What's the difference between a LEED credit, LEED prerequisite and a LEED point? | U.S. Green Building Council
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Published on
Posted in LEED
Published on
Posted in LEED

This article is part of a series that provides an overview of the fundamental elements to LEED.

LEED points, LEED credits, LEED prerequisites—they all contribute to certification but what’s the difference? In this article we’re going to go over these three fundamental elements and how they help you achieve LEED. In the articles to come, we’ll provide more detailed information about what these look like in each of the LEED rating systems: BD+C, O+M, ID+C, and ND. We’ll also do a special edition on Homes. 


LEED certification means healthier, more productive places, and less stress on the environment by encouraging energy and resource-efficient buildings. While projects can pick and choose the credits they want to pursue, prerequisites are required. They set the minimum requirements that all buildings need to meet in order to achieve LEED certification.

Additionally, fulfilling the requirements of prerequisites will not earn points. Think of them as the foundation, without it you can’t build a building.


These are what truly set your building apart from the rest. You are free to go for any credit you want within your chosen rating system as long as it applies to your project type. Certain credits pair well with certain prerequisites or even other credits—we call that an integrated process—which amounts to synergistic benefits.

If prerequisites are the foundation, then credits are everything else. That is also why credits earn you points. 


The more points the higher the reward. When it comes to LEED there are many rewards ranging from healthier spaces to buildings that save money and resources. The number of points a project earns determines the level of LEED certification it receives. There are four levels of certification:

  • Certified (40-49 points)
  • Silver (50-59 points)
  • Gold (60-79 points)
  • Platinum (80+ points)

Remember credits earn points, prerequisites do not. 

Check out all of the credits and prerequisites in the LEED credit library

In the next article we’re going to go over the prerequisites and credits that make up the LEED for Building Design & Construction (LEED BD+C) rating system.