True Green Cities / Changing LEED – It’s Not That Easy Being Green

LEED 2012 Becomes LEED v. 4

When USGBC meets in San Francisco in November for the annual Greenbuild conference, the talk of the town will be LEED v. 4.

Yesterday the President of the US Green Building Council sent members an email:

In response to overwhelming feedback from our members, core LEED users and engaged stakeholders, USGBC announced today that it will delay ballot on LEED 2012 until June 1, 2013. Because of this date change LEED 2012 is being renamed LEED v4.

To be clear… this change is 100% in response to helping our stakeholders fully understand and embrace this next big step. The passion for market transformation that resides in our membership and our LEED users is undeniable, but we also acknowledge the reality of the day-to-day assessment of market conditions that has informed this decision. Our commitment to you is that the balloting and launch of LEED v4 will be seamless for our users and successful in terms of advancing the market transformation we all seek.

For all the details, read Rick’s full letter.

Four Comment Periods in the Past Year

In the past year I have reviewed and prepared comments on 4 drafts of LEED for the National Trust for Historic Preservation, viewing the changes to LEED from a preservation viewpoint.  There have been some great changes and some confusing changes.  So I’m glad it’s not just me.  I heard lots of grumbling at the AIA Convention last month, even heard that some of the big lobbies were banding together to vote AGAINST the ballot when it came out.  Why?  Well, it’s not just preservationists who wish their voices would be heard more about the significance of existing buildings.  The wood lobby, the vinyl lobby, the steel lobby. Everyone has an opinion and everyone of course thinks that their viewpoint, the product, their mission is the most important and needs better representation.  It’s a hard time to be the accepted world-wide brand in green rating systems.

What’s Next

The good thing is that USGBC took a step back, took a deep breath and did listen to its constituency.  The current version of LEED (LEED 2009) needs a lot of help.  But this is big business now. Changing process and credit understanding when LEED 2009 has only been out for 3 years and people are still getting the hang of that is a tall order.  So now, a fifth public comment will come out in October and be open for 2 months. That’s hopeful.  The fourth public comment period last month was only open for 2 weeks which was crazy.  I for one, hope that USGBC can be brave and bold about some of the changes.  Of course, I’m hoping that they’ll take in to account more of the preservationists’ comments about existing buildings.  But then again, I speak for the “preservation lobby!”

Next Monday I’ll be leading a continuing education workshop in New York City on LEED and Historic Preservation, and this new change will make that even more interesting!

Hang in there USGBC, it’s not easy being green.

And if you’d like to “subscribe” or follow this blog, True Green Cities, please sign up through the “Subscribe” button at the bottom left of this page. You’ll receive a daily recap when new blogs are posted.