USGBC's regional priority credit lookup toolTo encourage teams to pursue credits with regional environmental significance, LEED offers up to four bonus Regional Priority (RP) points for each project.
RP credit zones were created by USGBC using a Geographic Information Systems (GIS)-based program that allowed environmental issues to be empirically mapped. These bonus points are earned by achieving credits that have been designated as particularly important for your project's specific geographic location. (Note that this is a change from LEED 2009, which used zipcodes.)
RP points are tied to existing LEED credits; they aren’t new credits written for your region. You don’t have to do anything to attempt them other than what you are already doing. If your project earns these designated priority credits, it automatically achieves RP points.
A total of six RP options are available to all projects. However, projects can only earn a total of four RP points. There’s no need to worry about selecting which RP option you want to pursue–this happens automatically through LEED Online based on the normal credits you attempt and achieve.
Environmental zones are defined based on multiple factors and can differ across a state, or even within a city. Significant differences are based on the following factors.
You can expect water-related credits to be given high priority in arid climates.
Renewable energy is often given priority in sunny or windy regions.
Stormwater is a common priority for coastal areas and sites adjacent to major rivers or water bodies.
Habitat protection and restoration is assigned to many regions in the Western U.S., as well as to areas such as the Mississippi Delta and Florida Everglades, which contain large areas of critical natural habitat.
Energy performance is assigned as a regional priority credit in many areas, though less frequently in states that already have high standards for energy efficiency, such as Oregon or California.
You can determine the RP options for your project by using the Regional Priority credit lookup tool on USGBC’s website. This tool has RP options for projects located inside and outside the U.S.
Just remember that you’ll need to enter your project’s physical coordinates to get an accurate list of RP options. The RP credit lookup tool accepts coordinates in decimal degrees (e.g. coordinates in degrees and decimal minutes will not work). Zipcodes can no longer be used to identify your project’s RP options.
International projects can use the same Regional Priority credit lookup tool on USGBC’s website as projects in the U.S.
USGBC’s Help Center provides the following information:
“The main difference in RP credits between LEED 2009 and LEED v4 is in how the RP credit zones were created. In LEED 2009, RP credit zones were identified by U.S. zipcode. This system led to numerous problems for project teams, as zipcodes are prone to changing when an area’s population grows or shrinks. Additionally, this system was somewhat arbitrary, as it did not use any empirical data to determine where environmental issues did or did not occur. Finally, projects outside the U.S. were not able to identify RP credits using this system. Instead international projects had to use a generic set of credits that did not necessarily address issues occurring in that country.
“The RP credit zones in LEED v4 were created using a Geographic Information Systems (GIS)-based program that allowed for environmental issues to be empirically mapped. This process created RP credit zones that are more robust and not solely based on physical location. The GIS-based zones do not have to be geographically adjacent, meaning that zipcode can no longer be used to identify a project’s RP credits. Instead, the project’s physical coordinates (X, Y) need to be entered to accurately identify RP credits.”
In LEED v4 the applicable thresholds are based on point thresholds instead of percentages. For example, a project gets the regional priority credit for “the 2 point tier” of XX credit, rather than “the 40% reduction tier,” as in LEED 2009.
To provide an incentive for the achievement of credits that address geographically specific environmental, social equity, and public health priorities.
Earn up to four of the six Regional Priority credits. These credits have been identified by the USGBC regional councils and chapters as having additional regional importance for the project’s region. A database of Regional Priority credits and their geographic applicability is available on the USGBC website, www.usgbc.org/rpc.
One point is awarded for each Regional Priority credit achieved, up to a maximum of four.
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LEED AP BD+C, Executive Editor – LEEDuser
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