Published 5 Sep 2023
What is a LEED Checklist?
A Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) checklist aims to help building managers, construction workers and designers, engineers, and architects build and maintain sustainable, healthy, efficient, environmentally-friendly, and cost-saving architecture all around the world.
In this article
- Importance of Being LEED Certified
- Levels of LEED Certifications
- Kinds of LEED Certifications
- What to Include in Your LEED Checklist?
- Use Digital Checklists with SafetyCulture (formerly iAuditor)
- Featured Templates
Importance of Being LEED Certified
The LEED certification standards were created by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to set and maintain standards for “green building,” which is a concept centered around reducing negative environmental impact, saving natural resources, and improving human health. This means that a LEED-certified building was created sustainably through humane practices and using earth-friendly means. A LEED certification also means that the building is maintained in such a way that it amplifies its positive effects on the environment and mitigates or completely removes the negative ones.
LEED-certified buildings are also energy-efficient, conserving energy and using renewable energy sources as much as they can. Said buildings are also equipped with waste disposal practices and different mechanisms to preserve or repurpose different sources of energy such as rain or toilet water as energy efficiency is one of the major goals LEED wants to achieve. Buildings with LEED certification are also understood to be conscious of their carbon dioxide emissions and are thus trying to reduce them.
Studies have also shown that LEED-certified buildings are more likely to generate income for building owners and contractors. This is because demand and rent for LEED-certified buildings are higher than non-LEED certified ones and are seen to further increase in value as the years go on.
LEED-certified buildings are also proven to promote better work environments. A 2018 survey showed that 84% of modern employees are now more conscious of their impact on the environment, and so working with employers who implement more earth-friendly efforts is slowly becoming the preferred work environment. Similarly, around 79% of the respondents said they would rather choose a job where the office is inside a LEED-certified building than one that isn’t. Additionally, 85% of employees in LEED-certified buildings have also been found to have happier work lives as having access to natural sunlight, enhanced air circulation, and outdoor views boosts their productivity and happiness.
Levels of LEED Certifications
The levels for LEED certification are determined by the number of points that a project accumulates based on their respective category checklists. Detailed below are the levels and their respective point ranges:
- Certified (40-49 points)
- Silver (50-59 points)
- Gold (60-79 points)
- Platinum (80 points and above)
Kinds of LEED Certifications
There are six purposes or categories wherein LEED can be applied. These are:
- LEED for Building Design and Construction (LEED BD+C): for the creation and major renovations of buildings
- LEED for Operations and Maintenance (LEED O+M): for minor improvement work and construction to existing buildings
- LEED for Interior Design and Construction (LEED ID+C): for complete interior designing and construction
- LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED ND): for any stage of residential land development and redevelopment
Each purpose will require a different checklist specific for it. Regardless, all checklists will contain sections on:
- materials used;
- energy saving and efficiency;
- waste management and disposal; and
- indoor air and environmental quality.
A checklist is essential in attaining and maintaining a LEED certification. The USGBC requires all building owners and contractors interested in having a LEED certification to follow their checklists depending on the kind of building they are working with and the tasks they plan to do.
However, many building owners and contracts also prefer to have an additional checklist for their own use. This is to take into account any other issues that may have been missed in the initial inspection, as well as for frequent maintenance.
What to Include in Your LEED Checklist?
The items included in LEED checklists are quite straightforward. They can also easily be answered with a yes or no and can help create a corrective action to adequately address any potential issues found. The practices consistently observed using a LEED checklist enable relevant stakeholders to increase the chances of being LEED-certified.
Here are several sample questions you can ask in your LEED checklist:
General housekeeping should be observed in any construction area. Consider including these questions in your LEED checklist:
- Are areas clear from debris and clutter?
- Is debris placed in designated areas?
- Are there trash bins provided all over the site?
- Are “No Smoking” signs in place and easily visible?
- Are there no spills observed in the area?
HVAC and Source Control
LEED checklists should allow you to easily identify which areas to check and which practices to follow. HVAC and source control questions can be:
- Are HVAC materials well maintained and protected from the weather?
- Are absorbent materials such as drywall and insulation, stored off the ground in a cool dry place?
- Are filter media maintained in good working condition?
- Are low-emitting materials for paints, adhesives, and caulking, among others, utilized?
- Do work activities keep air-borne dust to a minimal level?
Pathway Interruption and Scheduling
Since the main goal of a LEED checklist is to maintain a sustainable and healthy construction environment, you can ask the following questions concerning pathway interruption and scheduling:
- Are barriers placed in the boundary of excavation areas and finished floors?
- Are mats, poly, tarps, or other temporary materials used to protect areas from dust and overspray?
- Are areas kept ventilated using fans?
- Are regular gas checks performed and reported?
- Are high-pollution activities conducted during off-hours to limit the exposure of workers?
Use Digital Checklists with SafetyCulture (formerly iAuditor)
Consider using a digital checklist app for keeping up with LEED certification requirements and LEED recertification or maintenance. SafetyCulture is an award-winning digital checklist inspection app that can help you with this. SafetyCulture is available on all major desktop and mobile devices, making it easy for you to conduct inspections wherever you are and store your files all in one place for later reference.
Like a traditional checklist, a digital checklist from SafetyCulture can help you keep track of your requirements and compliance level with LEED standards. However, an SafetyCulture checklist gives you the additional advantage of using cloud storage, which provides ease of access and streamlined organization. SafetyCulture also allows for Word, Excel, and PDF integration, making it easier to transfer and edit old checklists in one place and share them with others. There are pre-made LEED checklist templates already available for you to use as well in the Public Library. All SafetyCulture templates are free to use and edit as you see fit.
However, you can do more than just create checklists with SafetyCulture:
- Assign Actions to specific staff members or to external personnel;
- Report Issues observed in inspections and send Heads Up to the entire organization or specific teams about them;
- Add photos, notes, and signatures to inspections;
- Schedule one-off or recurring inspections; and
- View analytical reports of your completed inspections.
Building contractors can use this LEED checklist for New Construction (NC) to ensure that their projects are compliant with LEED standards. It’s a visual checklist that requires photos at every step of the way as proof of compliance.
This LEED HVAC inspection checklist focuses on Chandos Construction’s Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ). Chandos Construction is a North American construction company that aims to help create LEED-compliant buildings, and this is the checklist they use to help them ensure that the quality of air in their buildings is free from pollution and good for everyone.