Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a term familiar with those in the architecture and design community. In recent years, recognition from LEED has almost become a hackneyed label, but it is still a title that should be carried with pride by those that design and construct buildings worthy of this classification.

With more than 2.4 million square feet of real estate garnering LEED certification every day, it may seem like a low barrier to cross. However, strict guidelines must be followed to be granted this designation and can be lost if protocols are not kept up with.

Designations can be earned in energy, water, electricity and waste reductions. Today, many buildings are built to comply with LEED standards, but the United States Green Building Council, the non-profit established in 1993 that denotes LEED certification, also allows existing structures to qualify if particular changes are made.

Today, we take a look at some of 2018’s most notable LEED certification recipients and how they achieved their status.

It does not require steel and metal to gain LEED certification. “Strategies under Sustainable Sites (SS) address impacts by rewarding decisions about the environment surrounding the building, and emphasizing the vital relationships among buildings, ecosystems and ecosystem services. They focus on restoring project site elements, integrating the site with local and regional ecosystems, and preserving the biodiversity on which natural systems rely,” the USGBC says.

Museums have increasingly become more sustainable. Commercial buildings need to operate as a business themselves, meaning efficiency is critical. This is why so many are looking to save energy, water, and electricity through LEED-standard procedures.

College campuses have begun to use their certification as a recruiting tool to prospective students. USGBC says there are more than 240,000 buildings across 4,100 higher education campuses that have LEED certification of some kind.

Entertainment venues are also becoming more sustainable, saving organizations valuable dollars in a competitive industry.

The public sector is also saving tax payers money by constructing green buildings.