Public Scrutiny to Grill USGBC Proposal on LEED Rating System

August 01, 2011 / William Thomson, Green Homes Expert

The U.S. Green Building Council has sought public comment for the second time for the proposed 2012 update to its LEED green building rating system.

Public Scrutiny to Grill USGBC Proposal on LEED Rating System

The USGBC previously launched the LEED Volume Program for Operations and Maintenance that puts into standard practice large-scale green building certifications for existing facilities, which was first made available to existing green building projects during the 2011 BOMA International Conference held in Washington, D.C.

On the other hand, the comment period for the new LEED rating system, which will close on September 14, 2011, is the next step in the continuous improvement process and on-going development of the LEED program.

“During the first public comment period, we collected just under 6,000 constructive comments and recommendations on the proposed drafts, which place heightened emphasis on an integrative process and uilding performance,” said Scot Horst, Senior Vice President, USGBC.

“We have also integrated feedback received from project teams who have been pilot testing draft credits in the LEED pilot credit library. We invite members of the engaged, worldwide green building community to take part in the process of further refining and enhancing the LEED program.”

The USGBC has posted the updated LEED rating system drafts and responses to comments received during the first round of public comment period for review.

“As promised at the outset of first public comment, the credits in the proposed LEED 2012 rating systems have been allocated points based on a weightings process similar to the process used for 2009, but based on impact categories developed by USGBC specifically for use in LEED,” the green building council said.

“These impact categories more directly align outcomes sought by LEED with USGBC’s market transformation goals.

“The weightings/point allocation process informed many changes in the rating system, including organizational changes proposed for the Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) and Materials and Resources (MR) credit categories.”

The organizational revisions proposed for the IEQ section provide a “more refined” focus on air quality, lighting and acoustics, in addition to improved incentives for testing and verification.

The organizational revisions proposed for the MR credit category reflect a “strong desire” to encourage life cycle based thinking through manufacturing and product selection practices.

In two new MR credits, which exist in part to fill known gaps in the data used to support life cycle assessment, USGBC is tackling issues related to responsible sourcing of raw materials and human health impacts associated with building products.

A notable change to the LEED 2012 for Neighborhood Development draft includes a split into two rating systems: LEED for Neighborhood Development Plan and LEED for Neighborhood Development, aiming
to provide a certification for entitled plans in addition to completed projects.

Also, LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance users will recognize a concerted effort to streamline the process of recertification in the operations and maintenance rating systems.

Members of the public can comment on any changes made since the first comment period, which ran
from November 8, 2010 until January 19, 2011.

USGBC will hold member webcasts in the coming weeks detailing the changes between the first and second public comment drafts.

USGBC is enhancing the process used to collect and respond to stakeholder feedback on the ideas presented in the public comment drafts. Comments will be collected from projects testing pilot credits and from USGBC-moderated forums and various stakeholder webinars.

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