WASHINGTON - The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced it is taking a carrot-and-stick approach to its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating system, tightening standards while providing new incentives for building designers to strive for the highest rating.
The USGBC announced that its board and the LEED Steering Committee have put forth a series of proposals and recommendations for changes to the LEED system, including new standards for commercial buildings that require increased energy reductions and a 50 percent reduction in carbon dioxide emissions, compared to typical commercial buildings. The carrot is that USGBC will develop metrics to quantify the carbon dioxide emissions reductions, providing building owners with a means to earn carbon dioxide offsets. The USGBC will also allow companies to earn LEED certification quickly on a large number of similar buildings, such as branch offices or restaurants.

To encourage building designers and developers to go for its highest rating, USGBC will fully rebate its certification fees for any building that earns LEED Platinum certification. In addition, all LEED-certified new and remodeled commercial buildings will be automatically registered for the "LEED for Existing Buildings" certification, which relates to building operations. By doing so, the USGBC intends to encourage not only green design and building, but also green operations once the building is complete. And to show that it practices what it preaches, the USGBC announced a move into a new building, a LEED Platinum commercial interior in a building with a LEED Gold core and shell. The USGBC also intends to be carbon neutral by the end of 2007.


Publication date: 12/04/2006