WASHINGTON - The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced that it has adopted regional credits as part of LEED 2009, the new version of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System. These LEED credits encourage that specific regional environmental priorities be addressed when it comes to the design, construction, and operations of buildings in different geographic locations. “Because environmental priorities differ among various regions of the country - the challenges in the Southeast differ from those in the Northwest, for example - regionally specific credits give LEED a way to directly respond to diverse, regionally grounded issues,” said Brendan Owens, vice president of technical development, USGBC. “The inclusion of these regional LEED credits is the council’s first step toward addressing regional environmental issues.”

With the help of USGBC’s regional councils, chapters, and affiliates, credits addressing six specific environmental issues within a region were identified from among the existing LEED credits. In LEED 2009, LEED projects will be able to earn “bonus points” for implementing green building strategies that address environmental issues for that region.

A project can be awarded as many as four extra points, one point each for achieving up to four of the six priority credits. LEED 2009 is one of the three major components that make up LEED Version 3, the latest version of the LEED green building certification program, which launched April 27.

According to the USGBC, the changes to the LEED rating system reflect the rapid advancements in building science and technology and it provides incentives for strategies that have greater positive impacts on energy efficiency and CO2 emissions reductions, among other priorities.

The organization said the other components of LEED Version 3 include a faster, smarter, and easier to use LEED Online, the tool for managing the LEED registration and certification process; and a new building certification model administered by the Green Building Certification Institute through a network of internationally recognized independent ISO-accredited certification bodies.

For more information, visit www.usgbc.org/leed2009.

Publication date:06/08/2009