Comment on USGBC’s LEED program

Draft of LEED 2012 features updated language, reflecting 6,000 public comments and recommendations collected from first comment period.
August 26, 2011

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) opened the second public comment period for the proposed 2012 update to its LEED green building rating system. The comment period, which will close on Sept. 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 building 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.” 

Updated LEED rating system drafts and responses to comments received during the first round of public comment period are posted for review and comment. 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. 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.

– Edited by Chris Vavra, Consulting-Specifying Engineer, www.csemag.com