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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

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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!


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May 11, 2012 - 1:23 pm

The 4th comment period is here! I've opened a new forum devoted to the new draft that is out, and the balloting process. Please join us!

May 15, 2012 - 8:54 pm

Kath...well hopefully they get reduced GBCI fees...and 'marketleader' status...and....oh and we get a headache!

May 15, 2012 - 5:09 pm

Barry and all, I don’t doubt the value in the beta testing of this version. Absolutely essential…to LEED, USGBC, GBCI, the market, etc. There was a lot of learning way back when on the pilot for LEED 1, etc.
My question is how to convince an owner (I have three waiting in the wings right now) to let us use their project as a beta. What’s the benefit to them? Do they get to register for free? A complimentary design review?

May 15, 2012 - 5:08 pm

I assume Barry is referring to LEED 2012 when he says v4, which I find confusing.

GBCI is not planning a new LEED Online platform for 2012, so that is still v3.

May 15, 2012 - 5:06 pm

Hi Barry,
The reference I saw said "test drive the new rating system prior to the launch at Greenbuild", so where is this 1 year V4 pilot with V3 still live through that time coming from?

And for the sake of my poor confused brain. There is a distinction between the v3 platform and the LEED 2009 rating system, so I presume that is the same issue here. That speaking to v4 is a reference to the platform and not the proposed LEED 2012 rating system. Am I understanding you correctly? Why would there be a whole new platform for LEED 2012 anyway? Or do you mean LEED 2012 when you say V4?

May 15, 2012 - 4:57 pm

Kath, Any beta testing has to help rather than the drop dead requirements of a new version appearing at 8am on a Monday morning. With so many changes a period of calm, clear and concise thoughts about how to make a new version work would be most useful. You and I and a few others started this 'thing' many years ago when it was just single tenant office buildings, now we're pushing the boundaries with the most diverse buildings we can find. Will V4 work in a multi-tenant mixed use, multi ownership leased property as well as in a laboratory...and so on. Another reason would be that it helps those marketleaders really step up and undertake V4 and provide, through venues should as LEED user, with valuable information for others to take further into the marketplace. I see no downside to a 1 year V4 pilot with V3 still live through that time.

May 15, 2012 - 4:11 pm

LEED 2012 email from communications@usgbc.org on Friday 5/11 calls for formalized beta testing of 2012 by a limited group, as Michelle mentions above. What are the advantages of doing that?

May 15, 2012 - 12:50 pm

Bill, I think 'vote rigging' is uncalled for. Please keep the conversation based on the content that you and I both know about...not on voting operations.

May 15, 2012 - 12:48 pm

Well, there has to be a fixed timeline printed...if not we'd still be using pilot versions of everything. Hopefully at GreenBuild there will be plenty of 'presentations' of V4...with enough time to voice our support, or not, in the more public forum. But voted up or down doesn't mean that V4 is going away from conversations we are all currently having...it still stands with USGBC to make the case of why we should vote for it.

May 15, 2012 - 12:47 pm

The November implication may be foregone because they have never failed a vote.

LEED-ND failed to reach quorum in its initial public vote. USGBC's solution was to extend voting by 3 days and email everyone encouraging them to vote 'abstain' to help them reach quorum. LEED-ND passed and objecting to the vote rigging didn't change that fact.

May 15, 2012 - 1:45 pm

If the proposed LEED 2012 standard does not pass membership ballot LEED 2009 will remain the active standard until such time as a new standard can be successfully balloted.

No doubt there is a great deal of hope/wishful thinking in the statement 'when LEED 2012 launches in November'

May 15, 2012 - 12:32 pm

So the most recent LEED 2012 email from communications@usgbc.org which I received on Friday 5/11 starts by saying "LEED users we have heard you" and then promptly acknowledges that "when LEED 2012 launches in November" there will be some mitigation measures like extended LEED 2009 registration and formalized beta testing of 2012 by a limited group rather than the continuous beta testing of LEED 2009 that we are all still doing. The beta testing item begins with a more politically correct "once LEED 2012 has successfully passed ballot" but since it follows the item 1 statement of definitive November launch, it sounds like a formality.

Those are nice suggestions and obviously reflect oversight of the LEED 2012 forum discussion that has been going on. However the overall implication is that launch is a foregone conclusion in November. What are we voting on then?

May 15, 2012 - 12:15 pm

Today's the last day to opt in to the LEED 2012 voting body! USGBC registration page is here.

April 12, 2012 - 8:52 am

I've been working for the past year on a suite of 3 NC projects for a client, all to be registered with LEED 2009 in the next month or so, and I've just been asked if there will be a limit to the validity of the registration if any of the three projects is significantly delayed--the client is discussing an option to delay construction of the second phase to Q4 2014 and third phase to Q4 2015. I can't find any mention in the NC documents or anywhere else that gives a sunset date but I was alarmed to note that the v 2.1 projects have a sunset date of December 2011, which indicates that registration didn't secure their continuing on the v.2.1 system until completion. However Item 4.7 in the June 2011 Certification Policy Manual clearly says that "closure of registration shall not immediately impact the status of registered projects....Projects that are registered under a rating system that is subject to closure will be allowed to proceed through the LEED Certification process in accordance with the requirements of such rating system; provided that they adhere to the policies....etc". So perhaps I'm simply ignorant about a special case regarding v.2.1 projects? A switch to LEED 2012 as written wouldn't be possible for these non-US projects. Thanks for any comments.

April 16, 2012 - 11:36 pm

Thanks everyone for your excellent feedback. I will make it my policy to keep GBCI informed as we go forward.

April 16, 2012 - 10:58 pm

Melissa, Don't panic...provided the contracts are registered with GBCI, work is progressing, you keep them informed as to the progress on a regular basis, (especially about the date when the design credits will be uploaded) then from previous experience GBCI will not 'drop you in it'. Once the design credits are agreed with GBCI, you are LOCKED in that rating system for the duration. Yes of course if the job drags on 5-10 years then quite rightly the GBCI will get a little upset, but we have found that provided that you keep them informed they will work with you.

April 16, 2012 - 9:06 pm

Thanks for both comments. Both Phase 2 and Phase 3 of these projects might be compromised; as a 2.5 million square foot project construction times are long and our end dates optimistic. Right now they're completing a lengthy and costly re-design mainly to create better alignment with LEED 2009. I received a reply yesterday from GBCI stating that no sunset date had been set (the policy doesn't give a date either) but end of 2018 does seem to be in line with the other dates. If I could reasonably update these projects to LEED 2012 I would. But with v2012 final version still months off I can't just halt the design process again with so much still up in the air (and I think my opportunity was already spent). Also, we're way behind the US in terms of market transformation. My clients had a strong goal to get LEED and has budgeted a very large amount for improvements to reach Gold Certification level; I've analyzed the current version of v2012 and the same project would not get Silver. Its very possible the owners would simply walk away in this case--its not been an easy process with many of the consultants baulking along the way and there is a high need to trust the system. I'm thinking that I should at least try to make a specific plea to the GBCI to keep us on, given the size of the project, length of time already implementing v2009 and and impossibility of keeping it inside any one system given the rate of introducing new systems. I know the comments are closed for v2012, but I'll try this through normal feedback channels.

April 16, 2012 - 4:10 pm

Check page 29
Sunset date for v2.2 is June 27, 2015.

April 16, 2012 - 4:06 pm

Melissa, I'd have to dig up the reference to check this, but GBCI has a policy document on sunset dates for rating systems. I am pretty sure that the policy is six years from the final registration dates of the rating system. So if LEED 2009 registrations ended this Dec. 31, the system would sunset Dec. 31, 2018.

I'm sure that GBCI has some leeway in implememting this, however, and I have heard rumblings that LEED 2009 registration should remain open for a while, given major changes coming with LEED 2012.

March 27, 2012 - 7:25 am

Based on the USGBC homepage, I had been telling people last night that the comment period closes today at 9 a.m. EDT. However, I received the following communication thiis morning from USGBC:

Despite our efforts to widely communicate the one-week extension for third public comment, overnight we heard from a few folks who  thought they had all of Tuesday, rather than the 9 am EST cut-off we had communicated.  Since it won’t materially affect the schedule, we’re extending the cut-off until 5 pm EST today, March 27, 2012.

May 3, 2012 - 11:51 am

Well it now shows on the USGBC website that 4th comment period is delayed but that when open the comment period would last the full 15 days. Were we not supposed to be at ballot on June 1st? might not leave a lot of time for staff and TAGs to reply to comments

May 2, 2012 - 12:25 pm

Barry, sorry for not posting about that. I don't see that USGBC has updated its website, but word on the street is that opening of the 4th comment period has been delayed by at least a few days. We will post here just as soon as it's out.

May 2, 2012 - 12:19 pm

Tristan, can you setup the link to comments for the 4th comment period...it's already 2nd May and search as I might I can't find any links to the USGBC documents or comment page...neither here nor of USGBC.org

April 16, 2012 - 4:07 pm

Rob and others, as you may have heard by now, USGBC has announced a 4th public comment period to run May 1–15. LEEDuser will keep you posted on the details.

April 5, 2012 - 9:01 pm

thanks for keeping the door open, Tristan.

Here's my 2-cents' worth...if there are substantive changes from the last version, there needs to be a 4th comment period. If there are no substantive changes, then I could not support anything coming out of the 3rd comment draft that did not have pretty major changes.

So, if there is no 4th comment draft, then a 'yes' vote from me is pretty unlikely.

April 5, 2012 - 1:54 pm

Let's keep the conversation going. The 3rd public comment period is closed, but we're all going to have to figure out how to vote in the upcoming ballot (that's assuming we don't see a 4th public comment). Please continue to post your LEED 2012 thoughts here: both big-picture on where it's taking the market (or not), and on specific credit issues.

March 26, 2012 - 3:38 pm

I'm afraid that a lot of the arguments for raising the bar are being made by people who are a lot more advanced in their thinking and practice than the overwhelming majority of USGBC members. And they are not even speaking the same language as those who are not yet using LEED at all, which represent even bigger percentages. This silent mega-majority is who we need to be reaching and bringing into the fold.

Smaller steps by a real majority of the industry will have a bigger impact than giant leaps by a few. Does anyone know an accurate number for the percentage of all US construction and renovation that is using LEED? I would guess it to be under 10%. We shouldn't forget about the 90%

When did LEED become a leadership recognition tool rather than a market transformation tool? I do not believe that raising the bar higher and higher on a smaller and smaller segment of the industry will have the effect that we all want to see.

March 27, 2012 - 5:06 pm

This is out of sync, but I too am very concerned about the leap 2012 is proposing and I fear LEED is losing its way from its early simplicity.

For example, why break the sustainable sites into two categories? LEED was designed with the intention of being a simple five category system. I remember a GreenBuild keynote speaker standing up there with his hand open, saying we have 5 categories because we can count them on one hand. It’s simple and clear.

Creating another category is confusing and problematic. As a LEED consultant we are responsible for educating people about the system and creating a new category means reeducating people and also complicates the system even further. LEED needs to not lose its vision and stay a five fingered system.

Renaming all the points will confuse us and LEED is all we do. I’ve already had major clients tell me they may cease to require LEED because it will become too complicated and too expensive.

Furthermore, while the intent behind many of the revised credits is valuable it is too much too soon. As LEED consultants we spend time daily educating contractors, subcontractors, suppliers and distributers about LEED, the 2012 system is a step in the right direction but it is too large of a step to made in a year. We are still educating people on what LEED is let alone the intricacies of it. Please do not lose the small guys in your visioning process.

We appreciate that LEED continues to evolve and drive the market place, but if you make the starting line halfway up the mountain, it’s hard to go higher. The purpose of having the multiple levels of certification is to motivate projects to aim high. If the new system knocks what is currently LEED Gold down to LEED Certified it’s a disincentive. It’s just too hard and I worry people won’t seek LEED certification at all.

March 26, 2012 - 6:00 pm

Thanks for your comments, Gary. There are many good things that could be included in 2012 that could move the standard forward, raise the bar and not decouple the LEED engine from the market train. If we were to have a 4th comment period on a dialed-back standard (and enough time to comment on it) I think we could have our cake and eat it too.

March 26, 2012 - 5:52 pm

Thanks Rob, a great quote. The quote that'll also mention is from a lesser well known historical figure who said, "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few". (Mr. Spock) Which is antithetical to our current American culture as the needs of the 'few' have outweighed the needs of the many.
I will have to place LEED 2012 in the 1000 paces ahead catagory. I hope everyone will vote 'no' and again encourage usgbc to hold off on a rollout this year with such sweeping changes.

March 26, 2012 - 5:25 pm

For new construction the penetration of LEED certified projects is over 20%, but when you look at the addressable market of existing building renovation, that penetration is only about 3%, so even the overall 10% penetration estimate is probably generous for the US market as a whole.

WRT leadership recognition vs. market transformation, I think the goal was "both/and" but we must be very cautious not to run into Gandhi's Paradox: when a leader is 100 paces ahead of her followers, she is revered and called a Visionary. When she is 1000 paces ahead she is stoned and called a Heretic.

March 25, 2012 - 7:53 pm

I don't know about anyone else, but I would not be comfortable voting “yes” on any standard resulting from the 3rd comment period draft. the magnitude of changes necessary for me to be comfortable with voting yes on the resulting standard would require at least another look at how they have handled the likely multitude of comments they will be receiving on this draft.

For one thing, I would really want to see both the documentation requirements for the credits–this will be where “the rubber meets the road”–as well as any updated credit weightings to ascertain weather the increased stringency and documentation requirements are adequately rewarded and not too onerous to complete.

Perhaps we should all urge USGBC to include a 4th comment period before sending LEED 2012 to ballot: I know I will be.

March 26, 2012 - 7:44 pm

I'd forgotten about the bookshelf concept. I think this is one area in which BD+C 2012 really excels -- there's a master system (shelf), with individual books (credits) or chapters (options) pulled off for different building types, e.g. schools, healthcare, etc. This makes for a richer system than 2009.

March 26, 2012 - 5:16 pm

There's something to be said for accomplishing this in smaller segments. I find this comment process overwhelming! I'm afraid many practitioners, especially those in government positions, are not able to allocate any time on the job to give careful consideration to these important proposals for change. It takes a lot of time, which can consume nights and weekends.

I'd guess there are a lot of people who get started and then decide they can't do a good job of it, so they do nothing, which does not help us produce a practical and efficient criteria where the costs don't outweigh the benefits.

March 26, 2012 - 2:33 pm

Hi Barry--I can't really answer 'what happened' on behalf of USGBC. My guess is that the inherent complexity of managing multiple changes over several rating systems while ensuring transparency and participation have resulted in USGBC modifications in its approach. I think the reality of managing multiple comment periods, even with a smaller number of credits, caused some rethinking. My guess is that there is also something having to do with ANSI consensus body requirements that forced a reconsideration.

March 26, 2012 - 11:51 am

A very measured answer, thank you. Now a question: Back not that long ago USGBC created "The Bookshelf". This was created so that each prereq and credit was a separate chapter of the total book (The total book being whichever breed of LEED was being used, NC, CI, etc). What was indicated at that time was that on a rolling two year process specific chapters would be updated as and when needed...this would result in an simpler process, targeting a smaller number of credits/prereqs at a time that the membership could then get their heads around, keep some semblance of continuity by retaining some prereqs and credits and therefore reduce the comment periods to a clearly defined number and width of discussion.
So Rob, what happened?

March 23, 2012 - 10:43 am

The ID&C system is full of problems where credits have not been translated correctly from BD&C. In fact - the ID&C system refers to Healthcare projects 13 times and Schools projects 12 times. Healthcare and Schools are not in the ID&C system! This problem has been rampant in all three ID&C v2012 drafts. If USGBC's goal is to simplify the system and make it clearer - this issue should be resolved.

March 22, 2012 - 9:42 pm

LEEDuser has uploaded an hour-long video overview of key changes proposed for LEED 2012 for NC and EBOM rating systems.

March 22, 2012 - 6:04 pm

I am an advocate for raising the bar.
However, significant market buy-in has not occured. We need to stay at LEED 2009 levels for more than just 2 years. It should be more like 5. In this economy it's harder than ever to convince developers, owners, municipalities etc to buy into LEED.
I feel that USGBC/GBCI should wait a year or more to move into the next evolution.
My firm's primary client is the DOD who has stipulated that LEED 2009 Silver is a mandate, but now Gold-Platinum can not cost more and will not be considered a betterment. Gold and Platinum have been devalued erroniously becasue the Federal Government doesn't really understand it after 7 years.

LEED 2012 will most certainly have DOD and other Federal Agencies jump ship, not to mention those in the private sector. I emplore the community to encourage usgbc/gbci to wait for the next rollout. I would like to see LEED 2014 as version 4.

March 23, 2012 - 12:37 pm

Bill, thanks so much for the clarification and info. But again, I'll stand by my encouragment to hold the bar where it is for more market buyin and/or suppliment LEED 2009 with addenda, such as using moving to ASHRAE 90.1 2010.
Sure v3 retaines much of what v2.2 was, raising the bar in energy primarily.
There is still so much myth, misunderstandings, misconceptions of LEED and the associated costs.
No matter the politics behind 'PROHIBITION ON USE OF FUNDS FOR LEADERSHIP IN ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN GOLD OR PLATINUM', it has sent a ripple effect throughout my firm and our client base essentially defocusing on LEED and refocusing on solely energy.
To the contrary of your comment about what credits need to be earned, much of DOD and specific RFPs are indeed stipulating what credits are to be earned and what credits cannot be pursued. For example, Green Power has long been a forbidden credit, again erroniously.
And, in the design-build world the contractor will always go for the cheapest credits first or stop at Silver any way they can.
Another ripple from this the pulling away from seeing Gold-Plantinum as a betterment. As a whole deincentivizing higher levels of sustainability and certification.

A sweeping change will hurt us all. I wholeheartedly agree that the bar needs to be raised, but incrimentally and slowly with respect to our culture.

The only solution would be 'mandates'. In the stance of voluntary, the vast majority are still focused on the bottom line, not the triple bottom line and would simply opt out, choose to reinvent the wheel or go with a lame rating system like Green Globes.

March 23, 2012 - 11:34 am

LEED 2009 is not much different from v2.2. It was repackaged but the majority of Credits are the same.

The National Defense Authorization Act that you quoted is because a wood certification group that has been unsuccessful in getting their products accepted by LEED has now changed tactics to put a different pressure on USGBC. Lobby Congress to limit LEED spending. It's politics.

The DOD is using a loop hole that requires no proof other than the Contractor's word who wants the work. And the law does not say which credits need to be earned. If the most expensive credits are earned first to get a high silver rating then other credits like location are free and at no extra cost and can earn gold or platinum.

March 23, 2012 - 11:24 am

I'm glad to hear your DOD clients are embracing LEED.
I'm not sure where the wood comment came from?
What is your response to: National Defense Authorization

I am still in the strong opinion that usgbc should wait two or more years for another rollout and to allow for markets to digest and buy into LEED 2009.
Thanks for your response.

March 22, 2012 - 6:16 pm

LEED 2009 will have been around for at least 3.5 years - possibly more - when the change is made to v2012, since the first 2009 projects could first register in Q2 2009.

Also, the recent DOD LEED regulation has little to do with the cost and perception of LEED and everything to do with the wood lobby - see http://www.buildinggreen.com/live/index.cfm/2012/2/23/Are-FSC-and-LEED-K.... I also do DOD work, and my clients strongly support LEED and agressive sustainability measures that reduce total cost of ownership.

It sounds like the question is not whether or not to raise the bar, but how much to raise it? As the first big change in over a dozen years, I think that it's coming none too soon (but that some big concerns still need to be addressed prior to release).

I like the idea that, if changes continue to be this significant, then USGBC may want to go to a four year update in the future, instead of three.

March 22, 2012 - 2:43 pm

All this discussion has caused me to reflect on past versions of LEED, and the changes that have brought us to where we are now. Having worked on projects in every LEED version focused on new construction since v1.0, I would say that change is generally a good thing. I agree that there are a handful of credits in 2012 that have serious (but not un-fixable) problems. However, I have come to think that if we ignore those few serious issues, the big LEED 2012 changes aren’t the problem – the problem is that the changes between prior versions were so small that the USGBC had to make sweeping changes to bring us (more or less) up to date – and the market has grown accustomed to small incremental changes. The last big change was a dozen years ago, between v1.0 and v2.0. The 2009 to 2012 change is arguably more sweeping than that one was. (Remember those days? Things were so simple back then!)

In many ways, I agree with Barry’s comment below – we shoud keep the leadership in LEED – but I am not excited about doing so at the cost of losing large segments of the market. It’s my hope that the rollout of 2012 is slow, allowing overachievers to pick it up while still allowing “average” green building owners to continue with 2009.

The onerous documentation is a separate concern, which does need to be addressed.

March 22, 2012 - 10:19 am

While trying to determine the exact requirements and procedures for satisfying Sustainable Sites Credit: Rainwater Management a member of our team decided to look into the use of the EPA Stormwater Calculator, described in the LEED BD+C 2012 Draft as an alternative approach to determine the natural land cover hydrology. He found that the calculator has not been finalized or even beta tested yet. Currently, the EPA Stormwater Calculator is under peer review and does not have a date for release.

Does anyone else find it alarming that the v2012 is referencing tools that do not exist yet AND do not have a release date?

March 26, 2012 - 9:23 pm

Market transformation should not be so complex that people run away from it. In reviewing LEED 2012, there's still a lot of education in certifying a project that needs to take place. Many building owners and contractors are still not embracing LEED 2009 at this time so why not extend the timeline to 2014.

March 22, 2012 - 10:27 am

Insanely alarming...

March 20, 2012 - 6:57 pm

We project 90+% of the credits will cost more to implement in LEED 2012 than the current cost in LEED 2009 and that is not including additional design team fees or LEED documentation. We feel strongly that our clients will not pursue LEED under the proposed 2012 systems. Most of our clients had not previously drunk the kool-aid and only recently have come to the space that LEED is the 'right thing to do'. Absorbing a 30-40% change would be very difficult, especially given the current economic conditions and quantity of construction starts. The impact of this level of change will significantly alter the perception of LEED.

There should be a standard that USGBC do a cost study or life cycle analysis of LEED 2012 compared to LEED 2009 so that owner/developers will understand the impact ?? Cost studies & life cycle analyses are included in many credits, so why not one of each new version ?? It appears that the benefits are out of balance with the cost to achieve many of the new or renovated credits. Understanding the intention to raise the bar, it still should be balanced with a cost-effective, sustainable rating system. Sustainability is defined with 3Ps, people, planet & profitable, right ?? To be sustainable, it has to be profitable.

We did an analysis of an NC 2009 project which should easily attain Gold-level and it will likely not achieve Certified-level under 2012 without significant additional cost, excluding design firm & LEED fees.

Understandably these are general comments so thankfully we have another week to supply credit specific comments & recommendations.

March 22, 2012 - 3:52 pm

Thanks Melissa. I work on a lot of urban adaptive reuse projects so the diverse uses credit is key to that type project. Even the lower density is difficult to achieve. You are correct that this is one case where the criteria was lowered.

March 22, 2012 - 3:28 pm

Hi Pat,

I should have specified - I was addressing the ID&C system in my comment, so points are slightly different than BD&C.

In v2009 ID&C, 6 points could be obtained by locating a project in a dense area (60,000sqft/acre) OR in an area with access to 10 diverse uses. In v2009 BD&C, 5 points were available for meeting the same set of requirements.

In v2012 ID&C, a project will now be able to achieve the same number of points (6) for being located in a much less dense area (35,000 sqft/acre) and also an additional 2 points if there are at least 8+ diverse uses. This totals 8 points.

In v2012 BD&C, a project will now be able to achieve 4 points for being located in a less dense area (35,000 sqft/acre) and an additional 2 points for being located in an area with at least 8+ diverse uses. This totals 6 points.

Furthermore - denser areas are more likely to have more diverse uses. The additional points achieved for diverse uses in areas that are already very dense seem to be double-counting and not actually adding any new substantial "green value" to the project.

Perhaps not many projects in the v2012 system were achieving this credit and so the USGBC decided to relax it.

Relaxed credits such as the one I've detailed above do not support the idea being discussed on LEED User that v2012 must be more complicated and more expensive than v2009 in order to be substantially "greener".