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A Preview of LEED 2009

LEED, Energy

Today’s tip is about the new version of LEED coming out in early 2009 – appropriately titled LEED 2009. The new version of LEED will essentially combine all the rating systems – including new construction, existing buildings, commercial interiors, core and shell, etc. – into one robust library of credits. Facility executives will be able to go to a Web site and enter details about their project, and they’ll receive a list of credits appropriate to their project. The U.S. Green Building Council is referring to this as the “bookshelf” approach, because all the credits are on one shelf, and you only take down the ones that are applicable to your project. For instance, if the project is a new construction office building, the credits you use will be almost exactly like LEED for New Construction rating system is now. But if you’re building a mixed-use development, you may get some Core and Shell credits, some retail credits, and some New Construction credits.

Another change USGBC is making is re-weighting the credits so that issues like energy efficiency and climate change become more important, and can thus garner more points. USGBC likens this redistribution of points to a rebalancing of an investment portfolio. Another change is that regional factors will be considered in LEED 2009. USGBC is giving its regional chapters a chance to weigh in on particular credits that should be weighted more heavily in their areas.

Overall, USGBC’s new bookshelf approach to LEED should streamline the rating system and make it easier to use. Project teams will no longer have to worry about which rating system applies to their project. And the new approach will allow USGBC to make changes to LEED on an ongoing basis, rather than having to release a new rating system every few years or so.

USGBC has said that if you’ve begun a project under a current LEED, not to worry. Your project will still be able to go through the certification process as planned. Again, LEED 2009 should be released in early 2009.


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