Hello LEED v3!
by Amanda Sturgeon
The U.S. Green Building Council is rolling out the long-awaited LEED Version 3 on April 27, 2009. It's been ten years since the first LEED version was released in 1999, and this release is intended to initiate a pattern of biennial updates.
The green building industry has been asking for changes to LEED for some time. One of the criticisms of the current LEED Version 2 has been the inequity of the one-point-per-strategy system.
For example, cleaning up a brownfield site involves far more effort and resources than using a low-emitting carpet, but either will earn one point under the current rating system. In LEED Version 3, also known as LEED 2009, credits are weighted to reflect a set of environmental and health priorities.
Acknowledgement that the energy consumed in buildings is a leading cause of global climate change has changed the green building playing field. Although the ability for project teams to pick and choose from LEED's menu-based system is one reason why it has been readily adopted in the marketplace, pressure has been mounting on the USGBC to make LEED place more emphasis on energy and climate change.
For example, the current LEED version allows a project to achieve LEED Gold certification with only minimal energy savings compared to a non-LEED building.
Other areas noted for improvement include the inability of the existing point system to sufficiently encourage and reward historic preservation, social equity, and regionally appropriate design.
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The new LEED v3 specification puts greater emphasis on reducing climate impacts and resource depletion, improving indoor air quality, and other high-priority environmental and health issues. The Aldo Leopold Legacy Center in Baraboo, Wisconsin, previously received LEED Platinum certification.
Photo: Kevin Matthews/ Artifice Images
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Timeline for implementation of the LEED v3 standard, set to be released on April 27, 2009.
Image: Courtesy U.S. Green Building Council
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