Has anyone seen the newest release of the Rating System Selection Guidance (dated 1/27/14 on the download page no date on the document)?
It indicates that multifamily residential buildings of 4 to 8 stories that are more than 50% residential now MUST follow LEED for Homes Multifamily Midrise.
This has been a big bone of contention in the past. Buildings whether residential or not that are over 5 stories in our region use commercial construction methodologies and the commercial energy code. We have several multifamily homes developers who have tried both systems and find Homes to be more prescriptive and therefore more costly. They prefer NC.
Up until now, a project could pursue a preferred rating system if it could meet the MPRs and the prerequisites and achieve certification. This no longer appears to be the case. The guidance was misinterpreted by some of my staff because the word "Homes" is not a part of the title of the rating system. They did not pick up on the significance of the shift until they realized the link to the Multifamily Midrise resources leads you to the Homes page.
As we all know, this means that many of us consultants that work on these projects will not be able to do so in the future to any great extent, because of the Homes Provider structure. Though Homes Providers are precluded from giving the kind of design guidance that we can as LEED consultants, the scope for that kind of guidance in such a prescriptive system is relatively small, excepting the energy model.
Further I see no indication that there is any current effort to create more Homes Providers in conjunction with this change. There's lots of info about becoming raters, but nothing I could find about Homes Providers. I even saw a suggestion in a general online search that to become a Homes Provider you should contact the local Homes Provider for info.
Clearly it would suit GBCI to reduce the review times for these projects by handing off much of the accountability to the Homes Provider. And there is obviously some confusion among the inexperienced with LEED about which rating system to use. However, there is a lot more at stake than streamlining their operation.
We've been LEED APs for more than 10 years and green building consultants for more than 7 years. We've done work in every rating system of LEED, excepting of course Homes, and in Green Globes, Green Communities and Evergreen Sustainable Development Standard. From our perspective, the more prescriptive the system the less room our clients have to pursue the kind of tradeoffs that lead to innovation and cost effective implementation of their sustainable goals.
Given some of the other programs GBCI is launching to deal with reducing review times that also impact these projects, we do not believe this policy change is necessary or beneficial. Do you?