LEED® Revisions – Part 3

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LEED® v3 or LEED® Version 3 is intended to establish a more workable and standardized framework that can accommodate more building types and future market-specific requirements.  The larger goal is to encourage the use of the streamlined v3 system to address the prioritized fields.As the point credits now indicate, greenhouse-gas reduction is the top LEED® priority.  LEED® v3 emphasizes the significance of energy, transportation and water.  Sustainable applications to these areas earn the most LEED® credits.To determine the point allocation for these prioritized areas, LEED® consultants took an inventory of the 13 aftereffects of human activity as created by the Environmental Protection Agency and referred to as “TRACI” or Tool for the Reduction and Assessment of Chemical and Other Environmental Impacts.  In concert with the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST), the USGBC determined the relationship of the 13 core criteria and assigned points to each.Under LEED® v3, strategies that increase energy efficiency and reliance on renewable power may now receive up to 26 points as compared to 13 under the older rating system.  Proximity to public transport can now earn 6 points as compared to just one in the earlier versions of the LEED® rating system.In LEED® v3, water has taken on a more significant bearing.  Ambitious water conservation programs can now earn up to 10 points compared to a relatively modest 5 in prior evaluations.In applying the TRACI-NIST tool to the LEED® program, USGBC consultants used their experience to further weight significant initiatives.  Every new and old standard can now receive a minimum of one point.The introduction of regional credits to the LEED® rating system represents an important change.  Projects in different locations can now earn credits for environmental issues specific to that locale.  With the help of USGBC’s local chapters, regional priorities were established an credits have been made available for designs that address these issues.  For example, a project ion Michigan can earn extra credits for:•    Preserving agricultural land•    Reducing light pollution•    Minimizing storm-water runoffThe USGBC submits these regional credit plans with an eye toward the future.  Expectations are that future LEED® rating versions will incorporate the regional considerations into a centralized system.

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