U.S. GBC releases LEED 2012

Posted on December 21, 2010 by


Last month, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) released a draft of the next version of the LEED rating systems for public comment . USGBC’s states that the goals for the next version of LEED are

  • Increase emphasis on integrated process and building performance
  • Harmonize inefficient duplication of LEED credits
  • Streamline project team engagement with LEED

USGBC has stated that the release of high-performance green building codes is a clear evidence that the market has transformed since the last LEED update. This higher emphasis on integrated process and building performance will primarily be achieved by updating the LEED credit category structure.

The update to version is expected to happen through significant stakeholders participation in the evolution process of LEED. After two rounds of comments, projected date for the release of the new version of the rating system is November 7, 2012. The current version of the LEED system is denominated LEED 2009. The draft version has been named LEED 2012.

A Selection of Proposed Changes and Additions (LEED-NC)

Some of the proposed changes and additions set forth in LEED-NC 2012 are as under

New Integrated Process (IP)

The intent of this credit is to develop an early understanding of the relationships between technical systems, natural systems and occupants within a building project, its site, its context, and its intended use. It aims to engage all key project team members for the purpose of making cost- and environmentally-effective integrated decisions throughout the design and construction process. This is basically the integrated project delivery method, with its team-based approach, and incorporates it into a LEED rating system credit.

New Location and Transportation (LT)

This LT category is largely a recycled and enlarged version of credits from the old Sustainable Sites category. Bicycle Storage is a LT prerequisite. Walkable Streets is a new LT credit. There are a number of required features, including, principal functional entry on the front façade facing a public space ( and not a parking lot), and continuous sidewalks or equivalent all-weather provisions for walking on the project site.

Sustainable Sites (SS)

The Heat Island Reduction credit, which is two credits–roof and non-roof–in LEED 2009, is combined into one credit.

Water Efficiency (WE)

Landscape Water Use Reduction is a new pre-requisite. All projects with a minimum of 1,000 square feet of exterior vegetated surface area are required to reduce irrigation water to or below a 30% baseline as established by the EPA’s WaterSense Water Budget Tool.

Another new prerequisite is the appliance and process water use reduction. Certain residential and commercial water-consuming appliances and water-consuming processes must meet minimum performance requirements.

Cooling Tower Makeup Water is another new WE credit . This credit has a number of requirements to conserve water used for cooling tower makeup while controlling microbes, corrosion, and scale in the condenser water system.

Energy and Atmosphere (EA)

A new EA credit, Demand Response, intends to “reduce regional carbon emissions and improve and enhance the optimization of electric generation, transmission and distribution resources.” The options to attain this credit are as follows: (1) participate in a demand response program; or (2) implement permanent peak load shifting measures.

Materials and Resources (MR)

Additional MR prerequisites recently incorporated in the program include Minimum Recycled Content and Construction and Demolition Waste Management Planning. A new MR credit is Whole Building Reuse, the intent of which is to “respect local landmarks and conserve material and cultural resources by encouraging the preservation and adaptive use of underused buildings.” The options are as follows: (1) historic building reuse; or (2) renovation of abandoned or blighted building.

Indoor Environmental Quality (EQ)

The Construction Indoor Air Quality Management Plant–During Construction credit would become a prerequisite under LEED 2012. The new Low-Emitting Interiors credit combines the several Low-Emitting Materials credits in LEED 2009. The building interior is organized into five systems: flooring, ceiling, walls, thermal and acoustic insulation, and furniture.

The Daylight credit calculation options include (1) Simulation — Daylight Autonomy; (2) Simulation — Illuminance Calculations; or (3) Measurement. The EQ Daylight and Views credit would become Quality Views, with criteria to provide building occupants with prescribed lines-of-sight to the natural outdoor environment.

New Performance (PF)

Fundamental Commissioning has been shifted from the EA category and renamed Fundamental Commissioning and Verification and contains enhanced requirements. Similarly, Enhanced Commissioning has been shifted for the EA category and contains more options and requirements. A new prerequisite is Water Metering and Reporting, which intends to “promote water efficiency by providing accurate consumption data to building managers.” by mandating metering of all water conveyed to the project, regardless of the source.

Building-Level Energy Metering is a new pre-requisite, which has the intent to meter, track and share building-level resource use to encourage energy management and support LEED program evaluation.

This list is only a selection of proposed changes and additions to the LEED rating system. The reader can learn more by visiting the USGBC website and review the entire proposed draft.

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