Log in

LEED 2012 – 3rd Public Comment – Guide to Key Changes and Forum

LEEDuser provides guidance to the third public comment period on LEED 2012, the next version of the LEED rating systems. This public comment period is scheduled to run from March 1st to March 20th.
March 1, 2012

Update: USGBC has opened a 4th public comment period, with a LEEDuser forum here. Also, check out our webcast that goes behind the scenes on LEED 2012 reference guide and credit form development.

USGBC has opened the third public comment period on LEED 2012, the next version of the LEED rating systems. This public comment period is scheduled to run from March 1st to March 27th (it has been extended from March 20).

As with the first public comment period, which opened in Nov. 2010, and the second public comment period from August 2011,  LEEDuser is here to provide guidance on key changes to LEED 2012 certification, and to provide an open forum for members of the LEED community to understand the changes and weigh in on them.

At USGBC's request, LEEDuser has set up a series of forums on the LEED 2012 draft. These forums are both a chance to register a public comment or comments on the draft, and a place to publicly discuss the draft. Questions and dialogue are welcome and encouraged! (If you prefer to send your comment to USGBC directly, see the link below.)

Please review the new draft of LEED 2012  and share your thoughts with the LEEDuser community and USGBC below!

LEEDuser's guide to key changes in LEED 2012, second comment

You rely on LEEDuser. Can we rely on you?

LEEDuser is supported by our premium members, not by advertisers.

Go premium for  »

Also, see:

Key USGBC links

And now, our guide to key changes in the new LEED 2012 draft, starting with Integrated Process.

LEEDuser's Guide to the Integrated Process (IP) Section

The new Integrated Process (IP) section has been overhauled yet again, with noteworthy changes. The main credit here has been changed in name from “Integrated” to Integrative Process, something favored by advocates of the concept. While integrated process is viewed as a done deal—a finished product—an integrative process is viewed as evolving, open-ended, and welcoming of new viewpoints.

If Integrative Process is a bit of a mouthful, it’s a big improvement over the credit naming in the second comment period. In this draft, what had been two process credits have been consolidated into one with three sections: Energy-Related Systems, Water-Related Systems, and Cost Analysis. Each section has a Discovery and an Implementation phase (the second comment draft had Discovery and Implementation as two credits). Beyond this reorganization, the credit has not changed a lot from the previous draft. The credit is expected to provoke “analyses of key systems interrelationships before decisions are made on building form and throughout the design process.”

The LEED Accredited Professional credit has been moved back out of this section into the Innovation section.

Guide to Innovation (IN)

The Innovation credit isn’t significantly changed in the new LEED 2012 draft, although it is allotted 1–6 points rather than 1–5 as in LEED 2009. Even with that increase in emphasis, the Exemplary Performance path is allocated only 1–2 points (down from 1–3), while the Innovation path retains 1–4 points, and a Pilot Credit Library option is given 1–3 points

The LEED Accredited Professional credit (1 point) has been retained, with the specialty credential still required in this draft. In a minor deemphasis of the credit, it has been moved from the Integrated Process section back to the Innovation section, where it can stand outside the base 100-point scale.

What are your comments on LEED 2012 in general, and on the IP and IN sections? Please post them below!


Add new comment

To post a comment, you need to register for a LEEDuser Basic membership (free) or login to your existing profile.


March 20, 2012 - 2:19 pm

I 100% agree with Ellen, Melissa and Mara. A decent proportion of my job, and virtually all of my billable work, comes from LEED documentation. Greatly increased costs for LEED documentation could well mean that I'll be looking for a new day job!

I do support many of the increased stringencies in LEED 2012. They are necessary to continue to push the market. What is needed, in my opinion, is incrementally increased stringency WITHOUT greatly increased documentation. Already, the major critique I hear of LEED is that it requires significant time and cost to document for only minor environmental improvements. (Look at much of the discussion revolving around the DOD "ban" on Gold and Platinum projects.) LEED 2012 gives significantly more weight and justification to this critique.

There are many credits within 2012 that are contributing to the overall increase (a doubling?) of documentation time. Here's a list of a few that I feel fall into this category (caveat: I haven't been able to read all of the 3rd comment period credits): Sensitive Land Protection, Surrounding Density and Diverse Uses, Quality Transit, Bicycle Network, Site Assessment, Protect or Restore Habitat, Indoor Water Use Reduction (because of new process and appliance requirements), Cooling Tower Water Use, Water Metering, Virtually all of the new MR credits, Low Emitting Interiors (Yikes!).

I don't mean to imply that all of the increased documentation is without merit-- I'm sure some of it is absolutely necessary for the increased stringency. Still, much of it of isn't absolutely necessary. And worse, some of it doesn't create much/any environmental benefit.

I would implore credit writers to simplify requirements and documentation to the maximum extent possible. Credits/Prereqs should be easy to understand, and straightforward (if not easy) to document. Options should be related and limited. Calculations should be easy and understandable.

I think my clients will understand and accept increment increases in stringency. Most will not accept a doubling of my fees.

March 19, 2012 - 1:38 pm

I was just about to add a similar comment when I saw yours.

I appreciate some of the direction that LEED 2012 is taking, as it is really the monumental shift since v1.0. However, given the time/cost required for documentation, LEED will absolutely lose significant market share for at least three years. Perhaps this is a desirable strategic move for USGBC, but I think that they may be underestimating the cascading impacts, e.g. government bodies no long requiring it, or even prohibiting it. Are we ready to lose much of the support that we have worked for all these years?

Also, not only will documentation take more time/money, but in some cases I'm not convinced that the resulting achievements will actually yield increased performance.

March 16, 2012 - 5:32 pm


Every LEED consulting professional I've spoken with feels the same way.

I would be surprised if all of these changes didn't result in a significant increase of the cost of certification - and not for the actual "being more green" changes - just for the additional analysis/paperwork!

I am not sure why the USGBC/GBCI has decided to head in this direction. We are very concerned.

It is difficult - given the avenues available for communication with the USGBC - to communicate this concern. I am very happy to discuss with you any ideas you have.


March 14, 2012 - 4:38 pm

During the 2nd draft version of LEED 2012, under the EA prerequisite and credit related to ASHRAE 90.1, we see an upgrade to the 2010 version of this standard. The language in the 2nd draft does not address Title 24. Will LEED 2012 allow users in California to use Title 24 and if so, what version? 2008?

March 14, 2012 - 4:34 pm

What are the impact of these changes on the requirements & content of the LEED Green Associate exam?
Do these changes have any impact on the LEED Credentialing exams??

March 1, 2012 - 7:49 am

Do you have to be a personal member of USGBC to download and comment or does your company just have to be a national member?

March 1, 2012 - 11:15 am

There are currently no individual memberships with USGBC, only company memberships. You have to be a member to vote (after you opt in), but not to review the drafts or comment.