WASHINGTON - The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has unveiled a series of improvements to its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating system, including what it says is a significantly streamlined documentation and certification process that is now 100 percent online. A result of market surveys and dialogue with the organizations and individuals who use LEED, the USGBC anticipates the changes to the LEED process will reduce the time and cost of LEED certification.

"The LEED process innovations are the culmination of a year's work carried out by a lot of dedicated people," said Tom Hicks, vice president of LEED, USGBC. "Gone are the days when project teams were required to submit binders of documentation, requiring hours of manual preparation. The biggest advancement is that now the LEED process is entirely online, making it easier for project teams to manage."

The refinements are due, in large part, to a technical partnership between USGBC and Adobe. "Without Adobe's partnership, USGBC never would have been able to implement this upgrade as quickly and seamlessly," said Hicks.

Hicks noted that, "The technology actually enhances our ability not only to capture LEED project data, but to store it, analyze it, and use it to continue to strengthen LEED. Our users told us they wanted something easier to use and accessible online, and we have met and, we hope, exceeded their expectations with these refinements."

The LEED process changes are designed to make the documentation and certification process more user friendly without diminishing its technical rigor and quality.

"USGBC is dedicated to continuous improvement. As such, as science, technology, and best practices evolve, LEED will evolve with them - driven by the work of thousands of our members, volunteers, and committees," commented Rick Fedrizzi, USGBC's president, CEO, and founding chair. "We'll always challenge ourselves and the building industry to go further in pursuit of our mission to transform the design and construction of buildings to be healthier, environmentally friendly, and profitable."

Concluded Fedrizzi, "These LEED process innovations are just the beginning of the next phase of evolution for LEED."

For more information, visit www.usgbc.org.

Publication date: 01/16/2006