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Promoting the LEED green building system.

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from the member newsletter [Jul. 9th, 2007|04:02 pm]
Promoting the LEED green building system.


Letter from Tom Hicks, USGBC Vice President of LEED

Dear USGBC members,

I would like to share with you some exciting developments regarding the LEED rating system. As the number of LEED certified and registered buildings climbs towards 8000, the market has provided us with information, ideas and feedback on the LEED process. As part of USGBC’s dedication to the continually evolving LEED, I am pleased to update you on four initiatives that are currently underway at the Council. These initiatives will help us make LEED more flexible and adaptive while also maintaining its technical rigor. The four initiatives that are currently underway include:

Harmonizing and Aligning LEED Rating System

As the LEED rating system has evolved to address all buildings types, drift in the various rating system credits has occurred. By harmonizing and aligning the credits and core elements of all the rating systems - into one elegant rating system, it will create a single “LEED bookshelf,” making the system more adaptive and flexible, but allowing for additional credits that may be necessary to cover all building types.

A new technical framework on the “back-end” of LEED will technically integrate the core elements of all the rating systems, reduce duplication and “credit drift” that has occurred between versions over time, and make the information needed for certification more accessible to the users.

Integrated Committee Structure

A more integrated committee structure will drive integration of core rating systems elements, allow for special category needs to be addressed in harmony with the core elements of LEED, and reduce duplication of support needed. A revised committee structure will focus on three aspects: Technical, Market and Certification - rather than focusing on specific LEED Rating Systems. Additionally, each committee will be supporter by numerous working groups that will take on tasks that will drive the committees' work forward.

LEED has a long history of inclusion and collaboration. It took more than 600,000 volunteer hours from some of the best minds in the industry to launch LEED and it’s the dedicated involvement of these volunteers through our committee structure that will ensure LEED’s evolution is on target. How committees will be constituted and function is still under development with details forthcoming later this summer.

Technical Development

Technical development work within LEED will incorporate Life Cycle Assessment (LCA), add regionally based credits, and reconfigure credit organization by environmental impacts in order to respond to specific high priority performance concerns, such as carbon dioxide emissions and climate change.

Regular Update Cycle for LEED

A standardized development schedule for the LEED rating system will provide the community with development and activity timelines, allowing users and USGBC members to more actively engage in LEED’s growth and development. The update cycle will give the ongoing development of LEED a framework in which to respond to marketplace needs, while maintaining both the creativity and the technical rigor that are the hallmarks of LEED.

The update cycle for LEED is envisioned to utilize USGBC’s volunteer member committees and working groups to identify the new issues, ideas, and technologies that should be incorporated into LEED. USGBC will communicate the proposed updates, with planning and the development of new and/or revised credits following. All proposed updates will then go through USGBC’s established consensus process, with opportunities for public review and comment before being put forward for member ballot.

Throughout the cycle, new ideas and scientific advances can be introduced and tested by individual project teams via Innovation in Design (ID) credits or alternative compliance paths. In this way, building owners and project teams will also help inform the LEED Steering Committee about ideas and advancements that should be integrated into the rating system during the next round of updates.

LEED’s new development timetable will drive consistent improvement and continuity, eliminating the need for protracted whole-version updates of individual rating systems and software-like “versions.”

LEED will always strive to inspire our market leaders to innovation and deliver the immediate and measurable results they need. And with these four initiatives in place, we will be that much closer to realizing our goal of a sustainable built environment within a generation.


Tom Hicks
Vice President, LEED, U.S. Green Building Council