WASHINGTON — The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) opened a second public comment period for the proposed 2012 update to its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating system. USGBC said the comment period, which will close on Sept. 14, 2011, is the next step in the continuous improvement process and ongoing development of the LEED program.

“During the first public comment period, we collected just under 6,000 constructive comments and recommendations on the proposed drafts, which place heightened emphasis on an integrative process and building performance,” said Scot Horst, senior vice president, USGBC. “We have also integrated feedback received from project teams who have been pilot testing draft credits in the LEED pilot credit library. We invite members of the engaged, worldwide green building community to take part in the process of further refining and enhancing the LEED program.”

Updated LEED rating system drafts and responses to comments received during the first round of the public comment period are posted for review and comment. USGBC said the credits in the proposed LEED 2012 rating systems have been allocated points based on a weightings process similar to the process used for 2009, but based on impact categories developed by USGBC specifically for use in LEED. These impact categories more directly align outcomes sought by LEED with USGBC’s market transformation goals. The weightings/point allocation process informed many changes in the rating system, including organizational changes proposed for the Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) and Materials and Resources (MR) credit categories.

The organizational revisions proposed for the IEQ section provide a more refined focus on air quality, lighting, and acoustics, in addition to improved incentives for testing and verification. The organizational revisions proposed for the MR credit category reflect a desire to encourage life cycle based thinking through manufacturing and product selection practices. In two new MR credits, which exist in part to fill known gaps in the data used to support life cycle assessment, USGBC said it is tackling issues related to responsible sourcing of raw materials and human health impacts associated with building products.

A change noted to the LEED 2012 for Neighborhood Development draft includes a split into two rating systems: LEED for Neighborhood Development Plan and LEED for Neighborhood Development, aiming to provide a certification for entitled plans in addition to completed projects. Also, LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance users will see an effort to streamline the process of recertification in the operations and maintenance rating systems.

Members of the public can comment on any changes made since the first comment period, which ran from Nov. 8, 2010 until Jan. 19, 2011.

For more information about LEED 2012 development, including accessing the proposed drafts and supporting material, visit www.usgbc.org/LEED/development.

Publication date: 08/22/2011