LEED v4™ identifies seven impact categories that define the environmental issues that LEED® projects are tasked with addressing. The categories are focused on the overall themes of climate change, human health, water resources, biodiversity, material resources, a greener economy, and community. LEED® uses these impact categories as a performance-based framework. This framework, consisting of prerequisites and credits, is used by the building industry in the project accreditation process.
According to the USGBC®, the LEED® certification structure uses these impact categories and incentivizes increased credit achievement and compliance. LEED® credits are analyzed in a matrix style across all seven categories. Impact categories are broken down into key indicators — also referred to as foundational components — for LEED v4™.
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