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The LEED System Rating Chart – How to Know When to Use Each

It’s important to know exactly what kind of projects are used for each LEED rating system, no matter which exam you plan on taking. You will more than likely be asked questions about this on the exam, so I created this helpful chart to organize all of the information for you.

Note that the Building Design & Construction reference guide and exam includes information about LEED for New Construction, LEED for Core & Shell and LEED for Schools, all in one.

LEED Rating SystemReference Guide / ExamDescription (When to Use)
New Construction (NC)
BD+C•New buildings
•Major renovations: HVAC, envelope & interior rehabilitation
•Commercial occupancies: offices, institutional, hotels, residential with 4 or more stories
•Shared tenant space: occupy more than 50% of leasable sq. ft.
Core & Shell (CS)BD+C•Developer controls core & shell but not tentant fit-out
•Commercial & medical office bldgs, retail centers, warehouses
•Shared tenant space: occupy less than 50% of leasable sq. ft.
SchoolsBD+C•K thru 12 Only
•New schools & renovations of existing
•Following can be used for LEED for Schools or NC:
-non-academic buildings: admin offices, maintenance facilities, dorms
-postsecondary academic & prekindergarten buildings
Existing Building: Operations & Maintenance (O&M)EB: O&M•Applies to buildings new to LEED or previously certified under NC, CS or Schools
•Commercial occupancies: offices, institutional, hotels, residential with 4 or more stories
•Applicable for:
-building operations
-process & system upgrades
-minor space-use changes, facility alterations & additions
•Individual tenant spaces do not apply
Commercial Interior (CI)ID+C•For tenant spaces:
-office, retail & institutional
-tentant spaces that don't occupy entire building
•Works hand-in-hand with LEED for CS.
HomesHomes•New residences & major re-models
-single-family, low-rise multi family, affordable housing, production, manufactured & modular housing
Neighborhood Development (ND)ND•For developmental projects:
-neighborhoods (whole, fraction or multiple)
-smaller infill projects
-larger mixed use developments

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