LEED was set up in the US, largely inspired by and based on BREEAM. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, and is run by the USGBC. David Strong from BRE says the Americans jumped ahead of the green building movement by setting up the USGBC, and that LEED was set up to provide a set of services to the American building industry. LEED is a registered trade mark and a brand name. It’s part of a keen commercial mindset at USGBC, who have attracted over 6,500 paying members bringing in over $24 million a year. It is this massive success that the UKGBC is hoping to replicate.


The USGBC, says that LEED was created to; 

  1. – define “green building” by establishing a common standard of measurement.
  2. – promote integrated, whole-building design practices.
  3. – recognize environmental leadership in the building industry.
  4. – stimulate green competition.
  5. – raise consumer awareness of green building benefits.
  6. – transform the building market.



BREEAM stands for the BRE Environmental Assessment Method, and was invented by BRE, a building research organisation funded mainly by the government. Based in the UK this organisation seeks to provide relevant research and information to the building industry, about what kind of methods would best support environmental protection and sustainable development. According to the BREEAM website (www.breeam.org), ‘BREEAM assesses the performance of buildings in the following areas:

  1. - Management: overall management policy, commissioning site management and procedural issues.
  2. – Energy use: operational energy and carbon dioxide (CO2) issues.
  3. – Health and well-being: indoor and external issues affecting health and well-being.
  4. – Pollution: air and water pollution issues.
  5. – Transport: transport-related CO2 and location-related factors.
  6. – Land use: greenfield and brownfield sites.
  7. – Ecology: ecological value conservation and enhancement of the site.
  8. – Materials: environmental implication of building materials, including life-cycle impacts.
  9. – Water: consumption and water efficiency.