Saturday, June 21, 2008

Proposed changes to the LEED system for 2009: LEED v3

With the first public comment submission ending today at 5pm PST for the USGBC's proposed LEED v3 2009, let's take a quick look at the major changes of LEED v3 versus the 2.2 (NC).

Point system:

Certified: 40-49 pts (up from 26-32)
Silver: 50-59 pts (up from 33-38)
Gold: 60-79 pts (up from 39-51)
Platinum: 80-110 pts (up from 52-69)

Credit Category Weighting:

Sustainable Sites: 24% of pts (from 20%)
Water Efficiency: 9% of pts (from 7%)
Energy & Atmosphere: 32% of pts (from 25%)
Material & Resource: 13% of pts (from 19%)
Indoor Environmental Quality: 14% of pts (from 22%)
Innovation in Operations: 6% of pts (from 7%)
Regional Credits: 4% of pts (new category)

(credits percentages do not add to 100% due to rounding)

I applaud the USGBC for putting more emphasis on water savings and efficient energy usage in v3. The Energy Performance credit EA1 has been increased from 10 to 19 pts and the energy standard has been updated to ASHRAE 90.1-2007 (from 2004). Alternative energy production has increased to a possible point total of 7 (up from 3), which makes the generally capital intensive alternative energy credits make much more sense. Furthermore, doubling the possible Water Efficiency points while REQUIRING that buildings consume 20% less potable water is very responsible, given the strong link of water to energy in dry areas. Achieving 20% less potable water usage used to be piece of low hanging fruit in the LEED 2.2 system.

A regional credit category has been added to v3 to reward green building innovation relevant to the site's particular region. I feel it is a good idea to promote regional solutions, but I'd like to see examples where points are awareded from this particular category.

LEED v3 also places more of an emphasis on the smart planning of dense urban areas, which is a good strategy to reduce the carbon emissions from commuting and transportation. However, I feel that 1 point for Brownfield Redevelopment does not go far enough. For those that don't know the term, a Brownfield is (defined by the LEED 2.2NC manual) a site where
...redevelopment or reuse may be complicated by the presence or potential presence of a hazardous substance, pollutant or contaminant.
1 measly point for developing a potentially polluted non-productive site? I feel the USGBC should place more emphasis on this credit to help motivate developers and owners to rehabilitate damaged sites. There is a great opportunity in the intent of this point and I feel the point should have a larger weight to incentivize the pursuit of this point.

For all those who like to get into the nitty-gritty, check out the USGBC's LEED NC "tracked changes" document here.

1 comment:

Mei said...

It's been a month since your last post... give us more!

Thank you.