The new LEED version has finally been unveiled! This entry will give you some introductory information and a huge encouragement to review the ratings systems and make comments. LEED’s primary focus continues to be Market Transformation with continuous improvements and rating system development.
As background, I am the substitute for the USGBC Chapter Steering Committee’s liaison to the USGBC LEED Steering Committee, which is like being the 2nd string quarterback. You rarely get to play and no one knows your name, but you have to be at all the games and know what is going on. And this is not a just-show-up-for-the-calls committee. This is the hardest working committee with the support of the hardest working staff in all of USGBC!
So this is a huge milestone for the USGBC whenever new rating systems are unveiled. And yes, it is systems. Every rating system is getting an overhaul and most are fairly major. LEED-ND is the least impacted since it is relatively new. You may find the drafts somewhat elementary and you’ll also notice there are no point values assigned to credits yet! The primary reason is that this public comment period is different than those of the past. This is one is starting much earlier in the overall process with the goal to get feedback and input early.
First the name of the new rating systems. Will it be LEEDv. 4, LEED-2012, LEED- 2013? I’m going to call it LEED-20XX because the XX will change. There is a deadline goal, but the intent is to have open, transparent dialog and if it takes a little longer, then so be it. LEED is going to aggressively push building systems while listening to the market. The new LEED is going to be difficult, but the entire industry is become more challenging. Last week, IECC became 30% more stringent and intends to increase another 30% by 2012.
However, LEED is offering new opportunities for access to allow for more buildings to use LEED to improve their performance. The best example is in EBOM. EA Preq 1 has added a Case 3: Demonstrate Energy Efficiency Improvement. This allows buildings that cannot achieve the minimum Energy Star rating to fulfill this prerequisite by showing a 20% improvement in a 12 month period. This allows entry into EBOM for a whole new group of buildings by encouraging improvement in those projects that need it the most! Its been an impressive balancing act.
So, dive in! Access the new rating systems at: http://www.usgbc.org/DisplayPage.aspx?CMSPageID=2360
EBN got a sneak peek at LEED-20XX and they have an in-depth credit by credit review at: http://www.buildinggreen.com/auth/article.cfm/2010/11/8/Your-Guide-to-the-New-Draft-of-LEED-2012-public-comment-USGBC/
First thing you may notice is new categories. There are 3 new ones.
Integrated Process: The intent of these credits are to fully engage the design team in thinking environmentally-preferably from the very beginning. Points will be earned for LEED charettes at the project’s onset and after SD.
Location and Transportation: Many of these credits will look familiar as most were taken from the Sustainable Site Category. SS is still there, but this new category allowed for credits that had an impact beyond the site. A couple of new credits were taken right from LEED-ND, such as Walkable Streets.
Performance: Measure, measure and measure again. These credits will create buildings that speak to us and tell us what ails them and what makes them and us happy. My favorite: Reconcile Design and Actual Energy Performance.
So, what about the lack of point values being assigned to the credits yet? It’s being worked on right now. There is a new Impact Category System being created now and then credits will be analyzed based on that system and points assigned to credits accordingly. More on that in a separate blog. This is a direct result of getting the system drafts out early for feedback!
One other thing – If you really get into looking at these rating systems, you’ll start to see patterns because they are finally, truly aligned! Big hats off to staff for their effort on this. There are 13 rating systems under the BD+C alignment. This is a realization of the “bookshelf” concept that was talked about so much during the LEED 2009 release. The only one that does not work well is LEED-Neighborhood Development. But I suspect we’ll see more LEED-ND credits finding their way into the other BD+C systems.
So start reviewing and making your comments! The LEED Steering Committee really does look at every comment. Let me know what questions you might have! I’ll also post some more in-depth topics over the next few days.