Possible Change to LEED Rating System Proves Controversial

by Brandie Malay Siavelis


Possible changes to the LEED rating system have been me with resistance and controversy from manufacturers.

When the U.S. Green Building Council met to discuss changes to its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system in December, it was met with resistance and controversy from several manufacturers. In fact, the manufacturers formed a group, American High-Performance Buildings Coalition (AHPBC), to pressure the USGBC about some proposed changes.

LEED Rating Changes Meet Resistance

The whole technical development process is now under fire, according to Eco-Structure.com, and could affect buildings that would like the coveted LEED rating which, for residential buildings, is becoming important to consumers, . As it stands, the LEED rating process is a voluntary, point-based rating system where building projects earn points for satisfying specific green-building criteria, but the AHPBC wants the process to be a government-regulated.

“Our program is a leadership approach, and we move forward on technical consensus,” USGBC Policy Director Lane Burt said. “The process does not require the same political compromise required by codes because it’s not mandated.”

AHPBC believes that, since the LEED process as become a building standard that affects the marketplace, it should follow American National Standards Institute (ANSI) or ISO-type consensus processes despite being a voluntary program. However, the USGBC does not control entrenchment of LEED in state and federal building regulations.

“Building agencies have used LEED out of [a] lack of a better system,” said Frances Yang, a sustainable materials specialist with Arup and chair of the Life Cycle Assessment working group of ASCE Structural Engineering Institute. And with new green codes, like the International Green Construction Code (IgCC) and CALGreen, Yang says federal and state agencies will likely want to adopt systems designed for code implementation.

The USGBC has information about the importance of green codes, and even shows how green codes specifically have had an affect on the market. But regardless of the outcome of this slight controversy, LEED ratings are here to stay.

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