By Nadav Malin for GreenSource Magazine
LEED 2012 includes a fresh look at credits across the board, and introduces the first more specialized versions of LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance (EBOM), with EBOM for Schools, Retail, Data Centers, Hospitality, and Warehouses. While many in the LEED community have complained that the changes are too much too fast, few would argue that most of the old requirements have gotten old and tired.
Responding to those concerns, however, the fourth, most recent, public comment draft continues a trend of backing off on some of the proposed changes:
- The credit for electric vehicle charging stations and preferred parking has been reinstated in this draft, with minor adjustments.
- A distinction between heavy and non-heavy construction and demolition waste was deemed too difficult to track on the job site and has been removed from this draft.
- A requirement in the commissioning prerequisite to include building envelope commissioning was removed in an earlier draft, and now applies only to the credit.
- Minimum energy performance over ASHRAE 90.1-2010 was lowered from 10% to 5%, recognizing that 90.1-2010 is already about 20% tougher than 90.1-2007, making the cumulative change too challenging.
- An â€œangle of viewâ€ requirement that would have greatly restricted the indoor spaces that could count towards the views credit was eliminated.
Among the biggest changes in LEED 2012 are those in the Materials and Resources (MR) category. Even though this category carries relatively few points (about 10% of the total in most Building Design & Construction rating systems), it has the most direct impact on major building material markets with their associated economic and ecological impacts, so this category is a lightning rod for commentary.
These new approaches are challenging because tools and protocols for meeting these requirements are not yet widely available. USGBC is responding to this situation in several ways:
- Introducing a pilot projects program and extended phase-in period for all of LEED 2012, so that only project teams that want to knock themselves out pioneering these new practices have to do so,
- Pointing out that building commissioning and energy modeling were also not widely used when LEED began requiring them in 2000, so there is precedent for LEED creating this kind of infrastructure; and, to support that process,
- Offering credit in some cases for merely reporting on ingredients and LCA results, regardless of how good those results are. This approach amounts to a big vote for transparency and support for developing data sources and tools, in the hopes that future versions of LEED will be able to make use of widely available data to set rigorous thresholds.
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