the design and construction process, to make more conscious designs and to make more conscious purchases. Since market assumptions are decisive, the more demand there is in this regard, the more investors will be concerned; The number of green buildings will increase as well. Up to LEED Gold, the additional construction cost, which is increased by the amount of work, varies within the range of renewable energy and other innovative systems that will be made at the highest level of the investor, ie at the LEED Platinum level. Besides, considering the economic savings that the certificate will bring to the project in terms of value and efficiency, the extra cost paid mainly for the loss of importance.

As ERKE Sustainable Building Design Consultancy, we work as an interdisciplinary expert team and as an engineering firm, we give confidence to the investor and optimize the solutions we have directed, thus it does not add unnecessary extra cost to the investor.

What are the building owners to know before registering for the LEED Existing Buildings Certification?

First of all, the building owner should work as a team of management, maintenance, cleaning, purchasing, sales and leasing managers. In addition to this team, an experienced LEED consultant firm should be involved. The presence of LEED experts in the consulting firm at many different disciplines is crucial for the effective execution of the process.

The first goal of being a candidate for LEED certification is often to reduce operating and maintenance costs, so testing and commissioning and energy studies are very important. A team of experts in testing and commissioning and energy studies should conduct reviews in the building and the results of these reviews should be presented to the project team as a report on the life cycle analysis. The building owner can get the investment cost back within 2 years with an appropriate test and commissioning process.

It is misguided that these studies will bring additional cost to the building owner. When sustainability studies are carried out, the cost of building operation and maintenance decreases, and when the sales and rental prices rise, the financial return will be achieved in a short period of time.

How should engineering approach be in green buildings?

The foundation of the engineering approach is the energy and water saving, high indoor quality and production / consumption data are kept under full control. Electromechanical systems consist of the highest efficiency components, which are designed according to the results of energy and daylight modeling, evaluating solar utilization and climatic data. In design, building and lighting automation and systems should be operated at maximum efficiency and satisfaction of building users should be targeted with high interior quality.

How should lighting design approach be in green buildings?

A high level of energy efficiency and interior comfort should be targeted in the interior lighting design which does not prevent the architectural elements of the building and which comes to the forefront with its functionality.

What are some important applications in Green Building Practices?

  • Walls and Roof: To reduce the carbon footprint of a building during operation, the material used for thermal insulation is usually increased. This causes an increase in buried carbon footprint. However, this initial investment in insulation costs repays itself in a very short time with proper design and application.
  • Glass and Frames: Glass selection in sustainable buildings is one of the most important criteria in terms of energy efficiency. The values of heat transfer coefficient and shading coefficient of the glasses are of great importance in terms of heating and cooling loads. The 41% glass wall ratio decided at the design stage made this one of the most important criteria in the building. In this context, green buildings are generally preferred to double or triple glass with improved argon gas content.
  • Water Efficiency

The use of water throughout the building should be reduced by using water-saving batteries, double-stage toilet reservoirs and waterless urinals. However, the gray water clean-up system is one of the greenest strategies in sustainable buildings, which is important in terms of water reuse. Water collected from washbasins and showers can be used in areas such as reservoirs, landscaping irrigation, laundry and car wash after biological clean-up.

  • Green Areas and Biodiversity: Biodiversity is one of the important characteristics of sustainable buildings, bringing together social, economic and environmental benefits.
  • Material selection: When selecting materials in sustainable buildings, many attributes such as environmental impact from production, indoor air quality, fast renewable, local material are taken into consideration. At the same time, they must be careful that the wood materials used in the project are certified. Irresponsible forestry; negative environmental impacts such as forest degradation, loss of ecological balance and soil erosion.
  • Indoor Air Quality: The air quality in the interior spaces where we spend most of our time is very important for human health, comfort and productivity. The chemical volatile organic compounds (VOC) that the materials used in the interior give out are easily evaporated into the air by evaporation at room temperature. These chemicals are carbon based and damage the environment at the same time to workers and building users. In this context, ecological materials containing low VOC should be selected in order to increase the quality of indoor air.
  • Transportation: Emissions of greenhouse gases resulting from transport cause a great deal of climate change and environmental pollution. Nevertheless, the use of personal vehicles in particular plays a major role in environmental problems that affect human life negatively. Alternative fuels and low-emission vehicles offer a great opportunity to reduce environmental impacts from transportation.



LEED Sertifika Danışmanlığı




Green Building References