What Will LEED v3 Mean for Green Building Legislation?

The long-awaited LEED Version 3.0 could have important implications for municipal and state level green building legislation.

In an email that was circulated yesterday, USGBC President Rick Fedrizzi announced that his organization’s long-awaited next generation rating system, LEED Version 3.0- which will be known as LEED 2009- will debut for public comment on Monday, May 19. Generally speaking, LEED 2009 will reorganize credits from each of the existing LEED systems (Commercial Interiors, Existing Buildings, etc.) into the much-discussed Bookshelf System, individually weigh credits based on environmental impact, and offer regional bonus credits. Both critics and proponents of the LEED system will likely have much to say about LEED 2009 beginning next week, and we’ll of course be following all of those thoughts as they inevitably begin to emerge.

However, one of gbNYC’s more specific interests with respect to LEED relates to municipal and state level legislation that either provides an incentive for or mandates LEED-compliant construction. We’ve consistently speculated as to what a next-generation LEED product might implicate for existing legislation that, for example, incorporates LEED and “all future versions of LEED promulgated by USGBC.” Will legislators simply amend existing legislation to reflect the changes in LEED 2009 upon its formal adoption at (presumably) Greenbuild in November? Will any municipalities object to such amendments or use the launch of LEED 2009 as a vehicle to revisit their local green building policies?

While the memorandum attached to Mr. Fedrizzi’s email, prepared by the LEED Steering Committee for USGBC board members, suggests that LEED 2009 is not a “tear down and rebuild” of LEED, but rather a “reorganization” of the existing systems, there will be implications for legislation that will only likely emerge during the pending public review process. For example, the Steering Committee’s memo states in more than one location that USGBC “has no intention of treating LEED as a building code.” Might that discourage legislators from incorporating LEED 2009 into future green building bills and push them to draft their own local green building standards that might function as a local green building code?

These are all speculative questions that we’ll try to address in the coming weeks as the industry begins to digest LEED 2009. Regardless, though, it’s clear that a tremendous amount of effort went into the LEED Version 3.0 initiative, and we’re looking forward to digging into LEED 2009 on Monday. What’s also clear is that we’re in for a wild ride when it comes to green building law during the rest of 2008.

Before Monday, check out some highlights from Mr. Fedrizzi’s email below; you can also download the Steering Committee memo at the very bottom of this post :

Yesterday, the USGBC Board of Directors voted unanimously to send out for public comment on Monday, May 19, LEED 2009, a new version of the rating system that delivers against key environmental and human health impacts, and puts in place a transparent framework for weighting credits accordingly, based on the best available science. It is the product of thousands of hours of volunteer time and deep expertise generously given by representatives from every corner of the building industry. 

LEED 2009 resets the bar for green building leadership because the urgency of our mission has challenged the industry to move faster and reach further than ever before.  LEED 2009, coupled with an expanded third-party certification program and significant enhancements to LEED Online make up a multi-faceted initiative that we refer to as LEED v3.   You will be hearing more specifics about all these changes over the next few months, which will include the fruition of an initiative to integrate LCA (Life Cycle Assessment) into LEED credits.

about gbNYC

gbNYC is a multi-disciplinary consulting and real estate services firm. In addition to representing office tenants and commercial buyers in leasing and acquisitions, we also provide innovative consulting solutions from a unique, green building perspective. We advise on green building financial incentives, comment on proposed green building marketing strategies, author white papers, treatises, and market analyses, organize seminars on the LEED process and professional accreditation, and provide advice and analysis on green building risk management and the overall state of green real estate, leasing, and construction, in New York City and beyond.

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One Response to What Will LEED v3 Mean for Green Building Legislation?

  1. Real Life LEED Monday, May 19, 2008 at 5:02 pm #

    I’ve made an attempt at summarizing far too much information about the new LEED 2009 draft into a tidy blog post:

    http://reallifeleed.blogspot.com/2008/05/regionalization-public-comments-and.html

    Enjoy!