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Apr 5

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4/5/2012 1:40 PM  RssIcon

There is a lot of buzz online lately about the upcoming 2012 version of LEED certification standards, which is due to be released late this year. This blog post highlights some of the issues and discussion.

First, you might be wondering why LEED is being revised so quickly after the 2009 version? Brendan Owens, Vice President of LEED Technical Development for USGBC, tried to answer that question in this blog post, but it is more of an overview of the changes rather than an explanation of the timing.

Marc Karell, Owner of Climate Change & Environmental Services, also posted some thoughts on the changes in LEED 2012, primarily focusing on the use of life cycle assessment for building materials. Wikipedia defines life cycle assessment as “a technique to assess environmental impacts associated with all the stages of a product's life from-cradle-to-grave (i.e., from raw material extraction through materials processing, manufacture, distribution, use, repair and maintenance, and disposal or recycling).”

Though most environmental groups support the LEED effort, several of them are concerned that the performance standards and tools used to complete life cycle assessment lack “credibility and rigor” and may result in LEED points given for materials with negative impact. They formally summarized their concerns in a statement of consensus submitted to the third round of public comment held last month.

It remains to be seen what changes will be made to LEED 2012 based on the concerns highlighted above and other public comments. The final version will be voted on in June 2012.

So, if you are a facility manager interested in LEED certification, should you begin working with the current edition, LEED 2009, or should you wait for LEED 2012?

That is one of the questions Neil Chambers addressed in Five Things You Should Know Before You Start Your Next LEED Project. In a nutshell, his answer is that LEED certification under LEED 2012 will be more difficult than under LEED 2009, so you might want to start working with 2009 now to lock it in. But the entire article is worth a read since it brings up several other factors you might want to consider.

If you have additional questions about LEED 2012, see the LEED 2012 FAQ and other resources on the USGBC LEED website.

Incidently, Events2HVAC implementation in existing buildings (retrofits) qualifies for one LEED credit under the 2009 standards. We'll have to wait and see if that is still the case in LEED 2012.

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