LEED v4 Public Comment Forum - LEED Takes a New Direction

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LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser BuildingGreen, Inc. Oct 02 2012 LEEDuser Moderator Post a Comment

USGBC has opened the fifth—and, it expects, final—public comment period on LEED v4, the next version of the LEED rating system. The system was referred to as "LEED 2012" for most of its development, but after the fourth public comment period (see discussion on that comment period and draft) ended with a sense among USGBC membership that the system was not ready for a member ballot, USGBC changed the rollout schedule and the name.

The public comment period is open from October 2, 2012 through Dec. 10, 2012, with the ballot planned for June 1, 2013. Anyone can submit public comments on the LEED v4 draft here or on the USGBC website, where you can also see the proposed language, credit by credit. Please post your comments on LEED v4 below!

Now that the final form of LEED v4 is taking shape and the direction that it is taking is clear, the team here at LEEDuser has written a special report to guide you through potentially confusing new concepts like EPDs, REACH, BUG ratings, and their place in LEED certification.

If you're already a LEEDuser member, look for the download link in the sidebar to the right.

Not yet a LEEDuser member? You can get the LEED v4 report for free with a 30-day trial subscription to LEEDuser.

Think you already know all there is to know about LEED v4? Test your knowledge with this quiz. We'll reveal the answers next week (hint: some of them are not what you'd expect).

An environmental product declaration (EPD) is a shortened version of a:

a.    life-cycle inventory (LCI)
b.    product category rule (PCR)
c.    life-cycle analysis (LCA)
d.    corporate sustainability report (CSR)

LEED v4 includes a new credit for:

a.    avoiding certain dangerous chemicals
b.    using products whose ingredients have been reported by manufacturers, even if they contain dangerous chemicals
c.    both of these
d.    neither of these

LEED’s certified woodWood from a source that has been determined, through a certification process, to meet stated ecological and other criteria. There are numerous forest certification programs in general use based on several standards, but only the Forest Stewardship Council's standards, which include requirements that the wood be tracked through its chain-of-custody, can be used to qualify wood for a point in the LEED Rating System. credit helped bring FSCIndependent, third-party verification that forest products are produced and sold based on a set of criteria for forest management and chain-of-custody controls developed by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), an international nonprofit organization. FSC criteria for certifying forests around the world address forest management, legal issues, indigenous rights, labor rights, multiple benefits, and environmental impacts. into the mainstream. Which of the following lesser-known programs is NOT similarly poised to gain in stature through inclusion in LEED v4?

a.    Sustainable Agriculture Network (SAN)
b.    Framework for Responsible Mining
c.    GreenScreen
d.    American High-Performance Buildings Coalition
e.    Registration, Evaluation, Authorization, and Restriction of Chemicals (REACH)

Which of the following would LEED v4 require under a Building Envelope Commissioning (BECx) option for Enhanced Commissioning?

a.    Implement a project specific plan that includes testing.
b.    Review construction document details for continuity, performance, constructability and value.
c.    Perform site observations to coordinate with specific installation of enclosure details.
d.    Verify mock up construction in the field to demonstrate workmanship has been completed.
e.    None of the above

Why would you want to get a BUG rating number if you were working on a LEED v4 project?

a.    You’d want to know how well your seed mixture is rated to perform in providing insect and wildlife habitat.
b.    You’d want to increase the number of Bicycle User Groups you were serving with bicycle racks and routes.
c.    You’d want to know how well an exterior luminaire does in relation to prescriptive requirements for light pollution reduction.
d.    Everyone wants to avoid a Big Ugly Goof—especially when verifying your energy modeling results.

Why has California Section 01350 been removed from the LEED v4 drafts?

a.    Because VOC emissions testing is no longer part of the rating systems.
b.    Because Section 01350 is an inaccurate name for the required VOC testing method.
c.    Because the credit for “no added urea formaldehyde” in certain materials has been removed.
d.    Because wet-applied materials must now be tested for VOC emissions as well as VOC content.

Spatial daylight autonomy is a sophisticated way to model daylighting because:

a.    it looks at available daylight over the course of an entire year.
b.    it includes protection against glare.
c.    it accounts for occupant behavior.
d.    it measures actual daylight levels after construction.

What’s the key difference in the LEED v4 rainwater requirements, versus LEED 2009’s stormwater management?

a.    It’s all in the name: rainwater is a natural phenomenon; stormwater is a management problem.
b.    There’s an emphasis on infiltration through use of onsite hydrology.
c.    There isn’t much of a difference—just updated language.
d.    Swales are preferred over rain gardens.

Acoustic Performance is a new credit in all the LEED v4 BD&C rating systems, but Minimum Acoustic Performance is also a prerequisite in:

a.    LEED for Schools
b.    LEED for Healthcare
c.    LEED for Hospitality
d.    All of the above

What is the big-picture thinking behind LEED v4’s Demand Response credit?

a.    It’s just a big typo—was meant to be “Demand Repose” in support of office employees getting access to nap rooms (two points for recumbent bike racks).
b.    LEED has a long history of paying attention to how buildings fit into their surrounding infrastructure when it comes to location, transportation, and wastewater—but not energy.
c.    Improving bottom-line issues for green buildings.
d.    Bringing LEED buildings up to speed with where a majority of commercial office buildings already are.

How do you think you did? Post your thoughts below as well as your comments on LEED v4! Need to bone up on some of these key concepts? Check out Key Concepts in LEED v4.

97 Comments

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Alicia Silva CEO Revitaliza consultores
Jun 17 2013
LEEDuser Member
1396 Thumbs Up

LEED v4 Homes

The new LEED v4 is intended to be fully applicable in projects outside the US.
I have navigated through the new LEED for Homes v4 credits but I have not found yet how the new rating system will be applicable to foreign countries.
Might there be a guide that explains theses issues and that I have not read yet?
GH

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David Wood Property Coordinator Jones Lang Lasalle/ BNY Mellon
Jun 17 2013
LEEDuser Member
106 Thumbs Up

When will V4 roll out

I have been searching and cannot find when this begins (if there is even a date) I am mostly interested in EBOMEBOM is an acronym for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance, one of the LEED 2009 rating sytems.. My building is up for recertification and want to know when the cutoff day will be to use 2009?

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Julie Blue Associate, AIA, LEED AP, TMP Architecture, Inc. Jun 17 2013 Guest 342 Thumbs Up

From all the information I have researched and from online Webcasts via USGBC the change over will occur in June 2015. So there are (2) full years before v4 would be required. LEED v 4 is still in the voting stage and has yet to be confirmed/instituded for public usePublic or public use applies to all buildings, structures, or uses that are not defined as private or private use..

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Jim Park Project Manager EAN Technology
May 21 2013
Guest
399 Thumbs Up

v3 stormwater design vs v4 rainwater management

I've been wondering about what could be main reasons of the change made in LEED v4 regarding rainwater. If anyone could enlighten me, please share your expertise. As a non-expert, this is my wild guess.
LEED v3 is using 1,2-year 24hr design storm (worst case). It assumes that it's inevitable for runoff to occur. As long as, it maintains or reduces existing condition's runoff volume/rate, it's fine.
LEED v4 is using 95th/98th percentile. Excluding worst cases, project is required to make sure that all of the rainwater should be managed within the site. (what about rainwater falling on the edge of a project boundary?). This requires installation of natural practices such as bio-retention, and for urban projects that can't accommodate such features, it will be hard to satisfy the credit, since building owners don't like dirty ground water to be collected and sent to the water tank in the building.

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Michael DeVuono Senior Staff Designer, T&M Associates May 21 2013 LEEDuser Expert 2427 Thumbs Up

Your 90% storms are generally referred to as your water quality storms. There has been significant research down over the past decade which supports the thought that this is the storm you want to match pre>post. It is becoming more and more common through local regs to infiltrate or retain this delta volume on site as well.

The implementation of the credit will be easy for some jobs, a little more difficult for others, but it is certainly not asking above what is becoming more and more standard practice in the SWM industry.

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. May 21 2013 LEEDuser Moderator

Good comment, Mike.

Jim, this is just the kind of thing that LEEDuser sought to elucidate in our report on Key Concepts in LEED v4. I'd recommend it.

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Theresa Backhus Sites Technical Specialist, LEED, USGBC May 21 2013 LEEDuser Member 388 Thumbs Up

Hi Jim,
Building on what Mike describes above, LEED is moving towards the “percentile of rainfall events” methodology because we feel that it paints a more realistic picture of a project’s rainfall conditions. This method is equally effective at managing runoff and controlling TSSTotal suspended solids (TSS) are particles that are too small or light to be removed from stormwater via gravity settling. Suspended solid concentrations are typically removed via filtration., and it has been suggested that it may actually be more cost-effective. Also, the industry has been moving in this direction for some time now.

The v4 draft includes a special path for zero lot line, urban projects. We realize that these projects may have fewer opportunities for onsite LID/ green Infrastructure, thus the threshold is lower.

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Melissa Wrolstad Senior Project Manager CodeGreen Solutions
Mar 28 2013
LEEDuser Member
1814 Thumbs Up

Radical Simplification

MR credits need to be radically simplified. Below is an example simplification:

"Combine MRcr2, MRc3 and MRcr4 into one credit. Create Option #1: Disclosure (3pts) and Option #2: Material Improvement (3pts).

Option #1 = 10% by cost (at least 5 materials) - Materials have EPD, HPD and/or Cradle to Cradle v2/v3 Silver. (Materials are weighted at 50% if EPD / HPD is not third party certified.)

Option #2 = 50% by cost (at least 10 materials) - Materials are: certified biobasedGenerally, classification of products and materials derived from plant and animal sources as opposed to minerals. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has a program to promote the use of emerging biobased products that defines them more narrowly, to exclude products that already have established markets, such as food, animal feed, and lumber. material, certified woodWood from a source that has been determined, through a certification process, to meet stated ecological and other criteria. There are numerous forest certification programs in general use based on several standards, but only the Forest Stewardship Council's standards, which include requirements that the wood be tracked through its chain-of-custody, can be used to qualify wood for a point in the LEED Rating System., reused materials, recycled content, certified to have no Benchmark 1 GreenScreen v1.2 hazards, and/or Cradle to Cradle v3 Gold or Platinum certified. (Materials manufactured, extracted and sourced within 100 miles count as 150%.) "

This will eliminate many of the problems with the current writing of these credits such as mixed metrics, requiring certifications that do not exist yet, the vague and contentious "USGBC approved program" language, complicated credit tracking, etc. etc.

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser BuildingGreen, Inc.
Mar 13 2013
LEEDuser Moderator

LEED v4 Sixth Public Comment

LEEDuser is hosting a forum devoted to the LEED v4 sixth public comment period, with key links, here. Let's take the v4 discussion there!

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Timothy Nabholz Miljöcertifieringsingenior (Environmental Certification Engineer) Skanska
Mar 13 2013
Guest
171 Thumbs Up

WR p3 and EA p3 Building-Level Monitoring

Hey all,

I have been doing a review of the 6th Public Comment Draft of v4 for BD+C and noticed something that seems a bit strange to me. The last sentences in these two credits reads "Commit to sharing with USGBC the resulting whole-project water usage data for a five-year period beginning on the date the project accepts LEED certification or typical occupancy, whichever comes first.This commitment must carry forward for five years or until the building changes ownership or lessee." The part that is confusing to me is the release from the commitment to having to share data if the building is sold or the lessee changes. As most, if not all, of our CS buildings will change ownership once the building is built this commitment really means nothing.

Am I reading this wrong or is it meant to give CS a way out of sharing on-going metering?

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Timothy Nabholz Miljöcertifieringsingenior (Environmental Certification Engineer) Skanska
Feb 19 2013
Guest
171 Thumbs Up

LEED v4 AP Format

I have read that in order to achieve the LEED AP credit within LEED v4, the project will be requiring APs to be accredited with a "specialty appropriate for the project". My question is whether the format of the AP accreditation will be the same in v4 as v3, or if the specialties will be broken down further, ie. within BD+C into Healthcare, School, Data Centres, etc. I am doubting that this is the case but as I am preparing to write an AP in the next few months I am wondering if there would be any benefits or dangers in waiting for the v4 test to come out.

I could see having a LEED v4 specialist on a project being an asset, but I wouldn't want to do that at the expense of being pigeon-holed into a specialty within a specialty.

Thanks,
Tim

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Feb 19 2013 LEEDuser Moderator

Tim, I doubt that would be the case.

As far as waiting for the new test, I'd decide that based on whether you are already familiar with LEED 2009 or want to be, and want to be tested on that, or want to study and be tested on the v4 content.

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Scott Bowman Owner - Building Sage, Integrated Design + Energy Advisors, LLC Feb 19 2013 LEEDuser Expert 5017 Thumbs Up

Tristan, I agree with your comment. The discussions I have had with USGBC National all point to just having a specialty. Here is what the draft standard says; “At least one principal participant of the project team must be a LEED Accredited Professional (AP) with a specialty appropriate for the project.” So at most I would interpret this to mean that if the project is NC, you should have BD+C specialty, etc. There are no tests to give further specialty ratings other than BD+C, ID+C, EBOMEBOM is an acronym for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance, one of the LEED 2009 rating sytems., ND, or Homes. Hopefully someone from USGBC will comment.

Since we will be using v2009 for at least three more years, I would not hesitate to take the test now.

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Timothy Nabholz Miljöcertifieringsingenior (Environmental Certification Engineer), Skanska Mar 13 2013 Guest 171 Thumbs Up

Has there been any talk about when one must be accredited under v4? Ie. If someone were to wait until December to get accredited do we know if they could still do so under v3, or if they would have to do so under v4.

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Mar 13 2013 LEEDuser Moderator

I'm sure there will be a switchover at some point, but it has not been announced how that will be handled, or when.

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Michelle Reott LEED AP BD+C, ID+C, O+M, Managing Principal, Earthly Ideas LLC Mar 13 2013 LEEDuser Expert 4732 Thumbs Up

There is a LEED v4 webinar this Friday, March 15 - https://usgbc.webex.com/usgbc/onstage/g.php?d=752827730&t=a - that is supposed to be recorded for those of us who can't attend. Maybe multiple folks can ask the question about when the LEED Professionals exams will switch over so that we can get an answer on the timing.

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K W IC
Dec 13 2012
LEEDuser Member
110 Thumbs Up

V4 Summary fo Changes?

Is there a high-level scorecard or graphic that summarizes the updates/changes from LEED 2009 to LEED v4.

We're most interested in EB and NC/CS.

Thanks in advance.

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Dec 13 2012 LEEDuser Moderator

Kieran, I believe USGBC had something like this posted on its LEED v4 5th public comment page.

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Kathleen Roberts Executive Director North American Metals Council
Dec 10 2012
Guest
15 Thumbs Up

Attempting to comment on LEED v4

It seems the section that my organization wishes to comment on is not open for comment, although that certainly was not clear in our review of the draft. I would also note that trying to submit comments via the USGBC site has been a dreadful experience. See input from the North American Metals Council below:

December 10, 2012

Via Online Submission

The North American Metals Council (NAMC) provides these comments on the latest version of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building document, specifically the chapter “PBT SOURCE REDUCTION—LEAD, CADMIUMA naturally-occurring element and source of pigments that were once a staple in paints, but now is largely phased out in architectural coatings except for certain specialty products. High exposure to cadmium can cause a variety of health problems, including kidney damage., AND COPPER.” The title and intent of this chapter should be modified to remove the reference to persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT) as a descriptor for the metal substances listed.

Metals exhibit unique characteristics that make it inappropriate to evaluate or characterize metal substances using the general hazard evaluation principles, such as PBT, that are applied to organic chemicals. For this reason, the stated intent of the draft LEED document -- “To reduce the release of persistent, bioaccumulative, and toxic (PBT) chemicals associated with the life cycle of building materials” -- is inaccurate and not scientifically justified if it is to be applied to metals or metal substances.

Characterization of persistence for metals is problematic because all metals and other elements on the periodic table are conserved and hence, persistent -- although the form and availability of the metal can change (thereby affecting its potential bioavailability and toxicity) depending on the environmental conditions. Applying persistence criteria designed for organics to metals, therefore, can result in misleading assessments of potential hazard. A more discriminating approach is needed.

The same is true of bioaccumulationProcess by which toxins can build up progressively through the food chain; small organisms often store toxins in fat tissue, and when larger organisms eat them, those toxins became more concentrated.. Unlike organic substances, the bioaccumulation potential of metals cannot be estimated using octanol-water partition coefficients (Kow). For metals, bioconcentration and bioaccumulation factors (BCF and BAF) are inversely related to the concentration of the metal in the surrounding environmental medium and are not reliable predictors of chronic toxicity, food chain accumulation, or hazard. The inverse relationship between exposure concentration and BCF means that organisms from the cleanest environments (i.e., background) have the largest BCF or BAF values, even though they are least at risk of toxic insult. This inverse relationship does not exist for organic substances. Thus, it is counterintuitive to use BCF/BAF and log Kow -- which were originally derived for hazard evaluation of organic substances -- to evaluate hazard and risk for metals.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recognized this and related points in its Framework for Metals Risk Assessment, noting that metals and metal substances must be assessed differently than organic chemicals. Thus, as EPA states in its Fact Sheet on Framework for Metals Risk Assessment, “the latest scientific data on bioaccumulation do not currently support the use of bioconcentration factors and bioaccumulation factors when applied as generic threshold criteria for the hazard potential of metals.”

To avoid confusion and incorrect or inappropriate references to PBT, NAMC recommends that the title of this section simply refer to the chemicals listed, and the intent of the section be removed.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide this input.

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Joseph F. Bridger, LEED AP
Dec 10 2012
Guest
83 Thumbs Up

Why aren't all v4 credits and prereq's available for comment?

I was confused to see that I could not post comments for LEED v4 for all of the credits and prereq's I had assembled comments for. Why are some available and some not?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Dec 10 2012 LEEDuser Moderator

Joseph, USGBC is considering some credits more or less final based on previous rounds of comments and revisions having banged them into shape, and doesn't have them all open for commenting. (They are working behind the scenes  to clean up some errors in some of them, though, and I would encourage you to email USGBC with your thoughts, in case they are helpful.)

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Rob Watson CEO ECON Group
Dec 09 2012
LEEDuser Member
1727 Thumbs Up

Will the current materials approach hurt LEED?

My short answer is “Yes, the current approach to the materials credits is hurting LEED.”

Now that I’ve got people’s blood up, let me explain.

The changes from the fourth to fifth comment draft of LEED on energy and water prerequisites, which were the areas of most concern for me during the 4th comment period, have been pushed into the barest reaches of acceptable.

However, I think the current approach to materials is a train wreck waiting to happen.

I say ‘train wreck’ NOT because of the substance and direction, both of which I think USGBC has correct.

Rather, I believe that the problems will be in terms of administering the system and in terms of market uptake.

If I'm not mistaken, it is the (warranted) wholesale change of the materials section that is principally driving the excessively long (in my opinion) overlap between V4 and V3.

As I have noted in other comments, I believe that fear of losing all credit in the materials categories—even if it is a perceived loss—will keep people locked into V3 until the bitter end of the sunset. If people stay with V3 because of the wholly new materials credits—on top of everything else—then we will have lost out on all of the other V4 benefits: 100% of nothing is nothing.

If the USGBC simply allowed a bit of "backwards compatibility"—just like any smart software company would do—for materials credits, I believe that the whole process could be accelerated significantly.

By backwards compatibility, I mean that the current LEED credits – perhaps with a threshold tweak or two – would continue to be creditable in version 4, but at some fraction, say 50%, of the point credit given in version 3. This allows projects a "pressure relief valve" to begin using V4 and all of the other improvements and increased requirements without having to do everything different at once.

What this might look like:

EPD, Option 3—1 point for Recycled content -- 30% by value

Sourcing, Option 3—1 point for regional materials – 30% by value

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Pamela Lippe President, e4, inc. Dec 10 2012 LEEDuser Member 343 Thumbs Up

I am also very concerned about the ultimate willingness and ability of the design and construction industry to be able to meet the new credits. Materials with the required designations are not easily or broadly available now. Unless we see a lot more materials approved and simple and free databases that will allow for easy sourcing of these materials without a massive amount of research, I am afraid that these changes will drive project teams away from LEED.

Architects and owners will not be happy with an extremely limited palette or options to choose from, which will also reduce competitive pricing and drive up costs. While I am totally in agreement with the goals of transforming the materials industry I am very concerned that the USGBC's core constituency is not being sufficiently considered and may pull back.

It also seems a big risk to me, given the economic difficulties that many companies are facing now, to expect that they will pay to have all or even most of their products certified in the next three years. It will not be cheap.

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Barry Giles Founder & CEO, USGBC LEED Faculty, LEED AP O+M, BuildingWise LLC Dec 10 2012 LEEDuser Expert 3695 Thumbs Up

But why would it 'drive project teams away from LEED'. If the building can't get the credit, or there is no product info to currently support the credit then don't do the credit. The USGBC will soon sort a credit that doesn't get picked up by teams on a regular basis..ACP's being a case in point. (What ever happened to the excel spreadsheet that used to be on-line showing the list of most completed credits against least completed credits) Back in the beginning of LEED we spent half the time reading a credit’s requirements and the asking the USGBC .."..what the devil did you mean by that request". Soon the marketplace picked up...Haworth as ONE example started producing all the details we needed...fluorescent light bulb manufactures dragged their heels…now look what info is available. Things have to change..we have to lead..will it be easy?...no.

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Rob Watson CEO ECON Group
Dec 09 2012
LEEDuser Member
1727 Thumbs Up

Suggestion for an alternative transition between V3 & V4

What I think would be better for the transition would be to allow an alternative compliance pathway for the materials credits ("Backwards compatibility"-a bit more on this in a separate post) and have an earlier transition date for the whole system.

If we allowed some variation on just a couple of points worth of the current materials credits as alternative compliance pathways in the materials section (I think that the building lifecycle and construction waste credits are enough like the current credits to be recognizable), I believe that we could cut 6-12 months worth of transition time and accelerate the uptake of V4. (Naturally, this presumes that there is aggressive training for ASHRAE 90.1/62.1-2010 and other key new elements of the new system. Ironically, the EQp1 requirements are still stuck in 2004, rather than incorporating all the work on the IAQIndoor air quality: The quality and attributes of indoor air affecting the health and comfort building occupants. IAQ encompasses available fresh air, contaminant levels, acoustics and noise levels, lighting quality, and other factors. procedure done in 2010.)

The ballot could go ahead in June 2013 as planned, the final adoption could happen late 2013/early 2014 & the V3 sunset would happen 2Q/3Q of 2014.

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Rob Watson CEO ECON Group
Dec 09 2012
LEEDuser Member
1727 Thumbs Up

Concerns about the proposed transition between V3 & V4

Currently, the proposal is to have a very long uptake period for V4: June 2013 for the ballot and end-of-2013/early-2014 for the launch. I understand that early-to-mid 2015 is being talked about as the sunset for V3. I can understand the idea to have a ‘soft start,’ where more and more people are expected to move to the V4 system, resulting in a phase-out of the V3 system.

However, I think that having such a long overlap will be very confusing for the market and will prolong the time where people have to keep two different rating systems in their heads simultaneously.

While the hoped-for scenario might happen, what I think actually WILL happen is that a relatively small fraction of the market (maybe 15-20 percent of the current users, representing 3-4 percent of the market overall) will take up V4, while the vast majority of the market continues to cling to V3 as long as it can.

When the final deadline for adopting V4 looms, there will be a giant pulse of V3 buildings registering at the last second, which will enable people to continue using it for years into the future. This behavior has been exhibited EVERY time there has been a major transition, whether it's a LEED version change or modifications to the AP exam. There is no evidence that this time around it will be any different. Under this likely scenario, we easily could see projects certifying to V3 as late as 2018, which I don’t think will support USGBC’s aims for market transformation.

An alternative way forward will be proposed in the next post...

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Barry Giles Founder & CEO, USGBC LEED Faculty, LEED AP O+M, BuildingWise LLC Dec 10 2012 LEEDuser Expert 3695 Thumbs Up

OK Rob...time to switch to De-caffeinated coffee…
Your main comment here (long time lag for V3) really has no answer. IF the USGBC put a hard date of January 1 2013..or June 1 2013, there will still be a crush of registrations especially those buildings that are going to recertify within the next 3 to 4 years. That’s good business sense. However running V4 now as a pilot in as many varied buildings as possible is a positive move, there are plenty of companies out there that can absorb the extra over costs to get v4 in-line and are reasonably happy to be the guinea pigs...again.
Another of you’re posts links up with reference guides…here I do believe that the production of reference guides is a ‘dark hole’ that only sees light with the printing of the reference guides…a ‘tough-out, here it is, live with it’. Hopefully the TAG’s will get a chance to review the content before print date to make certain that what is printed actually ties up with what the TAG’s meant to say.
Finally, your comment re ACP’s doesn’t make a lot of headway…I can’t see the point of asking for ACP’s now until credits have actually had a chance to run…after all if the credit isn’t going to fit the building…then don’t attempt it.

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Scott Bowman Owner - Building Sage, Integrated Design + Energy Advisors, LLC Dec 12 2012 LEEDuser Expert 5017 Thumbs Up

Rob, I share your concerns, but understand this may be a by-product of the success of LEED in some ways. It really is already happening. Right now our firm has nearly 80 projects certified, and yet only a few are v2009 right now. There are many in the process of course, but there are many v2.2 projects in the process as well. So in the near future, we will have to keep track of v2.2, v2009, and v4 projects.

We already deal with this a little with building codes, since projects span several years. The big difference there is the codes tend to change slowly. However I clearly remember commissioning a high-rise with a very complex smoke control system while we were designing a very similar building that did not have that kind of system because the codes had changed dramatically.

My hope is two things, first that there are some ways to move up and down in the versions…to try out things like you said in another of your posts. This was done between v2.1 and v2.2. Second, there will be more materials available to help guide teams. The new credit library is a wonderful example of USGBC listening to users and addressing a real need.

So, I do not think you are going to be able to avoid the rush to register you describe, but maybe there are some ways that USGBC can facilitate and encourage migration once that rush occurs.

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Rob Watson CEO ECON Group
Dec 09 2012
LEEDuser Member
1727 Thumbs Up

The What vs. The How

I believe that "The What" (credit requirements) is less important to the success of Version 4 in the market compared to “The How."

By “the How,” I mean the submittal requirements and the tools for delivering them which, as of yet, remain unknown. On some level, it will be impossible to adequately vote on the rating system without a good deal of the "how" being made public.

Since it's unlikely that there are any major substantive changes in approach to the credits in version 4, the argument that "we can't list the submittals until we know what the requirements are" doesn't make any sense.

If you know the basic approach, then you know what the submittal requirements are and the degree to which the credit is met is largely irrelevant when it comes to the tools and support given to project teams try to meet the system.

USGBC and GBCI should include information about the submittal requirements and the upcoming certification support tools in materials released in conjunction with the future V4 ballot.

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Rob Watson CEO ECON Group
Dec 09 2012
LEEDuser Member
1727 Thumbs Up

What will the fixes be for LEED Online V4?

In order for successful ballot, I believe that it will be imperative for USGBC and GBCI to let users know in a fair amount of detail how they're planning to address the existing shortcomings in the online tools and other applications being used to submit to LEED.

In my conversations with people at USGBC there is a strong awareness of the shortcomings of the existing tools and ample promises that fixes are in the works. However, I say that it is now imperative that these fixes be made public regarding their nature and the ultimate goal. Even if the fixes not finally ready, it will be really important for people to know sooner rather than later the types of fixes that are being proposed so that the market understands that USGBC understands.

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Rob Watson CEO ECON Group
Dec 08 2012
LEEDuser Member
1727 Thumbs Up

Green Vehicles for Warehouse and distribution centers

For warehouse and distribution centers, SSc8 an Option 3 should be introduced such that if a firm has an established logistics optimization system in place that will be implemented at a new facility, the demonstrated reductions from this logistics optimization program should be recognized.

Such measures could include scheduling optimization, packing material optimization to increase product volume shipped per truck and other such measures.

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Pamela Lippe President e4, inc.
Dec 07 2012
LEEDuser Member
343 Thumbs Up

Rainwater management

Can anyone tell me how LEED is defining "in a manner best replicating natural site hydrology processes using low impact development and green infrastructure?" In an earlier version it was defined as a "soil and vegetation-based approach." If that is still so, is there a way to achieve the credit in zero lot line buildings in an area such as Manhattan where there is virtually no soil or vegetation or in Miami where the water table is so high it is impossible to infiltrate?

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Theresa Backhus Sites Technical Specialist, LEED, USGBC Dec 07 2012 LEEDuser Member 388 Thumbs Up

Hi Pamela,
It is defined the same way as in the previous versions; the definitions have just moved to the online Glossary (while viewing each credit, you can "toggle" the glossary on or off). You can also view the full Glossary here:
https://new.usgbc.org/glossary

A path was actually created specifically for zero lot line projects in urban areas (3 points). The percentile of rain events threshold was lowered to the 85th percentile. The definition you mention above is for "green infrastructure," but projects can also use other engineered practices such as rainwater harvesting.

The v4 Rainwater Management credit language can be found here:
https://new.usgbc.org/node/2613262?return=/credits/new-construction/v4-d...

Thank you for your question! I hope this helps.

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Pamela Lippe President, e4, inc. Dec 07 2012 LEEDuser Member 343 Thumbs Up

So to be clear are you saying that it will be acceptable to capture water for reuse (rainwater harvesting) as a way to meet the credit? I don't see that anywhere in the definition of LID or green infrastructure.

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Theresa Backhus Sites Technical Specialist, LEED, USGBC Dec 07 2012 LEEDuser Member 388 Thumbs Up

Yes, it is listed as an example approach in the LID definition:
"low-impact development (LID): an approach to managing stormwater runoff that emphasizes on-site natural features to protect water quality, by replicating the natural land cover hydrologic regime of watersheds, and addressing runoff close to its source. Examples include better site design principles such as minimizing land disturbance, preserving vegetation, minimizing impervious cover, and design practices like rain gardens, vegetated swales and buffers, permeable pavement, rainwater harvesting, and soil amendments. These are engineered practices that may require specialized design assistance."
https://new.usgbc.org/glossary/39#letterl

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Pamela Lippe President, e4, inc. Dec 10 2012 LEEDuser Member 343 Thumbs Up

I still think that it would be helpful to make it clearer that rainwater harvesting is acceptable in the credit language rather than forcing people fo figure it out based on the glossary language. It is particularly confusing because i don't see how rainwater harvesting replicates "natural site hydrology processes" but I am happy to hear that it is acceptable since many projects will find it difficult, if not impossible, to infiltrate. That said, it will be an more expensive proposition for that type of project..

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Scott Bowman Owner - Building Sage, Integrated Design + Energy Advisors, LLC Dec 11 2012 LEEDuser Expert 5017 Thumbs Up

I had a similar concern about rainwater harvesting for the water efficiency credits, but in the last draft there was a change made that allowed alternative water sources for the WE credits. The WE prerequisites must be through reduction however. So there is something to use your harvested water for. I agree that this can be expensive, especially on larger projects, but can make a dramatic improvement in older urban areas where there is intense pressure on the infrastructure due to combined sewer and storm systems. Using rainwater harvesting systems in these applications in a distributed manor can reduce the need for huge wastewater treatment plants to serve surges during rain events.

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Jeremy Kuhre Sustainable Buildings & Operations Manager Sustainable Solutions Corporation
Dec 07 2012
LEEDuser Member
698 Thumbs Up

A few comments...

I will be submitting more detailed comments directly to the USGBC. The following are just for LEEDUser feedback:

BD+C

SS: Heat Island Reduction
Has the USGBC considered making this credit climate zoneOne of five climatically distinct areas, defined by long-term weather conditions which affect the heating and cooling loads in buildings. The zones were determined according to the 45-year average (1931-1975) of the annual heating and cooling degree-days (base 65 degrees Fahrenheit). An individual building was assigned to a climate zone according to the 45-year average annual degree-days for its National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Division.-specific? In some climate zones, a darker roof actually reduces gross annual energy consumption at the individual building level. It is recognized that this credit has more to do with reducing heat islands than it does with reducing heating/cooling loads on individual buildings. However, there is something to be said for the aggregate, global effect of reduced heating/cooling loads on many individual buildings. A full LCA may even reveal that highly reflective roofs in heating dominated climate zones (e.g. CZ’s 6 and above) may actually contribute more to global warming than the heat island effectHeat island effect refers to the absorption of heat by hardscapes, such as dark, nonreflective pavement and buildings, and its radiation to surrounding areas. Other sources may include vehicle exhaust, air-conditioners, and street equipment. Reduced airflow because of tall buildings and narrow streets exacerbate the effect. of less reflective roofs would. To my knowledge, such an LCA has not been performed to date. It is also recognized that the USGBC may desire to keep the heat island effect separate from the issue of energy efficiency/global warming within the LEED rating system. For example, the USGBC may see the increased energy consumption in individual buildings associated with this credit as a “trade-off” with EAp2/c1 in terms of contributing to global warming. Either way, it would be good to know that the USGBC has considered this issue and has made a deliberate decision.

WE: Indoor Water Use Reduction
Does anyone know why the rating system does not recognize ENERGY STAR as an option for commercial clothes washers?

MR: General Comment
It seems that the shift of using regional materials as a multiplier (instead of a "stand-alone" contributor) does not sufficiently encourage regional materials that do not also contribute to other sustainable product attributes listed in the MR credits. For example, a project using locally quarried stone floors could not receive credit for the "regionality" of the stone for the "Sourcing of Raw Materials" credit as it is currently written.

As an aside, I think that the common complaint about "too much documentation" for these credits deserves attention, but needs to be balanced. For those around when LEED 2.0 came out, how many manufacturers were making recycled content data available? 5%, 10% at most? LEED always has been a market driver and manufacturers will respond as they have in the past (hopefully!).

MR: Construction and Demolition Waste Management
"Option 2. Reduction of Total Waste Material" should make it more clear that diversion from landfills is not a requirement for fulfilling this option (I assume it is not as 2.5 lbs/SF is a very small amount of waste for most projects).

EQ: Interior Lighting
We are concerned about requirement of three lighting levels for individual occupant spacesIn individual occupant spaces, occupants perform distinct tasks from one another. Such spaces may be contained within multi-occupant spaces and should be treated separately where possible. Individual occupant spaces may be regularly or non-regularly occupied spaces.. Of particular concern are open office spaces with individual workspaces—a growing trend in commercial offices. It is already a challenge to provide individual-controlled lighting for these spaces (often in the form of task lighting at the desk level). It is not clear how multi-level lighting would be beneficial for individual spaces in an open office where task lighting is already available. Moreover, if task lighting is used, the space is, in effect, already employing three levels of lighting (off, ambient overhead lighting, and task lighting). It is proposed that an exception be made to the requirement for multi-level lighting for individual occupant spaces where task lighting is employed as a strategy.

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Lyle Axelarris Civil/Structural Engineer, LEED AP BD+C, O+M, Design Alaska Dec 07 2012 LEEDuser Member 544 Thumbs Up

Jeremy,
I agree that the heat island credit should be climate-zone specific, as well as other credits (Cooling tower water, for example). I think USGBC should keep the heat island effectHeat island effect refers to the absorption of heat by hardscapes, such as dark, nonreflective pavement and buildings, and its radiation to surrounding areas. Other sources may include vehicle exhaust, air-conditioners, and street equipment. Reduced airflow because of tall buildings and narrow streets exacerbate the effect. separate from the issue of energy efficiency, as you pointed out may be USGBC's desire. The separation of issues and potential synergies and trade-offs are, in my opinion, a very valuable component of LEED.

However, I have to question the idea of using solar gain through the roof for heating load reduction. Unless it is a pitched roof, are you really getting sufficient insolation during the low-angle winter months to use solar gain on the roof instead of a better enclosure? And is that solar gain making it's way through your roof insulation? Maybe it's because my winter solstice noon solar altitude is only 2 degrees, but it seems to me that in heating-dominated climate zones, if you are getting solar gain through the roof in the winter months, then you simply don't have enough insulation in the roof. Am I wrong? (Again, I think I may be very skewed by my zone 8 location).

My climate-zone concern for this credit is that it makes no sense at Latitude 65 to be concerned about SRI values of roof assemblies but not wall assemblies. The solar noon elevation at summer solstice is only 49 degrees in Fairbanks. Well over 90% of the time, the sun is more perpendicular to the walls then the roof (the sun is less than 45 degrees above the horizon). For heat island reduction in the far north, shouldn't the wall SRI values be more of a concern than the roof? I know that we are in a very unique situation, and the reviewers I've spoken with seem very reasonable. I think a clear explanation in the narrative may allow for a wall SRI alternate compliance path, but some credits are simply not applicable to my location.

Can there be a heating-only climate alternative to the Cooling Tower Water use credit? Can LTc4 and LTc5 (Density and Transit) be assessed differently for urban and rural areas? About 10% of the rating system is contained in those two credits, and they are simply unattainable in many rural areas. I support smart growth, but someone has to work on the farms, parks, factories and military bases. There is no reason that the buildings that these people live and work in shouldn’t be high-performing, healthy, sustainable buildings, driven by the LEED process. But the automatic 10% reduction in point potential (among other unique obstacles in rural areas) can be a barrier to LEED uptake in these areas . Yes, some credits are easier in urban environments and some are easier in rural environments. But that only means that we’re missing opportunities to push the envelope in both locations!

Instead of breaking up the rating systems by building type (Retail, Hospitality, Health Care, etc.), I think refinement efforts should be focused on fine-tuning the systems based on climate and urban/rural differences. I understand these are difficult boundaries to define (and climate change1. Climate change refers to any significant change in measures of climate (such as temperature, precipitation, or wind) lasting for an extended period (decades or longer). (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2008) 2.The increase in global average temperatures being caused by a buildup of CO2 and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This temperature change is leading to changes in circulation patterns in the air and in the oceans, which are affecting climates differently in different places. Among the predicted effects are a significant cooling in Western Europe due to changes in the jet stream, and rising sea levels due to the melting of polar ice and glaciers. and urban sprawl make these group boundaries change through time), but there seems to be much more potential for addressing sustainability needs, realizing market potential, and accurately assessing the "greenness" of a building if you take into account climate and population density.

And the RP credits simply don't cut it! - especially when they are applied across the whole chapter (which in my case spans over 3,200 miles and 5 different ASHRAE climate zones)

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Jeremy Kuhre Sustainable Buildings & Operations Manager, Sustainable Solutions Corporation Dec 08 2012 LEEDuser Member 698 Thumbs Up

Lyle,
It sounds like LEED is a tough fit for Alaska! Regarding a dark roof's potential to reduce heating loads, you may want to check out: http://www.epdmroofs.org/3.3_Supplement_section_of_An-EPDM-Roof-for-Ever.... Be warned it is an industry whitepaper and high on anecdotal evidence. It does cite one study that used DOE's Cool Roof Calculator that may be worth a look. The paper does reference the fact that roof insulation values have increased by so much, roof color plays a reduced role in energy efficiency (as you also mentioned). Bottom line, I still haven't seen a comprehensive study performed on this question. The concept you suggested of an SRI-based approach to exterior walls is a very interesting one. Again, I'm not sure what all the USGBC has considered in this area...

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Lyle Axelarris Civil/Structural Engineer, LEED AP BD+C, O+M Design Alaska
Dec 07 2012
LEEDuser Member
544 Thumbs Up

Where did EBOM IOc3 go?

What happened to "Documenting Sustainable Building Cost Impacts"? I don't see it on the latest checklists or on the USGBC website. I may have missed the discussion in earlier drafts - what was the problem with that credit? I think it has the potential to be of great value to both the project stakeholders and the green building community, as a whole.

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Melissa Wrolstad Senior Project Manager CodeGreen Solutions
Dec 05 2012
LEEDuser Member
1814 Thumbs Up

LEED ID+C

This comment pertains to the LEED ID+C rating system, which still seems to be the little brother left at the grocery store in all this new rating system development.

In credits marked final that we cannot comment on anymore, there are obvious confusing errors such as listing requirements for Schools and Healthcare projects (which are not rating systems in ID&C). Another error that can be found sporadically throughout ID&C is requirements for buildings instead of commercial interior spaces (e.g. MRpr: Storage and Collection of Recyclables – try providing dedicated areas accessible to waste haulers and building occupants for the collection and storage of recyclable materials for the entire building when your LEED project is an office space that constitutes 1% of a skyscraper in Hong Kong…. It’s laughable AND scary because this is a prerequisite.)

My understanding was that v4 was supposed to be simplified and stream-lined, which I am all for. Launching a system with obvious confusing errors is not simplified or stream-lined. I feel very uncomfortable voting “yes” for an ID&C system that will require addenda on day #1 to make sense.

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Susan Walter Sr Project Architect, Wilmot/Sanz Dec 05 2012 LEEDuser Expert 13751 Thumbs Up

Melissa,

What credits reference the HC program? I haven't found any but I have been forgetting my ID+C guide at the grocery store. :) One thought however on what may be going on with the HC references. Hospital renovation work is often directed to use the ID+C guide instead of the HC guide due to definitions of complete building, project boundaries, limited mechanical impact, etc. It may be that LEED is trying to provide better guidance for a HC project using the ID+C guide. Let me know what credits and I'll be happy to read them and offer any of my limited insight.

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Melissa Wrolstad Senior Project Manager, CodeGreen Solutions Dec 06 2012 LEEDuser Member 1814 Thumbs Up

Hi Susan,

I think that's an optimistic look at things. :) Here are some of the incorrect listings. There are probably more I didn't catch!

LT: Access to Quality Transit - All Options section has requirements for Schools.

WE: Indoor Water Use Reduction - Appliance and Process WaterProcess water is used for industrial processes and building systems such as cooling towers, boilers, and chillers. It can also refer to water used in operational processes, such as dishwashing, clothes washing, and ice making. use section has requirements for Schools and Healthcare.

EA: Green Power and Carbon Offsets - Under requirements it lists Healthcare along with the other CI systems.

EQ: Low-Emitting Interiors - In Table 1 there are requirements listed for Healthcare and Schools Projects.

If the USGBC is trying to provide better guidance for HC projects using ID+C guidance - I hope that they will clarify that this is what they are doing. Right now it seems to me that they forgot to copy edit BD+C credits for the ID+C system.

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Chrissy Macken Assistant Project Manager, LEED v4 , U.S. Green Building Council Dec 06 2012 LEEDuser Member 1044 Thumbs Up

Thank you for the feedback in this chain - this is a helpful list of where there are substantive corrections to be made during copy edit. I will note - the PDF documents reviewed as rating system families (BD&C, ID&C, EBOMEBOM is an acronym for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance, one of the LEED 2009 rating sytems., ND, Homes) are created only for public comment periods and the base content itself will go through several more reviews prior to balloting next year. Issues like building v. project and tables having additional requirements will be addressed.

While Healthcare and Schools are not part of the ID&C rating system, Retail and Hospitality are so you should expect to see additional requirements called out for them. Extraneous language will be addressed through forthcoming copy edit.

Finally, I'm happy to report that we have a number of CI projects (both within and outside the U.S.) who have enrolled and begun working with the CI (and all other) rating systems through the LEED v4 Beta Program. The purpose is to ensure that substantive issues with the v4 support tools and resources are resolved and that v4 will be of highest quality when launched.

We are excited to share the outcome of this work as well as the work of our internal technical team on the significant documentation streamlining and improvements to the reference guide content.

Thank you for being engaged with the 5th public comment draft of v4 - the comment period is open until the 10th, so please do provide your feedback!

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Lyle Axelarris Civil/Structural Engineer, LEED AP BD+C, O+M Design Alaska
Dec 04 2012
LEEDuser Member
544 Thumbs Up

LEEDv4 EBOM comments

Is this where I should comment on LEEDv4 EBOMEBOM is an acronym for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance, one of the LEED 2009 rating sytems. changes?

Also, I'm not sure where the best place is to post this comment, but there is an error in the new EBOM checklist. In the EBOM hospitality tab, the MR total does not include MRc5, so it shows only 6 possible MR points, and a total of only 108 points in the rating system. Fortunately, the spreadsheet is not locked, so it is an easy fix.

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Dec 04 2012 LEEDuser Moderator

Lyle, yes, you can post comments here or on the USGBC website.

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Tom Lent Policy Director Healthy Building Network
Nov 29 2012
Guest
1089 Thumbs Up

Assessing the new MR credits - MRC4 - material ingredients

This credit signifies a huge step in a positive direction for the building industry. It endorses a hazard-based approach to product improvement, rewards targeted transparency to inform product selection and implicitly acknowledges that EPDs do not satisfactorily address health impacts. However, the credit must be adjusted in order to be implementable by project teams. Suggestions for improvement fall into one of two general categories: procedure or substance.

PROCEDURE
As noted by Carly Ruggieri elsewhere here, the MR credits are getting quite disparate in their tracking requirements. As it is written, this credit has disparate processes applying to each point for this credit and the point allocation is unclear. The second point should build on the foundational effort by project teams to complete the requirements of the first point. Instead of necessitating a different information set for each, the credit should expand by going deeper with the data already in-hand. The metrics must be identical to standardize communication with manufacturers and allow for clear and uniform tracking procedures by project teams.

The current requirement to document 25% of all permanently installed products used (by cost) is a gargantuan task, and would necessitate researching a majority of specified products to achieve the stated goal. The volume of effort is out of scale with the reward, and beyond what is possible within current market limitations.

Instead, the second portion of the credit should build on the requirements of the first portion of the credit. Since 1 point can be earned for inventorying 20 products, the second point should reward project teams that either document ingredient inventories of more products or demonstrate that a portion of the products already inventoried avoid worst-in-class chemicals. Both of these avenues yield the desired result to “encourage the use of products and materials for which life-cycle information is available and that have environmentally, economically, and socially preferable life-cycle impacts”.

For example, the credit could be restructured as follows:
1 point (total): Inventory the content of 20 products to at least 0.1% (1000 ppmParts per million.).
2 points (total): Inventory the content of 40 products to at least 0.1% (1000 ppm), OR Inventory the content of 20 products to at least 0.1% (1000 ppm) AND demonstrate that at least 10 of these products avoid worst-in-class chemicals.

SUBSTANCE
One major limitation of this credit is the varying degrees of transparency in the approved compliance paths. As it stands, the credit equally values reporting to the end user (such as with the Health Product Declaration) and reporting to a third party assessor (Cradle to Cradle v2). For project teams to make informed and comparative decisions, it is their right to know the so-called reported information. Fractional contribution of products to credit achievement presents another significant concern from the perspective of quantifying hazard and exposure. Comments are organized by compliance path below:

Cradle to Cradle (C2CA protocol developed by McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry that establishes guidelines for the manufacture of products in ways that harmonize with natural systems. These guidelines require, for example, that products be recyclable indefinitely, contain no hazardous ingredients, and be manufactured using renewable energy.):
• C2C Version 2 is not transparent about the standards for its protocol; Version 3 appears much more transparent. The credit should recognize compliance with C2C v3 – not v2.
• With respect to the first point (reporting), C2C v2 certification at the Silver level does not share product inventory information with the end user and has few absolute limits on hazardous content. The credit should require C2C v3 certification at the Silver level together with a published report card that indicates (at minimum) the optimization status of the specific product for each category evaluated.

Health Product Declaration (HPD) Open Standard:
• The HPD supports a range of levels of disclosure and is a good fit as a compliance path for this credit. However, the credit needs to more specifically define the threshold level within the HPD Open Standard that meets the credit intent. As such, the credit language should indicate that the documentation should be a “Complete HPD, with (at minimum) a Full Disclosure of Known Hazards”.

Manufacturer Inventory:
• Since the HPD Open Standard offers a template that mirrors the credit requirements and facilitates manufacturer disclosure in a consistent fashion, it is redundant to include “Manufacturer Inventory” as a separate compliance path.

GreenScreen:
• The technical requirements for GreenScreen List Translator Benchmark 2 are far greater than those of GreenScreen Benchmark 1. This compliance path should also include an intermediate, more attainable, option. Add GreenScreen List Translator Possible Benchmark 1 as an intermediary valued at 150% of cost. Increase the full GreenScreen Benchmark 2 value to 200% of cost. Under the simpler product count approach outlined above, this would mean that a product whose ingredients all pass GreenScreen Benchmark 2 would count as 2 products toward the 10 product total requirement.
• The credit language should mention that the HPD can document a product’s compliance with this performance-based path.

REACH:
• This compliance path is highly problematic – it gives international projects a virtually “free ride” compared to those manufactured domestically. This is because the REACH Authorization and Candidate lists are included within and are only a very small subset of the GreenScreen List Translator, (noted as a parallel compliance path for this point). There is no material reason why international projects and products should be exempt from the additional requirements outlined in this credit. To the favor of international project teams, most European manufacturers have already eliminated all of the REACH Authorization chemicals and are also avoiding the REACH Candidate list chemicals if they can.

Fractional Contributions:
• It is imperative that the allowance for fractional product contributions is removed as a compliance path from this credit. Hazard from a toxic ingredient is not necessarily a function of the percentage of content. Consider, for example, that an insulation product with a halogenated flame retardant may only contain 1% or less of that ingredient. The fractional contribution approach results in 99% applied value towards the credit, even though 100% of the product is ‘contaminated’ with a serious potential health hazards for end users.

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Tom Lent Policy Director, Healthy Building Network Dec 02 2012 Guest 1089 Thumbs Up

Overall, the compliance paths could be explained in a more straightforward and simplified way. Although there are five listed programs, when reviewed from an implementation perspective, there really are only two different documentation options: Cradle to Cradle certification or complete Health Product Declaration (the HPD template accommodates all the for the ‘Manufacturer Inventory’, ‘GreenScreen’, and ‘REACH’ paths).

The credit will be much less daunting to design teams if it is rewritten to make clear that they will not have to learn five new programs, but rather can take a single documentation path to track and document the credit.

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Stacy Glass Executive in Residence for the Built Environment, Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute Dec 11 2012 Guest 22 Thumbs Up

The Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute supports the revised structure of the MR section in LEED v4. The improved structure demonstrates a balanced approach to EPDs and encourages transparency, while introducing the concept of optimization.

Our comments focus on edits for the credit language related to Cradle to Cradle Certification as listed in MR CREDIT: BUILDING PRODUCT DISCLOSURE AND OPTIMIZATION – MATERIAL INGREDIENTS options 1 and 2. The recommended edits capture the newly released Cradle to Cradle CertifiedCM v3 standard and clarify aspects of the v2 standard.

The new standard was released in November and is available on our website in its entirety. We will begin certifying under v3 January 1, 2013. Products currently certified under v2 will have two years to continue certifying under v2 but must recertify under v3 beginning in 2015. Newly certified products must be certified using v3 beginning January 1, 2013.

Given the timing of LEED v4, it is recommended that credits related to Cradle to Cradle Certified provide language for both versions.

Option 1: Material Ingredient Reporting

Intent
To reward project teams for selecting products for which the chemical ingredients in the product are inventoried using an accepted methodology and for selecting products verified to minimize the use and generation of harmful substances.

Cradle to Cradle v2
The first step of certification in the Material Health attribute is for the manufacturer to provide a complete inventory of chemicals in the product. The bill of materials is then reviewed by an assessor and screened for chemicals on the banned list. Banned list chemicals are not allowed in C2CA protocol developed by McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry that establishes guidelines for the manufacture of products in ways that harmonize with natural systems. These guidelines require, for example, that products be recyclable indefinitely, contain no hazardous ingredients, and be manufactured using renewable energy. Certified products at any level of certification. At this stage in the certification process, the product achieves Basic Certification.

For a product displaying the C2C v2 Basic label or above, a specifier can be assured that the product has been fully inventoried, reviewed by an assessor, and screened for banned list materials. The rigor of the C2C inventory process even at the Basic level meets the spirit of the credit. Therefore, we recommend that all v2 Certified levels (Basic, Silver, Gold, Platinum) be recognized in this credit.

Cradle to Cradle v3
In C2C v3, the standard has been modified to recognize the challenges in identifying chemicals throughout the supply chain and to encourage broader participation in the entry levels of certification. The fist step is an inventory of ingredients.

To receive a Basic C2C in v3, the product is 100% characterized by its generic material and does not contain any Banned List substances based on supplier declarations. The C2C Banned List in v3 is much more extensive than the Banned List in v2. Chemicals on the v3 Banned Lists correlate well to GreenScreen Benchmark 1 chemicals. However, the product is not characterized by individual chemical ingredients to the 1000 ppmParts per million..

As a product progresses to higher levels of certification, the extent of chemical identification and assessment increases:
• BRONZE: Meets BASIC level requirements + The product is at least 75% assessed (by weight) using A, B, C, X ratings. Products that are entirely biological nutrients in nature (e.g., cosmetics, personal care, soaps, detergents, etc.) are 100% assessed. Assessment includes identification of chemicals that are present at 100 ppm or higher in the product’s materials.
• SILVER: Meets BRONZE level requirements + The product is at least 95% assessed (by weight) using A, B, C, X ratings. Products that are entirely biological nutrients in nature (e.g., cosmetics, personal care, soaps, detergents, etc.) are 100% assessed. Assessment includes identification of chemicals that are present at 100 ppm or higher in the product’s materials.
• GOLD and PLATINUM: Meets SILVER level requirements + The product is 100% assessed and contains only non-X materials. Assessment includes identification of chemicals that are present at 100 ppm or higher in the product’s materials.

For a product displaying the C2C v3 Bronze label or above, a specifier can be assured that at least 75% of the materials in the product have been inventoried, chemicals that are present at 100 ppm or higher in those materials have been reviewed by an assessor, and those chemicals are not present on the banned lists. Suppliers will have also signed declarations stating that chemicals on the banned lists are not present in the material above the designated threshold. Therefore, we recommend that v3 Certified levels Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum be recognized in this credit.

Specific Credit Revision Language:
Cradle to Cradle Certified. The end use product has been certified at the following levels:
• Cradle to Cradle Certified v2, all levels Basic, Silver, Gold, Platinum
• Cradle to Cradle Certified v3, Bronze, Silver, Gold, Platinum

Note: Cradle to Cradle Certified products are recertified every year under v2 and every two years under v3. The recertification requirement recognizes that formulations and suppliers change, new research on chemicals may come to light, and that new and safer ingredient options may become available. We recommend adding a requirement that the other paths available in this credit option have a similar re-screening time period.

Option 2: Material Ingredient Optimization

Intent: Use products that document their material ingredient optimization.

The banned list in v2 of Cradle to Cradle was minimal and optimization was achieved through various levels of certification. At the Gold and Platinum levels, products are 100% assessed and there are no x-assessed chemicals in the product. Therefore, we recommend that both Gold and Platinum be recognized at 150%.

In Cradle to Cradle v3, the bar for Material Health optimization has been raised with a more extensive list of banned chemicals that are not allowed at any level of certification. It would be consistent with the intent of the credit to recognize optimization achieved at the Bronze through Platinum certification levels:
• BRONZE: Meets BASIC level requirements + The product is at least 75% assessed (by weight) using A, B, C, X ratings. Products that are entirely biological nutrients in nature (e.g., cosmetics, personal care, soaps, detergents, etc.) are 100% assessed. Assessment includes identification of chemicals that are present at 100 ppm or higher in the product’s materials.
• SILVER: Meets BRONZE level requirements + The product is at least 95% assessed (by weight) using A, B, C, X ratings. Products that are entirely biological nutrients in nature (e.g., cosmetics, personal care, soaps, detergents, etc.) are 100% assessed. Assessment includes identification of chemicals that are present at 100 ppm or higher in the product’s materials. The product contains no substances known or suspected to cause cancer, birth defects, genetic damage, or reproductive harm after the A, B, C, X assessment has been carried out. A phase out/optimization strategy has been developed for those materials with an X rating (X substances may still be present but none considered CMR).
• GOLD and PLATINUM: Meets SILVER level requirements + The product is 100% assessed and contains only non-X materials. Assessment includes identification of chemicals that are present at 100 ppm or higher in the product’s materials.

Specific Credit Revision Language:
Cradle to Cradle Certified. End use products are certified Cradle to Cradle. Products will be valued as follows:

Version Bronze Silver Gold Platinum
V2 N/A 0% 150% 150%
V3 100% 150% 200% 200%

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Tom Lent Policy Director Healthy Building Network
Nov 27 2012
Guest
1089 Thumbs Up

Assessing the new MR credits - #2 & 3

I find a lot to like in the new LEED MR Credits (MRc2, 3 & 4 Building product disclosure and optimization). The credits take new important steps to encourage EPR (Extended Producer Responsibility), responsibility for resource extraction practices, CSR reports (Corporate Social Responsibility), certification of the sustainability of agricultural based materials and content disclosure and toxics reduction. These begin to fill what have been some important gaps in LEED’s approach to materials.

The Material Ingredients credit (MRc4) addressing content disclosure and toxics reduction represents a critical leap in forward LEED attention to health issues in materials. The USGBC deserves strong support for this important credit and will need reinforcement against the ongoing American Chemistry Council attacks on this point.

That said there are many devils in the details, including some greenwash loopholes big enough to drive a project through and we need the USGBC to go further. I’ll cover my questions and suggestions for the #2 EPD and #3 Sourcing credits in this comment and follow up in the next day or so with a comment just on #4 the Material Ingredients credit

MRc2 – EPDs: Option 1 Published EPD credits the industry average EPDs (1/2 credit for products that participate in an industry wide (generic) EPD) that look to me like a great opportunity for greenwash – with poor performing products being able to hide behind the industry average. Recommendation: Put a short one year limit on receiving the ½ credit for participation in the industry average EPD exercise. After that you’ve got to disclose the product specific EPD.
I am also very concerned about whether PCRs for EPDs are being developed in a consistent fashion and are actually going to be comparable. I’d welcome commentary from others who are watching the PCR process development closer than I am.
Option 2 Multi-Attribute Optimization gives credit for certifications that verify impact reduction below industry average in at least three of six EPD categories. More room for greenwash. This needs boundaries and more explicit guidance! A product could benchmark slightly below the industry average in three relatively inconsequential categories (where the industry has generally low impact already) and be a worst performer in the industry in the other three and still get the credit.
Extended producer responsibility – I support the inclusion of this in LEED but think this would make more sense in MRc3, the sourcing of raw materials credit, as EPR is an important part of making recycling programs work.

MRc3 - Sourcing of Raw Materials: Option 1 – raw material source and extraction reporting - Yes we need attention to environmental impacts of extraction operations and beyond, but there is much more room for greenwash here. This credit needs lots of work to insure that meaningful and applicable CSR reporting requirements are referenced. Recommendation: add specific language about what kinds of commitments are acceptable and about the applicable CSR formats. At minimum they should encompass consensus principles that have been developed. (i.e. the Framework for Responsible Mining). This credit could use more scrutiny from someone who knows a lot more about CSR reporting formats.

Option 2 - leadership extraction practices: Keeps FSCIndependent, third-party verification that forest products are produced and sold based on a set of criteria for forest management and chain-of-custody controls developed by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), an international nonprofit organization. FSC criteria for certifying forests around the world address forest management, legal issues, indigenous rights, labor rights, multiple benefits, and environmental impacts. only, and rewards recycled content, reuse, and certified biobasedGenerally, classification of products and materials derived from plant and animal sources as opposed to minerals. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has a program to promote the use of emerging biobased products that defines them more narrowly, to exclude products that already have established markets, such as food, animal feed, and lumber. materials (but only with one program). I guess they haven’t been able to find any leadership in mining either. Suggestion: Stay firm on FSC! And add more agricultural standards to the mix for the biobased. Working Landscapes, Global Organic Textile Standard and even USDA Organic should be in the credit along with any other program that meets ISEAL or IFOAM standards. And lets include EPR here.

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Carly Ruggieri Senior Sustainability Consultant, Steven Winter Associates, Inc. Nov 28 2012 Guest 969 Thumbs Up

Assessing the new MRc2 & 3 from a Implementation Standpoint...
I agree with the points Tom made in regards to MRc 2 & 3 - that this approach will bring more attention and push for product disclosure that had been missing in past/current versions of LEED. However as a LEED consultant working with existing versions of these credits on a daily basis, my major concern for these heavily-revised credits is how complex it will be to specify compliant products and track the data during the construction process. The time it takes to review, track and document these credits is going to be extremely cost prohibitive and cause a lot of problems for construction teams.

It will take a LOT of additional research to determine whether or not a product can comply with one of the required criteria, and I can't see when contractors will have time to do this when they are promising to provide a LEED building to an owner. This is especially true when the industry clearly isn't up to speed with the requested documentation. Also, its disheartening to hear products may be able to qualify just through greenwash loopholes.

Product review is one of the most intensive tasks for LEED projects under the current version. Steel, concrete, glazing, flooring, hardware, finishes... everything down to the locks on the doors is reviewed and tracked for LEED projects. It takes hundreds of hours to do in preparation for a construction-phase review. Under the proposed v4 requirements, this review will have to take place on an ingredient-level, and knowing full well this data is not available from most manufacturers. The increased time to evaluate and track materials will delay construction schedules which is never good news.

Also, being able to give a status update on these credits mid-construction, which is a basic request from project teams, will be nearly impossible. With some materials getting 200% of their value and others just 'qualifying' at a percentage of their actual cost, knowing how well a project is doing mid-construction will be a guess at most even with all of the data in front of you.

I'm all for raising the bar and pushing the industry, but this is too much too soon.

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Tom Lent Policy Director, Healthy Building Network Nov 29 2012 Guest 1089 Thumbs Up

Agreed that the tracking task is getting substantial. In my comments forthcoming on MRc4, I'll suggest ways that credit at least can be better aligned to reduce divergent documentation tracking needs.

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Scott Bowman Owner - Building Sage Integrated Design + Energy Advisors, LLC
Nov 26 2012
LEEDuser Expert
5017 Thumbs Up

Fundamental and Enhanced Commissioning

I would like to comment on Fundamental and Enhanced Commissioning…again. While these are similar to what I said for the 3rd and 4th drafts, since they were not addressed, I would like to make them again and hope some will make additional comments here to show either support or critique of the prerequisite and credit.

Fundamental Commissioning:

1. The design review should not be moved into the Prerequisite, as it needs to be completed by a third party, while retaining the ability for a lower scope Cx1. Commissioning (Cx) is the process of verifying and documenting that a building and all of its systems and assemblies are planned, designed, installed, tested, operated, and maintained to meet the owner's project requirements. 2. The process of checking the performance of a building against the owner's goals during design, construction, and occupancy. At a minimum, mechanical and electrical equipment are tested, although much more extensive testing may also be included. process for the prerequisite.

2. Requiring envelope information in both the OPROwner's project requirements (OPR) is a written document that details the ideas, concepts, and criteria that are determined by the owner to be important to the success of the project. and BODBasis of design (BOD) includes design information necessary to accomplish the owner's project requirements, including system descriptions, indoor environmental quality criteria, design assumptions, and references to applicable codes, standards, regulations, and guidelines. are very good steps as a requirement in fundamental, but the design review of same should be moved to Enhanced.

3. Please make sure that a more complete description of who can be the CxAThe commissioning authority (CxA) is the individual designated to organize, lead, and review the completion of commissioning process activities. The CxA facilitates communication among the owner, designer, and contractor to ensure that complex systems are installed and function in accordance with the owner's project requirements. is developed for the reference guide. The language of Fundamental appears to exclude hiring an Enhanced CxA that might use portions of the design team to do field testing, something that does happen as long as the independent CxA direct the whole process.

4. The document titled Current Facilities Requirements and Operations and Maintenance Plan appears reasonably defined, and I assume replaces the old Systems Manual required in Enhanced Cx.

Enhanced Commissioning:

5. The design review for both energy using systems and envelope should be moved to Enhanced.

6. Why would the Systems Manual still be required under Enhanced while it is described under Fundamental? This seems to be a duplication of the Fundamental document, and makes it unclear who does this work.

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Chrissy Macken Assistant Project Manager, LEED v4 , U.S. Green Building Council Dec 06 2012 LEEDuser Member 1044 Thumbs Up

Hi Scott- thanks for posting your comments. Below is an updated response to your comments based on the most current version of the language. The original responses to your comments made during 3rd and 4th public comment can be found here: https://new.usgbc.org/resources/leed-v4-3rd-public-comment-responses and here: https://new.usgbc.org/resources/leed-v4-4th-pc-responses

COMMENT: The design review should not be moved into the Prerequisite, as it needs to be completed by a third party, while retaining the ability for a lower scope Cx1. Commissioning (Cx) is the process of verifying and documenting that a building and all of its systems and assemblies are planned, designed, installed, tested, operated, and maintained to meet the owner's project requirements. 2. The process of checking the performance of a building against the owner's goals during design, construction, and occupancy. At a minimum, mechanical and electrical equipment are tested, although much more extensive testing may also be included. process for the prerequisite.

RESPONSE: Commissioning has become more widely accepted and undertaken in the industry and LEED has been critical to this. USGBC continues to support the benefits of commissioning and the technical volunteers ultimately recommended early engagement of the commissioning authority to better ensure commissioning benefits. Per the prerequisite requirements, the CxAThe commissioning authority (CxA) is the individual designated to organize, lead, and review the completion of commissioning process activities. The CxA facilitates communication among the owner, designer, and contractor to ensure that complex systems are installed and function in accordance with the owner's project requirements. will be involved in the project early enough to be able to perform the design review.

COMMENT: Requiring envelope information in both the OPROwner's project requirements (OPR) is a written document that details the ideas, concepts, and criteria that are determined by the owner to be important to the success of the project. and BODBasis of design (BOD) includes design information necessary to accomplish the owner's project requirements, including system descriptions, indoor environmental quality criteria, design assumptions, and references to applicable codes, standards, regulations, and guidelines. are very good steps as a requirement in fundamental, but the design review of same should be moved to Enhanced.

RESPONSE: Understanding the complexity and expense of envelope Cx, USGBC has come to a good compromise on the envelope requirements retained for the prerequisite. The review of the envelope design is intended to alert teams to potential issues prior to construction. However, it will not have the same efficacyIn lighting, the ratio of light output (in lumens) to input power (in watts). Higher efficacy indicates higher efficiency. as full commissioning. The review does not have to be completed by a third party, as one may not have been retained with the proper expertise if the project is only complying with the prerequisite.

COMMENT: Please make sure that a more complete description of who can be the CxA is developed for the reference guide. The language of Fundamental appears to exclude hiring an Enhanced CxA that might use portions of the design team to do field testing, something that does happen as long as the independent CxA direct the whole process.

RESPONSE: The design team and contractors are in no way prohibited from assisting with the Cx process, and are in fact encouraged to do so, so long as there is an independent third party overseeing the process and reporting to the owner. The reference guide will have more details regarding the role of the CxA.

COMMENT: The document titled Current Facilities Requirements and Operations and Maintenance Plan appears reasonably defined, and I assume replaces the old Systems Manual required in Enhanced Cx.

RESPONSE: The CRF and O&M Manual will become part of the Systems Manual.

Enhanced Commissioning:
COMMENT: The design review for both energy using systems and envelope should be moved to Enhanced.
REPONSE: See response above regarding scope of envelope commissioning design review in Fundamental Commissioning prerequisite.

COMMENT: Why would the Systems Manual still be required under Enhanced while it is described under Fundamental? This seems to be a duplication of the Fundamental document, and makes it unclear who does this work.

RESPONSE: Addressed above.

Please let us know if any of this is still unclear.

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Trudy Y. Smith
Nov 07 2012
Guest
10 Thumbs Up

Radon Potential Maps

I agree with Jeff @ Tahoe that the EPA radon zone maps are so out of date and misleading that they should only be used as a last resort. Many municipalities, and states have much more current maps that are based on two decades of testing and are much better guides. All that needs to be emphasized is wording such as that below for a much more useful credit requirement.

"SECTION 1201

RADON POTENTIAL ZONES

1201.1 EPA established zones.

The radon potential of a building site shall be estimated from the United States environmental Protection Agency radon potential map as shown in Figure 1201.1 or from United States Environmental Protection Agency radon potential by county listing as shown in Table 1201.2. Where state or local jurisdictions have published radon potential data, such data shall supersede the information in Figure 1201.1 and Table 1201.2."

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Jeff Miner Radon At Tahoe Nov 07 2012 Guest 39 Thumbs Up

Trudy,
Thanks for your comment. The radon map language you propose is consistent with the language in the AARST (American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologists) RRNC 2 recommendations. The EPA has no plans (and no resources!) to update their 1993 National Radon Map. That process has been taken over by state and local agencies for the past 20 years. The USGBC could certainly replace the current language relying only on the old EPA map with this language that says to use local radon maps if they exist.

My question for the green building community is how to get the USGBC to actually do this?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Nov 08 2012 LEEDuser Moderator

Jeff, this is the right forum to encourage USGBC to move in this direction. You are commenting as part of the 5th public comment period for LEED v4. USGBC considers comments like this in possible revisions to the rating system.

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Jeff Miner Radon At Tahoe
Nov 01 2012
Guest
39 Thumbs Up

Use current radon maps in determining areas of high radon risk

The USGBC should use current, local and accurate radon maps in determining areas of high radon risk. Just because the EPA published a national radon map by county 20 years ago, does not mean it is the final authority on radon risk potential today. Many states and localities have produced more accurate and more recent radon risk maps and they should be used by the USGBC when and where available.

The American Association of Radon Scientists and Technologist (AARST) a leading radon industry professional group, states in it's recent revision of the Radon Resistant New Construction RRNC 2.0 consensus document:

"SECTION 1201

RADON POTENTIAL ZONES

1201.1 EPA established zones.

The radon potential of a building site shall be estimated from the United States environmental Protection Agency radon potential map as shown in Figure 1201.1 or from United States Environmental Protection Agency radon potential by county listing as shown in Table 1201.2. Where state or local jurisdictions have published radon potential data, such data shall supersede the information in Figure 1201.1 and Table 1201.2."

I can't speak for all states, but I know that in California, one has only to look at the California Geologic Survey's radon web site (http://www.conservation.ca.gov/cgs/minerals/hazardous_minerals/radon/Pag...) to find 18 localized radon maps either completed or under development. These readily available radon maps and surveys should be used (where and when available) by the USGBC in establishing high radon risk areas and the 20 year old EPA national radon map should only be used where these more recent maps do not exist.

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Jason Grant Principal Jason Grant Consulting
Oct 31 2012
LEEDuser Expert
1213 Thumbs Up

Forest Advocates' Perspective

The LEED Certified WoodWood from a source that has been determined, through a certification process, to meet stated ecological and other criteria. There are numerous forest certification programs in general use based on several standards, but only the Forest Stewardship Council's standards, which include requirements that the wood be tracked through its chain-of-custody, can be used to qualify wood for a point in the LEED Rating System. Credit, with its preference for FSCIndependent, third-party verification that forest products are produced and sold based on a set of criteria for forest management and chain-of-custody controls developed by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), an international nonprofit organization. FSC criteria for certifying forests around the world address forest management, legal issues, indigenous rights, labor rights, multiple benefits, and environmental impacts., has been a part of LEED since the beginning and has been one of the most important drivers for market transformation to sustainability in the forest products industry. For those of us interested in maintaining that driver, the most recent draft of LEED v4 presents a mixed picture, with both positive and problematic elements.

First, this draft retains exclusive recognition of FSC among forest certification systems. USGBC is to be strongly commended for maintaining its commitment to the leadership standard in forestry in the face of ongoing pressure from the mainstream forest products industry and its allies.

However, major portions of the MR section, including the principal credit affecting FSC-certified wood, has been rewritten, picking up elements of previous drafts but also venturing into new territory. The scope of change is surprising given USGBC’s stated wish to go to ballot in the summer of 2013 without making further substantive modifications (which would necessitate a sixth draft and comment period).

The problems with the current draft are substantial and should in fact require a sixth draft.

Positives:

1) FSC remains the only reference standard for new wood.

2) A placeholder remains for encouraging the development of FSC-style standards for non-bio-based materials.

3) The exemption from responsible extraction requirements for materials that are sourced locally (within 100 miles) in the previous draft, which created a loophole for concrete, has been removed.

4) Preliminary analysis suggests that many paths to achieving the performance-related point in the new “Building Product Disclosure and Optimization – Sourcing of Raw Materials” will need to include FSC-certified wood along with recycled-content materials, and that there will be an incentive to go beyond 50% of the wood being FSC-certified, rather that arbitrarily stop there, as some teams do currently.

Negatives:

1) FSC-certified products now qualify for only 1 point, and the award threshold is so high that projects are unlikely to earn it without also incorporating large quantities of recycled-content and/or reused products.

2) Because there are fewer points available overall (2 in the previous draft, 1 in the current) and reference to an audited checklist of the leading edge issues in the Framework for Responsible Mining has been eliminated, the incentive for developing FSC-style standards for non-bio-based materials is less powerful and specific than before.

3) FSC products, which meet a rigorous, multi-attribute performance standard with third-party auditing and chain of custody across the value chain, are weighted the same as products backed only by manufacturer claims for single environmental attributes like recycled content.

4) The new “Building Product Disclosure and Optimization” credits place as much emphasis on disclosure as on performance, awarding 1 point for products that have Environmental Product Declarations, 1point for products whose manufacturers develop Corporate Sustainability Reports that may or may not meaningfully address responsible materials extraction, and 1 point for products backed by Health Product Declarations. Half of the available points reward disclosure of certain environmental impacts related to products (no matter how bad the impacts are) rather than rewarding products that are verified as meeting high performance thresholds.

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Tom Lent Policy Director, Healthy Building Network Nov 27 2012 Guest 1089 Thumbs Up

Good points Jason. Overall, though, I do support the separate crediting of disclosure and improvement (1 point for reporting, 1 product for better product performance). I know it may seem a bit strange to give points for disclosing how bad a product is, but given where we are in getting comparable information about products, rewarding disclosure is needed at this point to set the stage for informed selection. That is certainly the case in the material content and health realm. That said, I’ve got some concerns about how some of the disclosure credits are set up that I’ll cover in a separate new comment below.

I agree that that these credits are very point starved and products meeting high performance thresholds should be rewarded with more points than those simply disclosing. And the performance credits need to be a multi-point to reward improvement. There is no way to find the perfect single threshold for a credit like this.

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Jason Grant Principal, Jason Grant Consulting Nov 27 2012 LEEDuser Expert 1213 Thumbs Up

Thanks, Tom. I'm all for disclosure in the material content/health realm, and I am learning to live with LCA/EPDs, although I hope that the latter will evolve to become more forthright about their limitations.

I still don't see the value of disclosure in general and CSR reporting in particular when it comes to promoting responsible extraction/sourcing, though. I think it would be a lot more effective to use the two points available in this credit to promote ACTUAL responsible extraction/sourcing -- or at least definite progress in that direction -- as opposed to CSR reporting which at best appears scant on substance, and at worst is the wrong tool for the job.

I know focusing entirely on performance in the “Building Product Disclosure and Optimization – Sourcing of Raw Materials” credit would mess with the overall symmetry of the Building Disclosure and Optimization credits, but for crying out loud, it is ridiculous to shortchange market transformation for the sake of symmetry!

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Tom Lent Policy Director, Healthy Building Network Nov 27 2012 Guest 1089 Thumbs Up

I agree Jason. While the disclosure-performance pairing works well for toxics, it is not at all clear that it works for extraction and the credit seems forced into the structure. For example for mineral extraction the credit doesn't have the disclosure-optimization symmetry. It has Option 1 reporting requirements for mineral extraction but no Option optimization path for demonstrating responsible mineral extraction/sourcing. But I've yet to see an example of truly responsible mineral extraction. If recycling is the only responsible way to get minerals, it raises the question of whether the CSR reporting on extraction through mining in Option 1 actually accomplishes the intent of informing product selection.

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Jason Grant Principal, Jason Grant Consulting Nov 28 2012 LEEDuser Expert 1213 Thumbs Up

The Framework for Responsible Mining is the basis for the Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) which wants to be the FSCIndependent, third-party verification that forest products are produced and sold based on a set of criteria for forest management and chain-of-custody controls developed by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), an international nonprofit organization. FSC criteria for certifying forests around the world address forest management, legal issues, indigenous rights, labor rights, multiple benefits, and environmental impacts. for mining. True, it's not ready yet, but having talked to some of the key people, the main thing they need to move forward is a market driver. This credit in LEEDv4 should provide that driver. Instead, it is going to drive CSR reporting. How this will advance responsible mining is unclear.

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Tom Lent Policy Director, Healthy Building Network Nov 28 2012 Guest 1089 Thumbs Up

Thanks Jason. Looks like some real potential. For those watching this discussion: The Framework for Responsible Mining is described on its website as "a joint effort by NGOs, retailers, investors, insurers, and technical experts working in the minerals sector. It outlines environmental, human rights, and social issues associated with mining and mined products." and is described as "a working document intended to be used as expert guidance and to catalyze further debate and discussion among stakeholders interested in improving mining standards." Something we certainly need. http://www.frameworkforresponsiblemining.org/related.html

The Initiative for Responsible Mining Assurance (IRMA) is described on its website as "working to create a system that ensures that mining is consistent with healthy communities and environments, and that mine sites leave positive long-term legacies...establishing best practice standards that improve the environmental and social performance of mining operations, as well as a system to independently verify compliance with those standards." http://www.responsiblemining.net/

An interesting mix of NGO, community, mining company and labor groups have been involved. Sounds worthy of a deeper dive to see how it could work in the LEED sourcing credit.

We should not reward extractive resource use equally with recycling/reuse and truly sustainable renewable resource extraction (FSCIndependent, third-party verification that forest products are produced and sold based on a set of criteria for forest management and chain-of-custody controls developed by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), an international nonprofit organization. FSC criteria for certifying forests around the world address forest management, legal issues, indigenous rights, labor rights, multiple benefits, and environmental impacts. and equivalent certified ag). But given that we are a long ways from a truly closed loop industry, rewarding improved extractive practices, while still giving them lower weight than the renewables/recycleds could do much to incentivize improvement of this very damaging industry.

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Eric Orozco Urban Designer, LEED AP ND Neighboring Concepts, PLLC
Oct 25 2012
Guest
319 Thumbs Up

How LEED-ND's Access to Quality Transit (SLLc3) can harm transit

The intent of LEED-ND’s Location and Transportation Credit “Access to Quality Transit” (I will call it "AQT" for short - this is formerly SLL Credit 3: “Reduced Automobile Dependence”) is to “encourage development in locations shown to have multi-modal transportation choices or otherwise reduced motor vehicle use”. This seems a clear directive, but based on commonly understood transit route planning priorities for effective service, the methodology of the credit is at odds with this intent.

This credit will award LEED-ND developments for locating at least half of their dwelling units and nonresidential building entrances within a quarter mile walk distance to existing local transit stops or a half mile distance to rapid transit or commuter service stations (effectively). It is noteworthy to notice, first of all, that while the walking distances, or “pedsheds”, are in line with commonly held transit planning standards established to help effectively space stops for these route types in urban areas, the stop spacing itself is not a concern of the credit. Many transit planners will find the omission surprising.

What ultimately awards the project points are not the actual number of dwellings and building entrances within walking reach of the stops, but the percentage of them as a proportion of the total provided by the development. Shouldn’t awarding projects for putting adequate density of dwellings and uses in existing coverage areas be rewarded straightforwardly to meet the intent of the credit? Note that projects with extensive areas outside of the walking distances will therefore be incentivized to lower density in those areas. The past provision to lower the qualifying overall coverage percentage for large projects has also been removed and is now rigidly set at 50% of the total. The actual numbers of dwellings and uses placed within the coverage area is therefore not as important as the coverage percentage, a somewhat dubious priority in meeting the intent of the credit.

What determines the amount of points earned for AQT is the total number of daily trips serving each of the stops. While this can reward the proficiency of the service in terms of its frequency and/or span, these daily trips are summed in aggregate for all the stops. It does not matter at all if all or some of the stops are serving the same route. Thus, the more stops in or near the development, the more the number of “daily trips” you amass, regardless the number of actual distinct transit trips serving the development. In effect, what is predominantly being rewarded here is not frequency and span but coverage.

Of course, I do believe the number of distinct daily trips serving the development is appropriate to enter into the point value calculation, but this should be measured in terms of actual numbers of daily transit trips serving the development, thus rewarding a transit line’s frequency (short headways) and/or span (service duration, another critical aspect of transit’s usefulness).

While the points can only be awarded in AQT for the stops of existing service lines, apparently, there is nothing to prevent a project team from seeking to divert existing routes and/or adding more stops to them than necessary. My talks with technical experts in this forum make all too evident the coverage fixated priorities in the thinking behind AQT. The credit requirement to locate near existing service in the first place, for instance, has surprisingly little to do with the need prevent a project team from plotting to introduce ad hoc and poorly planned service lines designed to just benefit the development. According to Eliot Allen’s findings, the LEED-ND Core Committee primarily wanted to ensure that habitual use of transit formed immediately from the outset of occupation (apparently it is a worry that people will not otherwise discover en masse the benefit of transit when it comes to them).

In effect, AQT does not appropriately value the diverse goals that are important to transit’s usefulness and that are actually all-important in changing the habitual transport choices of the occupants of the LEED-ND development. Ultimately, the mobility of all the users of the routes passing through the development (not just the mobility of the LEED-ND development’s transit users) is at stake here, threatening the healthy operation of a high quality urban transit network. The latter in particular is what is needed more than anything to support habitual use of transit.

In short, AQT’s fixation is all in the coverage of the service, not the effective service and the effective density of population and uses within walking distance. Sadly, the system still does not reward transit service effectiveness apart from coverage and amenities. This focus on the amenity of transit (versus a respect placed on the purposes of transit service) betrays an often unnoticed preoccupation among urban designers and architects that detracts from efforts to plan the high quality transit services needed to actually replace auto trips. Such things that a development could help implement, such as signal prioritization, Kiss and Ride or bikeshare stations near transit stops, dedicated lanes, and convenient connections are very important to transit utilization.

Instead, think of the actual incentives presented to the project team. To achieve LEED-ND credit for AQT, the more stops they manage to include the better also their prospects will be to reach at least 50% of the project’s dwelling units and building entrances within the stated walk distances. It’s all or nothing to get to that 50% qualifying threshold, however, before the project can rack up points. If it means adding a stop or tweaking a line to do so, the development team is going to strategize for a way to do that, especially as they plan or rework the street grid. The potential for diluting an infrequent service by expanding its coverage area throughout the development is nearly inevitable. Routes like that would erode the overall quality of the transit service and thus dis-incentivize auto use reduction in the end not just among the development’s potential ridership base but for the existing users of the entire transit line or greater transit system! Unfortunately, those are exactly the kind of routes that can get LEED-ND developments lots of points.

What this means is that only an alert transit agency can prevent a LEED-ND project from mucking with existing transit service! While I would hope transit agencies are competent enough to prevent project teams from doing so, my experience suggests that some agencies are either far too accommodating to development teams or don’t value transit network effectiveness as much as they should. Granted, depending on the areas served, some agencies will want to reward coverage goals as much as LEED-ND does, and in those cases this credit may be a benefit to them (even though in all cases the agency should value effective stop spacing – as I mentioned above, this is not necessarily an incentive presented by AQT). But in other cases, if not the majority of cases, agencies will have the integrity of the transit network and other service goals in mind that will require them to prevent coverage expansion. As a matter of fairness, the project located in such locations should truly be rewarded for putting adequate development density within walking reach of existing transit. That development should under no circumstance be penalized for the percentage of its development that is developed in locations outside the walking distance coverage area.

My recommendations for improving the credit are as follows:

(1) Remove or greatly lower the 50% percent minimum dwelling unit / building entrance walking distance coverage requirement. This threshold is, in truth, meaningless at such a high percentage. For the purposes of satisfying the intent of AQT, NPD Prerequisite 2, Compact Development, will ensure adequate density near all existing stops. Removing the 50% coverage threshold (or lowering it to no greater than 20%) will largely remove the great incentives presented to project teams to muck with existing service lines. If the goal is increasing the density in the coverage area beyond NPD Prerequisite 2, then increase the minimum density totals required or enter density levels into the point calculation methodology used in AQT.

(2) Do not allow the summation of daily transit trips to be summed in aggregate for all the stops but reward the total number of distinct daily trips serving the development, thus rewarding number, frequency and span of routes directly and thereby not disproportionately rewarding coverage.

As an alternate strategy to no. 1 above, keep the 50% coverage requirement but require project teams to provide documentation from the local transit agency that states that the routes are not only conforming to but improving that agency’s service goals for the routes serving the development. Here you will be better ensuring that LEED-ND rewards transportation planning strategies and plan layouts that actually improve transit route performance. As well, consider allowing project teams to expand the coverage area beyond the walking distances by adding amenities near stops that address the “last mile problem” such as adequate secure bike parking facilities, vehicle share or Kiss-and-Ride parking, and bikeshare stations. Since these amenities actually augment the ridership base of transit service without impacting the performance of the existing service itself, allow project teams to consider these coverage augmentation strategies in lieu of the 50% coverage requirement. For example, if 50% of dwelling units and building entrances are within a one mile bikeable distance of a stop with bike lockers and a bikeshare station, then the coverage area calculation of that stop is allowed to include the dwellings and/or building entrances in the bikeable distance area.

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Tom Lent Policy Director Healthy Building Network
Oct 24 2012
Guest
1089 Thumbs Up

Recycled Content in LEED v4 - post consumer fly ash?

NSF recently accepted a claim by Celceram that their fly ash product - widely used in carpets is post consumer recycled content. I think this is outrageous as do several other certifying bodies and at least one carpet manufacturer. Looks like LEED will need to tighten up their definition of post consumer recycled content to stop this greenwash. See more on this at http://www.pharosproject.net/blog/detail/id/144/from-smokestack-to-floor...

This comes at an interesting time just as USGBC has added significant new material credits to LEED V4 that address toxic content and that highlight responsible sourcing of raw materials. The sourcing credits start to put the kind of spotlight on the impacts of agricultural and mining practices that the FSCIndependent, third-party verification that forest products are produced and sold based on a set of criteria for forest management and chain-of-custody controls developed by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), an international nonprofit organization. FSC criteria for certifying forests around the world address forest management, legal issues, indigenous rights, labor rights, multiple benefits, and environmental impacts. credit has long put on forestry practices. An excellent move IMHO. I've got critiques of how they are structured now that I'll post soon, but the direction is great.

Maybe it is also time to take a close look at the sustainability of recycling practices too and adjust LEED credits to incent those products that facilitate true closed loop recycling and avoid the production and recirculation of toxic materials.

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Tom Lent Policy Director, Healthy Building Network Nov 27 2012 Guest 1089 Thumbs Up

Update: NSF has retracted the Celceram certification and is requesting that ISO revisit ISO 14021 to clarify ambiguity in the current definition of post consumer content to avoid future problems. http://pharosproject.net/blog/detail/id/146/nsf-fly-ash

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Eric Orozco Urban Designer, LEED AP ND Neighboring Concepts, PLLC
Oct 23 2012
Guest
319 Thumbs Up

Can one comment on LEED-ND SLLc3: Access to Quality Transit?

Based on two previous discussions elsewhere on this forum, I've recently become aware of a facet of SLL Credit 3 that may be harmful to transit service outcomes, and I am wondering if there is an opportunity to comment. While I can't speak for transit planners, I'm pretty sure many will take issue with the methodology employed by the credit and regard it problematic from several vantage points.

I realize this credit is closed to public comment for the fifth round, but I'm wondering if there is any opportunity to do so. I regret missing out on the opportunity to comment and suggest potential ways to improve the credit.

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Chris Marshall Manager, LEED Technical Development, U.S. Green Building Council Oct 23 2012 LEEDuser Member 1609 Thumbs Up

Hi Eric, you should feel free to use this forum for posting your complete comments on this credit. I'm sorry that you missed other earlier opportunities but look forward to reading what you have to say here.

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Eric Orozco Urban Designer, LEED AP ND, Neighboring Concepts, PLLC Oct 25 2012 Guest 319 Thumbs Up

Thanks Chris! I have posted my comments above.

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Peter Kimmel Publisher FMLink
Oct 15 2012
Guest
53 Thumbs Up

Is the new LEED v4 for facilities managers? Are FMs needed?

First, I want to congratulate the USGBC on all the progress it has made in developing a more complete tool that more-than-ever reflects what it takes to make a green building. This clearly was not an easy process.

Nonetheless, for any such process to work, it must be used by those who will have the most impact on making our current building inventory more green. I wish to focus my remarks on existing buildings, as they represent well over 90% of the current building inventory, and with the economy being what it is, the number will increase.

The people who will make existing buildings more green are both the building owners and their facilities managers. The owners must pay for any changes, and the FMs must find a way to make them happen; they also must identify which changes they will find most practical.

It is clear to me that some with FM experience were likely to have served on the committee that developed the new LEED v4. But was the FM community adequately represented so that a betting person would gamble that the FM community will embrace the new LEED v4 enough to make a serious impact on energy consumption and the environment? Are the changes such that FMs will be willing to take the time and money to understand them and even implement what is necessary to earn LEED certification?

The answers to these questions will depend on how the FM community has been involved in developing the new LEED v4. in my opinion, the group is important enough to warrant a special focus group dedicated to FMs to address these types of questions. Besides having such a focus group, it is essential that such a group be comprised of those who have the right blend of knowledge and experience. All too often, I have seen such groups contain members who have had some FM experience or who have consulted or offered other services to FMs. For purposes of this discussion, these experiences are not the FM experiences that is needed, as these people are not in a position to have to find the time and money to implement these initiatives. For that to happen, the group needs to be served by those who actually manage buildings (and their budgets), and have done so for many years; even better are those who have managed multiple buildings, as they can offer the experience of what it takes to many different building types, not just one.

Has the USGBC had such a dedicated committee? If not, I plead with it to seriously consider it, even if it pushes the timeline back a bit. Because without the strong support of the FM community and their probable willingness to seek new LEED certification, the new LEED v4 will have been a very imformative exercise, but will not succeed as fully as intended in terms of making a major positive impact on the environment.

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stuart carron Oct 17 2012 Guest 35 Thumbs Up

I hear you Peter and agree that FMs operate in a different sphere. We take what we've got and improve it, sometimes without the luxury of any capital budget. It will be interesting to collect FMs reaction to V4, especially when most are still trying to digest V3. Real progress against climate change1. Climate change refers to any significant change in measures of climate (such as temperature, precipitation, or wind) lasting for an extended period (decades or longer). (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2008) 2.The increase in global average temperatures being caused by a buildup of CO2 and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This temperature change is leading to changes in circulation patterns in the air and in the oceans, which are affecting climates differently in different places. Among the predicted effects are a significant cooling in Western Europe due to changes in the jet stream, and rising sea levels due to the melting of polar ice and glaciers. relies on greening existing buildings, and the Council must do everything possible to enlarge this tent. Thanks for the comments.

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Peter Kimmel Publisher, FMLink Oct 17 2012 Guest 53 Thumbs Up

Stuart, thanks for the feedback. While I conceptually agree that it is a good idea to wait until we get comments on v4 and then make any additional changes in the next version, I think that FMs (and to a certain extent, all other professionals involved in LEED) find it more and more difficult to deal with changes, even if they are for the better. For example, companies that offer tools to help FMs and others in their quest for LEED certification must then go and makeover their tools; and there are other stakeholders for whom a similar hardship may occur.

So, if one acknowledges that more could be investigated now, it may make more sense for the USGBC to do what one can to accommodate these needs of the FMs, resulting in a more applicable product that should have significantly more impact -- and hopefully a LEED version that will work well for more than a few years. Otherwise, it could become like one of the highways around some of our major cities -- outdated before it is even completed -- and we all know how we feel about that!

I am curious as to how others feel -- should we wait and address more of the FMs' need now? Or go ahead and release v4 knowing that there was much more that could have been explored with the FM audience to ensure that they might make more use of v4? Does having a new version every 3-4 years result in fewer new LEED-certified buildings than we otherwise might have had, or don't we think it matters?

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Susan Walter Sr Project Architect, Wilmot/Sanz Oct 18 2012 LEEDuser Expert 13751 Thumbs Up

I'm curious, Peter, how much do you use LEED now and is it LEED for Existing Buildings? Are you being given LEED buildings and have little information on how to manage them? Or are you wanting a voice during the design and construction side?

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Peter Kimmel Publisher, FMLink Oct 18 2012 Guest 53 Thumbs Up

Susan, as the Publisher of FMLink, I personally am not a LEED user at the present time. FMLink's role is to provide its audience (facilities managers) with as much information as they can to help them manage their facilities. Clearly, sustainability is a large part of that, and FMs are desperately seeking ways to make their buildings as green as possible (although they also have a large need to keep costs down as much as possible in doing so, as their budgets are getting chopped dramatically). There are a lot of facotrs that go into their decision-making processes, and short-term cost-benefit analyses are crucial.

FMLink is constantly striving to keep its fingers on the pulse of its audience, and I personally am very much in touch with many readers of FMLink, who are not shy about providing feedback to me. My initial comments are based solely on that feedback from others -- the ones who would be implementing measures to make their buildings more green and who would be the ones to go through the certification process. Nearly all are in existing facilities and and I can't think of one comment received about what to do with a new facility -- their dilemma seems to be more focused on what to do with an existing one.

I have received a few comments from those who have existing LEED buildings and are frustrated with having to go through another process, but the lion's share of the comments received are from those who do not have LEED-certified buildings. My comments have come via e-mail, phone calls and informal conversations with FMs at conferences (the two primary conferences where I obtain comments are those produced by IFMAInternational Facility Management Association and CoreNet Global -- note that I did not notice a substantial presence by anyone representing LEED at either of those organizations' conferences!).

I hope that this answers your questions.

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Tanja Arnesson Skanska Sweden AB
Oct 09 2012
LEEDuser Member
667 Thumbs Up

LTcredit : Green Vehicles

Hi,

Have a wondering regarding the LT credit, Green Vehicles within the 5th Public Comment periode.
Does the project need to fulfill both the requirements regarding 7 % for green vehicles and one of the option, for example Electric Vehicle Recharging.

Thanks in advance!
Best
Tanja

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Chris Marshall Manager, LEED Technical Development, U.S. Green Building Council Oct 09 2012 LEEDuser Member 1609 Thumbs Up

Hi Tanja, I'm sorry about any lack of clarity in the requirements. Yes, the 7% for green vehicles is a "for all projects" requirement. Projects would first fulfill that requirement and then choose between Options 1 and 2.

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Tanja Arnesson Skanska Sweden AB Oct 10 2012 LEEDuser Member 667 Thumbs Up

Hi Chris,
Thank you for the clarification! A follow up question then :)
If the project rerserve 7 % to green vehicles and then 3 % of the parking spaces have charging facilities, can the charging places be on the places that re reserved for green vechcles? Or do the project need to reserve 10 % of the parking spaces for green vehicles and charging facilities?

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Chris Marshall Manager, LEED Technical Development, U.S. Green Building Council Oct 10 2012 LEEDuser Member 1609 Thumbs Up

In actuality, the spaces with charging facilities must be separate from those reserved for green vehicles. This would then mean reserving 10% of all parking spaces for green vehicles and charging facilities. I'll dive back into the credit language and ensure that it's more understandable. Thanks so much for posing your questions, as it ensures the language will be as clear as possible when we finalize the content.

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Tanja Arnesson Skanska Sweden AB Oct 10 2012 LEEDuser Member 667 Thumbs Up

And Thank you for making it clear to me!

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Susan Walter Sr Project Architect, Wilmot/Sanz Oct 15 2012 LEEDuser Expert 13751 Thumbs Up

While I understand that LEED wants to encourage the installation of charging stations, convincing a client to dedicate 7% to green vehicles and 3% to charging stations would be difficult for a business providing significant parking for customers. For example, I'm working on a site that provides 4,500 parking spaces in total and of those around 3,000 is staff spaces. Providing 7% parking scattered around 14 parking location is hard enough. Providing 3% for charging stations is more than a challenge.

The math:
4500 * 7% = 315 spaces * $500 per sign = $157,500
4500 * 3% = 136 spaces * $6,000 per double charge station = $408,000
Total cost for this credit for this campus is $565,500.

If we could just consider the staff spaces for the electric charging stations, it would help:
3,000 * 3% = 90 * 6,000 per double = $270,000 which is a savings of $138,000 and is significant.

Given that our projects do not impact the total campus but this credit is counted over the total campus, to ask one project to pick up the cost of the campus is more than the budget will bear. And I would rather make the case to spend an additional $400,000 on mechanical upgrades than parking initiatives especially when they are doing some of them already. They are not considering anything close to 68 charging stations.

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Bill Swanson PE, LEED AP, Integrated Architecture Oct 16 2012 LEEDuser Expert 14588 Thumbs Up

I think you're being optimistic that the double charging stations will cost an average of only $6,000. Conduit and wire costs add up really fast when going across parking lots.

And 90 charging stations will need 1,248 Amps of capacity. Bigger panels and transformers are more money.

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Susan Walter Sr Project Architect, Wilmot/Sanz Oct 16 2012 LEEDuser Expert 13751 Thumbs Up

Absolutely! I should have prefaced the costs as super basic, product based costs for quick estimates only and not installation costs. I don't think we as a green building community think about the dollar costs of these discussions.

The particular client above understands this credit and is dipping their toes into charging stations by purchasing 3 stations that will charge 6 vehicles. 65 stations to go....

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Elizabeth DiSalvo
Oct 03 2012
Guest
27 Thumbs Up

General User Happiness

I am an architect who has been building super sustainable houses since well before LEED existed. I have 2 LEED Homes under my belt and many others that could have been LEED but were either built before LEED Homes or the clients did not want to pay for certification.

I have not begun to review v4 But I have so many comments about the USGBC that I would love them to address before they even get to 'points'.

About a year or 2 ago I reached my tolerance limit in dealing with the USGBC and I emailed everyone of importance at the USGBC (I figured out emails after hours of investigation). I got a flurry of emails and very concerned phone calls after that but nothing has changed. Here are my complaints:

1. The web-site world of LEED is a nightmare. It takes hours to find what you need, get where you need to go or even comprehend the overall organization. I have created websites and am very computer literate and I find it an absolute field of chaos. Are we seriously paying for this? If the USGBC were a small non-profit I would forgive them. This however is unforgivable.

2. The USGBC refuses to credit Architects in their data base and in general. Architects! we are the USGBC's biggest constituency by far! Please help me out by getting pissed at this. When you go to search a LEED certified project in the data base, you can search by location, Contractor or LEED Provider. NeEver is the architect mentioned. When I finally got the ear of the 'big wigs' at LEED 2 years ago they asked 'Why would we mention the architect?' OMG. I was flabbergasted. Do they have literally zero comprehension of what is going on in their own building industry? Are they truly clueless to the fact that most building projects are guided and steered and conceived by architects?!?!? On most of my super green projects I have to TRAIN my contractors and cajole them into doing things right and then THEY get recognition with the USGBC. UN-BE-LIEVABLE.

3. The last LEED home I did which got LEED platinum -one of 2 or 3 in CT- has all of the wrong info logged in its data base!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Wrong architect. Wrong address, Wrong points. I have tried very hard to get someone on the phone to correct this and NO ONE WILL CALL ME BACK OR DEAL WITH THIS. Again!!!! I AM PAYING FOR THIS!!!!!!!??????????

WHY bother with LEED on any level if not for the bragging/ marketing rights. I am not a charity. I am not here to feed money into a huge marketing machine that brings in billions for the ownership and makes their own employees pay an exorbitant amount (for example) to go to the annual conference- never mind the fees we all have to pay to be a member or become a LEED AP. (Which at this point I refuse to do.)

I do not think LEED certification is a joke (like many of my fellow super sustainable old school green building industry peers do.) I find it a totally excellent tool to help train my residential building clients in sustainable design and to ensure that basic aspects of the project are met to get the best results possible. I applaud it for that.

I am - quite obviously- not impressed with the rest. I am appalled honestly at the half-assed, slipshod nature of the organization. And I am not renewing my membership until someone calls me and until my project is fixed in the database and until architects are acknowledged.

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Nadav Malin USGBC LEED Faculty, President, BuildingGreen, Inc. Oct 03 2012 LEEDuser Moderator

Hi Elizabeth,

I hope that someone from USGBC will chime in here in response to these issues you've raised. Meanwhile, I thought I'd share a couple of my own responses.

Regarding the website--after tons of work and many delays, they formally launched a completely redesigned website two days ago. I'm still finding a few glitches in it, and it requires a bit of reorienting for those of us who spent time figuring out how to use the old one, but I'm encouraged by what I've seen so far. It seems WAY better... I'd love to hear what you think. 

Regarding the database--you're talking about the LEED for Homes database, right? The database of non-residential buildings isn't searchable by contractor. And it doesn't look like they've updated their presentation of those lists to the new website. I sure hope that some sees your note here and gets the info about your project corrected!

 

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Megan Ritchie Saffitz Director of LEED Support, U.S. Green Building Council Oct 06 2012 LEEDuser Member 528 Thumbs Up

Dear Elizabeth –

On behalf of USGBC, I apologize for the frustrations you’ve experienced. Courtney Baker – USGBC’s Residential Operations Manager – has left you a voicemail and will continue to follow up by phone so you can review your concerns specific to your projects.

For anyone that may be interested in our general comments relative to the points Elizabeth raises:

1. We do take customer’s feedback on our website seriously, which is why we launched a revised website Oct. 1. Please do continue to give us specific feedback so that we may always continuously improve: https://new.usgbc.org/contact

2. Yes: architects are integral to the design of green homes and high-performance buildings. And in the future, we should be able to add project team characteristics – like the architect of record - to the project profiles in our Certified Project Directory. Unfortunately, in the interim, our first iteration of our “Certified Project Lists” – available here for both commercial and residential projects: http://www.usgbc.org/LEED/Project/CertifiedProjectList.aspx - does not include this information. (Note that this link directly connects to our commercial LEED projects, although a link to residential LEED projects is included here.)

3. We regret any information published in error and are especially remorseful for any poor customer service related to trying to correct that misinformation. In the event that you find USGBC customer service unresponsive or lacking, please feel free to contact me directly at mrsaffitz (at) usgbc.org.

Thank you –
Megan R/S

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Bill Swanson PE, LEED AP Integrated Architecture
Oct 02 2012
LEEDuser Expert
14588 Thumbs Up

Public Comment responses

I don't see responses to the 4th Draft. Anyone know where to find them?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Oct 02 2012 LEEDuser Moderator

Bill, word is that they are still being finalized by USGBC staff and will be released later this week. There is a brief note about this on USGBC's main v4 page.

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Bill Swanson PE, LEED AP, Integrated Architecture Oct 09 2012 LEEDuser Expert 14588 Thumbs Up

It's been a week and there's still nothing posted. Any revised estimates?

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Bill Swanson PE, LEED AP, Integrated Architecture Oct 16 2012 LEEDuser Expert 14588 Thumbs Up

Okay, two weeks.

Anyone from USGBC care to comment?

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Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Oct 16 2012 LEEDuser Moderator

Bill, I inquired and was told that the LEED Steering Committee is still approving the responses. I'm sure the staff is eager to post them.

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Bill Swanson PE, LEED AP, Integrated Architecture Oct 23 2012 LEEDuser Expert 14588 Thumbs Up

Generally disappointed with the canned responses again.

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Brendan Owens, LEED Fellow Vice President, LEED Technical Development USGBC
Oct 02 2012
LEEDuser Expert
781 Thumbs Up

i got a 100% on your test!

good stuff tristan - thanks for making this more fun!

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Barry Giles Founder & CEO, USGBC LEED Faculty, LEED AP O+M, BuildingWise LLC Oct 17 2012 LEEDuser Expert 3695 Thumbs Up

Brendan
If you HADN'T got a 100%....well I can't think of an analogy....can anyone?

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Chris Miller Chief Mechanical Engineer, Design Alaska Oct 19 2012 LEEDuser Member 831 Thumbs Up

The President failing the citizenship test?
Stephen Hawking failing a high school astronomy quiz?

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Lyle Axelarris Civil/Structural Engineer, LEED AP BD+C, O+M, Design Alaska Dec 10 2012 LEEDuser Member 544 Thumbs Up

Sorry, but I'm re-posting because I'd like to hear an answer to my question/concern and the USGBC site is not accepting comments for the credit in question (what used to be LEED EBOMEBOM is an acronym for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance, one of the LEED 2009 rating sytems. IOc3):

What happened to "Documenting Sustainable Building Cost Impacts"? I don't see it on the latest checklists or on the USGBC website. I may have missed the discussion in earlier drafts - what was the problem with that credit? I think it has the potential to be of great value to both the project stakeholders and the green building community, as a whole.

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