LEED is a building assessment system that evaluates how environmentally friendly and sustainable a building is. Points are awarded for each category and certification levels are granted based on overall point totals. Certification is evaluated on these categories: sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, and innovation and design process. In the most recent version of LEED bonus points are also awarded for certain items within these categories that have been given regional priority by local USGBC chapters.
An Example: Sustainable Sites
In evaluating whether a location is environmentally suitable for building, considerations include preserving local habitats and protecting farmland. Elements of a building's design plan could address these issues. For example a green roof could be constructed to replicate certain habitats for birds. These considerations of land preservation and the rights of creatures living in an environment have taken on new importance over the last century in the United States.