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LEED 2012 versus LEED 2009: Public Comment Period Closes in Advance of November Greenbuild Launch

With LEED 2012 expected to be released this coming November at the annual Greenbuild Conference and Expo in San Francisco, gbNYC intends to offer periodic updates, insights and announcements, and, of course, review what will be included in the much anticipated continued evolution of the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED green building rating system. Accordingly, this first article in that series takes a look at where the LEED 2012 development process stands and briefly reviews some of the major changes in the rating system from LEED 2009.

The third public comment period for the development of LEED 2012 just ended on March 27, 2012. USGBC received over 6500 comments, for a total of over 19,000 comments over the three public comment periods. USGBC is evaluating each and every comment for its merit and inclusion in the new version of LEED. With online public forums like and a USGBC web page dedicated to LEED 2012, professionals have had the opportunity over the last 18 months to understand the changes in the draft versions and provide their feedback. All that’s left is for the industry to approve the proposed revisions.

Here’s how that will take place: April 2 marked the opening of the USGBC’s Opt-In period for the LEED 2012 ballot. If you want to participate in the voting process, now is the time to have your USGBC member company in good standing opt in before the window closes on May 1. Member companies will vote on LEED 2012 in June; 2/3 of the votes cast must support the revisions in order for LEED 2012 to be approved.

So what are the proposed changes? The major structural difference between LEED 2009 and LEED 2012 is that the latter will encompass new market sectors: data centers, warehouses and distribution centers, hospitality facilities (i.e. hotels), existing schools and existing retail, and LEED for Homes Mid-Rise. LEED 2012 will also include updates to the technical content of the rating system aimed at increasing its rigor: revisions to credit weights, new credit categories focusing on integrated design, life cycle analysis of materials, and an increased emphasis on measurement and performance. And some new prerequisites will add to LEED 2012’s flavor. USGBC has also promised to improve the LEED user experience by making the LEED Online platform more intuitive and introducing tools to make the LEED documentation process more efficient.

LEED 2012 – if approved – will include far too many changes for us to review them all in one article, so please keep an eye out for periodic updates here at gbNYC as we continue this series in the weeks and months ahead.

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