Published on:

31 January 2024

Updated on:

19 February 2024

Read time:

3 minutes

Julie Hattersley

Design Director

Earning LEED certification for your office space demonstrates your commitment to sustainability and positions your company as an environmental leader.

But what exactly does LEED certification entail, and how does the process work? This guide will break those down, as well as look at alternative certification options for your fit out.

What is LEED certification?

LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is one of the world’s most widely recognised green building rating systems. It provides third-party verification that a building is designed and constructed to achieve high performance standards across various sustainability metrics like energy efficiency, water use, materials selection, and indoor environmental quality.

Developed by the non-profit U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED is applicable globally to all building types including commercial offices, schools, hospitals, data centres, warehouses, hotels, and homes. Over 100,000 projects across 180 countries have achieved some level of LEED certification.

What are the LEED certification levels?

LEED uses a point-based scoring system to assess sustainability measures included in a project. Points are earned across nine categories, with differing requirements based on the project type. The more points achieved, the higher the LEED rating level obtained:

  • LEED Certified: 40-49 points
  • LEED Silver: 50-59 points
  • LEED Gold: 60-79 points
  • LEED Platinum: 80+ points

Only around 12% of all LEED certified projects reach the highest Platinum tier, demonstrating exceptional achievement across metrics like renewable energy use, water recycling, green materials selection, and access to public transit.

What are the benefits of LEED certification?

Aside from the obvious environmental gains, LEED certification delivers attractive benefits for property owners, tenants, developers, and investors:

  • Lower operating costs: LEED buildings consume 25% less energy and 11% less water than typical buildings. They also yield maintenance, waste, and other savings.
  • Healthier spaces: LEED prioritises daylighting, outdoor views, improved ventilation, and reduced exposure to toxins—all of which are linked to greater comfort, wellbeing, and productivity.
  • Competitive advantage: Tenants increasingly favour sustainable spaces, and LEED buildings report lower vacancy rates and faster absorption.
  • Enhanced marketability: LEED certification immediately signals an asset’s high performance qualities to prospective buyers and investors.
  • Community development: The LEED system encourages growth in disadvantaged communities and promotes more equitable project outcomes.

For office tenants, the benefits of occupying LEED certified premises are clear: Lower overheads, happier talents, and elevated brand image.

Achieving LEED certification for office spaces delivers tremendous value for both property owners and office tenants. The LEED assessment process results in measurably higher performing buildings that reduce resource consumption and overhead costs. For tenants, the benefits translate directly to healthier, more comfortable workplaces that help attract and retain talent while enabling companies to make meaningful progress towards critical ESG commitments.

Julie Hattersley, Design Director

How to achieve LEED certification

The process entails six key steps:

  1. Set goals: Establish target certification level and register project.
  2. Meet prerequisites: Adhere to minimum green building requirements.
  3. Earn credits: Incorporate sustainability measures to gain points across rating categories.
  4. Submit documentation: Provide evidence of achievements for certification review.
  5. Achieve certification: Receive certification at Certified, Silver, Gold or Platinum tier.
  6. Consider recertification: Maintain certification every five years through reassessment.
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LEED certification vs. BREEAM certification

While LEED leads in the United States, Europe, and Asia, the UK equivalent is BREEAM, which stands for Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method. At a high level both systems function similarly, issuing independent verifications of a project’s sustainability levels.

LEED and BREEAM use slightly different assessment criteria and scoring approaches. LEED places relatively greater emphasis on metrics like energy performance, while BREEAM focuses more heavily on management processes.

Both systems offer tiered rating levels, with Platinum and Outstanding representing the highest achievement status respectively.

Choosing between LEED and BREEAM often comes down to geographical location and project type considerations around applicability. Many pursue dual certification to satisfy localised market expectations while demonstrating environmental leadership on a global scale.


With climate change accelerating, sustainable office interior design principles are becoming standard practice for forward-looking companies. LEED certification signifies dedication to efficiency, conservation and workplace wellness across real estate portfolios.

For tailored support in advancing green building goals, Office Principles delivers specialised office fit out services embracing the most progressive environmental standards.

Reach out today to evaluate certification options suitable for your next office refurbishment or office relocation project.

Meet the Author

Having worked in the Design and Build industry for almost two decades, Julie has built an illustrious portfolio that reflects talent, creativity and an effortless ability to create inspiring workplaces. Taking pride in her involvement through every step of the design process, Julie is inspired by her clients and relishes dissecting a brief to get to the essence of what will provide the end users with the best experience and improve their working days.