LEED 2009 member balloting underway

(November 6, 2008) Washington, DC – Member balloting for LEED 2009 is underway, marking the U.S. Green Building Council’s final step in this latest evolution of the LEED green building certification system. Member approval is the final stage of the process used to develop, test, evaluate, revise and publish all LEED rating systems. Member ballot opened on October 14 and will close November 14, 2008, at 5 PM Eastern Daylight Time.

LEED 2009 represents an important major evolution of the existing LEED rating systems for commercial buildings, and includes a series of major technical advancements focused on improving energy efficiency, reducing carbon emissions, and addressing other environmental and human health outcomes.

LEED 2009 will also incorporate highly anticipated regional credits, extra points that have been identified as priorities within a project’s given environmental zone. LEED has also undergone a scientifically grounded re-weighting of credits, changing allocation of points to reflect climate change and energy efficiency as urgent priorities. This will be one of the most significant changes to the rating system, and will increase the importance of green building as a means of contributing immediate and measurable solutions to social, economic and environmental problems facing the world today.

LEED 2009 incorporates eight years worth of market and user feedback, in the form of precedent-setting Credit Interpretation Rulings, which will ensure clarity for project teams. Coupled with a credit alignment structure designed to create a more elegant and harmonized rating system, LEED 2009 will reset the bar for the certification of high-performance green buildings.

Process innovation in how new technical advancements are incorporated into LEED will also be introduced alongside LEED 2009, including a “pilot process” for individual credits that will allow major new technical developments to be flexibly trialed, evaluated, and incorporated into LEED.

“Over the last eight years, LEED has been a successful tool in the market, transforming the built environment towards sustainable building practices. Just as integral to our mission is the process of continuous improvement within LEED so it can continue to reset the bar, as new information, technologies and processes become available,” said Brendan Owens, Vice President LEED Technical Development. “With the approval of our members, the launch of 2009 will give the market a tool that is more flexible and adaptive, while retaining the technical rigor and practicality LEED has always been known for.”

The first public comment period for LEED 2009 opened in May 2008, followed by a second in late August. USGBC had received nearly 7,000 comments from members and stakeholders at the conclusion of the second public comment period on September 2. The Technical Advisory Group (TAG) reviewed the comments and incorporated changes, passing along the rating system to the LEED Steering Committee (LSC). LSC approved LEED 2009 and set it on its course to member ballot. The member ballot will be open for 30 days, from October 14 through November 14, 2008, at 5 PM Eastern Daylight Time. Detailed information about specific proposed technical changes to the rating system can be found in the number of background documents that accompany the public comment forms on USGBC’s Web site, www.usgbc.org.