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The Lowdown on LEED 2012

March 8, 2012 | 0 comments

With the changes LEED 2012 brings to the table for its projected November launch, the rating system wants to show how certified buildings actually save energy and water.

Much has changed in the industry since LEED was first created in 2000. Some professionals now believe that points can be achieved too easily (and aren’t always representative of actual performance). For example, by installing a bike rack, a building with inefficient lighting and an outdated boiler can still earn points. And a lack of post-LEED-certification reporting requirements means there aren’t penalties for neglecting to use newly installed systems to achieve efficiency.

To address this issue, facilities will have to be recertified every five years as part of LEED 2012. Once a facility achieves certification, building owners and facilities managers now have to prove over time that they’re staying current with water- and energy-saving technology by looking for ways to improve performance.

A few LEED 2012 changes deal specifically with energy efficiency:

  • Electricity, natural gas, steam, chilled water, propane, etc. will be required to be metered at the building level as applicable.
  • Tenant-level energy metering will be required to track electricity and heating/cooling in multi-tenant buildings.
  • An ENERGY STAR performance rating of 75 will now be required.
  • A “Performance” category has been added to manage credits that involve measurement, verification, and performance of energy and water use.
  • Some point values have changed from LEED 2009.

Energy-efficiency credits have also been restructured to allow buildings that haven’t qualified in the past to be eligible for LEED. Certification can be pursued as long as significant progress is shown by implementing solutions like window film, lighting controls, and low-flush toilets.

It appears that LEED 2012 will also provide a mix of free and paid apps via LEED Online to give facilities professionals more ways to keep tabs on building performance. Although a full dashboard may not be ready when LEED 2012 launches, these apps will make performance easier to track and benchmark.

The third public comment period for LEED 2012 is open through March 20. If you have something to share with the U.S. Green Building Council about the rating system, visit the LEED 2012 development page.

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