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5 things you need to know about LEED 2012

January 16, 2012


imageI took a quick look at the LEED 2012 Commercial Interiors rating system this week and thought I would share my initial impressions.

I could go into considerable detail, and may do so at some point, but this post focuses on the big picture differences.

I haven’t been through all the new manuals, but I expect that these will be applicable to all but O&M.

  1. Rating Systems: The LEED 2012 Interior Design & Construction reference manual will include rating systems for Commercial Interiors, Retail and Hospitality. The specific requirements and credit weightings vary between rating systems for some credits.  The LEED AP credit will require LEED ID+C certification.
  2. Timing: USGBC will start drafting the reference guides in February and plan to be finished within 10 months. That suggests a launch sometime close to the end of 2012. Plan on using the new rating system on projects registered next year.
  3. Weighting: As the total number of points in the second reading draft is 107 rather than 110 there will certainly be additional changes to the rating system prior to adoption.  The link between LEED Core and Shell and Commercial Interiors is gone, water efficiency is not as important and both low VOC and sustainable materials receive fewer points. 
  4. Integrative Process: This new section with 4 points pushes LEED earlier into the site acquisition and design process.  There is a Discovery credit for integrating LEED concepts into site selection and a Synergy credit for performing a cost/benefit analysis during the design phase to improve building and/or human performance.
  5. New Certificates: The new credits for Responsible Sourcing and Avoidance of Chemicals of Concern both require documents which suppliers and manufacturers have not previously had to provided.  Similarly, the new approach to Low-Emitting Materials will require emissions certificates for materials such as raised floors, ceiling tiles, insulation and gypsum board which have not previously had to report.

Overall, it appears likely that meeting the pre-requisites for LEED 2012 Commercial Interiors will be more difficult and that certifying projects will be both more difficult and expensive.  Some features of the rating system appear particularly challenging today, however LEED needs to "push the envelope" to have a continuing impact on our industry. 

I anticipate that over the course of the next 24 months many things which appear almost impossible today will become quite easy to achieve because the market will begin first to demand and then to expect compliance with the new credit requirements.

Are you ready for the new rating systems?

Do you want more details on what’s changing and the impact it will have on our work certifying buildings?


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