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August 19, 2008
LEED 2009 Now Open
for Second Public Comment

LEED 2009 is now open for second public comment. LEED 2009 is a new version of the rating system that delivers against key environmental and human health impacts, and puts in place a transparent framework for weighting credits accordingly, based on the best available science.

This product of thousands of hours of volunteer time and deep expertise generously given by representatives from every corner of the building industry resets the bar for green building leadership; the urgency of our mission has challenged the industry to move faster and reach further than ever before.

The first public comment period for LEED 2009 ran May 19 - June 22, 2008, and received a record 5,800 comments. The second public comment period opens today, August 19 and will be open through 5 pm PT September 2. The shorter time frame reflects the fact that only changes made in response to the first public comment period are now up for comment.

LEED 2009 First Public Comment
All technical comments that were within the scope of the proposed credit changes under LEED 2009 were reviewed by the LEED Technical Advisory Groups (TAGs) and are now reflected in tracked changes to the credit language. Even though a comment may have been made on only one rating system, it was applied across all rating systems to keep credits aligned where applicable. Technical comments that were outside of the LEED 2009 scope will be discussed as part of the next LEED development cycle, which will happen at regular intervals going forward. More on the LEED 2009 changes and the development cycle can be found in the LEED 2009 Vision & Executive Summary (PDF).

All changes made to credit language since the first public comment period are tracked in the rating system documents that accompany the public comment announcement. Review the documents and submit comments today.

What key changes should I look for?
The following are the revisions most frequently suggested or most technically changed, by credit category:

Sustainable Sites

  • Credit 2: Development Density & Community Connectivity – If the project is mixed use, it may be considered one of the ten basic services that are required to be located within ½ mile, as long as the service is open to the public.
  • Credit 4.3: Alternative Transportation: Low Emitting & Fuel Efficient Vehicles – The language that said one low-emitting/fuel-efficient vehicle must be provided per 8 people should have said 267 occupants.

Water Efficiency

  • Credit 1: Water Efficient Landscaping: Reduce by 50% – Groundwater language was moved from the Potential Technologies & Strategies to the Requirements section.

Energy & Atmosphere

  • Prerequisite 2 & Credit 1: Optimize Energy Performance – Additional ASHRAE Advanced Energy Design Guides are now included under the prescriptive path for compliance. Additional point thresholds have been added in EAc1.
  • Credit 5: Measurement & Verification (M&V) – Corrective action is now required if the results of the M&V plan indicate that energy savings are not being achieved.

Materials & Resources

  • Prerequisite 1: Storage & Collection of Recyclables – The language requiring the collection and storage of plant-based landscaping debris has been removed because it did not match the intent of the credit, which covers building occupant waste.
  • Credit 7: Certified Wood – How LEED addresses the use of wood is in a separate public comment period that launched on Friday, August 8, and closes on Sunday, September 7, 2008 at 5 PM PST.
  • Learn more.

Indoor Environmental Quality

  • Prerequisite 2: Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) Control – The requirement that smoking be prohibited within 25 feet of an entrance has been clarified so that it applies only to private property.
  • Credit 4.3: Low-Emitting Materials: Flooring Systems – Many people commented that their projects’ bare floors were more in line with the intent of this credit. The language that restricted this credit only to projects in which carpet is installed was removed as a first step toward a larger change of its intent.
  • Credit 5: Indoor Chemical & Pollutant Source Control – Permanent entryway systems that are directly connected to the outdoors are now required to be at least ten feet long instead of only six.

Innovation & Design Process

  • Credit 1-1.5: Innovation in Design – While there are now a total of five possible points in this category, projects may now earn a maximum of three Exemplary Performance Credits for going beyond the requirements of other credits.

What happens next?
Once this comment period ends, the comments will be reviewed and considered for incorporation into LEED 2009. If changes occur, an additional comment period will be opened. If no changes are made, USGBC member primary contacts will be directed to vote on the final draft. For more information, please review USGBC's balloting policy.

Other than the rating system changes, what is being done to improve the LEED user experience?
LEED 2009 consists of credit alignment and harmonization; transparent environmental and human impact credit weighting; regionalization; and a predictable development cycle. LEED 2009, coupled with an expanded third-party certification program and significant enhancements to LEED Online, make up the multi-faceted initiative that is referred to as LEED v3.

  • LEED “Weighting Tool” Helps Shift Focus of LEED from credits to outcomes
  • Part “Rosetta Stone” for understanding the new credit weightings proposed in LEED 2009 and part modeling tool, the weighting tool has become a way for project teams to get a quick read on the impact of their building design and construction decisions.

    In LEED 2009 the highest weightings are given to building practices that improve energy efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions to align with USGBC’s goal of climate change mitigation. Inefficient building systems are the largest contributor to the greenhouse gas emissions that cause global warming and green buildings are the most immediate and measureable opportunity to address it. The tool has been constructed in a way that if environmental and societal priorities shift, the focus of LEED can also shift by adjusting weightings across the key impact categories: building systems (specifically fuel and electricity consumption); transportation (commuting and services); water consumption (domestic and landscaping‐related); materials (core, shell and finishings); and indoor environmental quality. Because it allows priorities to shift without requiring a complete reconfiguration of LEED, the tool will become a core part of LEED’s infrastructure going forward.

  • New Certification Bodies Announced to Expand Service, Eliminate Backlogs, and Comply with ISO Standards
  • Currently, all LEED project submissions are reviewed by USGBC with the support of independently contracted reviewers. In alignment with its vision of market transformation, beginning in January 2009, USGBC will move administration of the LEED certification process to the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI), a non-profit organization established in 2007 with the support of USGBC.

    GBCI will work with the certification bodies to deliver a substantially improved, ISO-compliant certification process, which will significantly expand USGBC’s capacity to serve the community. The selected certification bodies are well-known and respected for their role in certifying organizations, processes, and products to ISO and other standards. Who are they?

  • LEED Online is undergoing a comprehensive technology upgrade aimed at improving the user experience and expanding its portfolio management capabilities. Look for more information about these upgrades soon.

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