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USGBC to Revamp LEED Rating System

November 9, 2007

by Nadine M. Post

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is planning to revamp its popular Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system in an effort to make it more user-friendly. USGBC hopes to create, with some exceptions, one LEED system instead of having LEED for residential, for example, and LEED for commercial. It expects to roll out the new system next fall. Another likely change is that LEED will address life cycle analysis, something many of the users would welcome.

USGBC is “harmonizing and aligning credits” across all LEED rating systems, the group says. This will make the system more “adaptive and flexible.” It will still allow additional credits that need to cover existing building types. To accomplish this, USGBC is reorganizing its committee structure. The new structure will focus on technical, market, and certification committees. The market committee will identify market expansion opportunities; the technical committee will steer LEED’s development; and the certification committee will ensure credits deliver on their intent across the rating system.

In addition to adding life cycle analysis to LEED, there will be credits given based on geographic region. The goal is to certify and connect design, construction and operations, and maintenance.

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The USGBC also announced that it is investing $1 million in a green building research agenda. “The National Green Building Research Agenda challenges government, foundation, industrial, academic and other sectors to devote the resources commensurate with the scale of the environmental, economic and social opportunities we face as a planet,” Gail Brager, a professor at the University of California at Berkeley and chair of the USGBC research committee, said in a press release.

The group made these announcements this week at its sixth annual Greenbuild International Conference and Expo, in Chicago. This sustainable design convention drew a record 20,500 attendees—up from 13,300 last year—and 850 exhibitors, up from 477 last year.

A version of this story first appeared on McGraw-Hill Construction’s enr.com.

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