Sustainable Preservation Coalition
The National Trust for Historic Preservation created the Sustainable Preservation Coalition two years ago in order to impact further development of the LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) Building Rating Systems. We partnered with several national organizations who were developing separate sustainability agendas including the AIA, APT International, the National Park Service, General Services Administration and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers. We realized we could make a bigger impact integrating historic preservation and green building values by working together.
Our first goal was to meet with the U.S. Green Building Council, the developer of LEED, and open up a dialogue to discuss improvements to their products which would better reflect the importance of existing buildings to sustainable stewardship of our planet and its limited resources. While LEED does much to encourage more sustainable development, and historic buildings can achieve the highest LEED rating, we believed it could certainly do better because the current version of LEED (LEED 2.2):
1. Overlooks the impact of projects on cultural value;
2. Does not effectively consider the performance, longer service lives and embodied energy of historic materials and assemblies;
3. And is overly focused on current or future technologies, neglecting how past experience helps to determine sustainable performance.
Our meeting with the President of USGBC (Rick Fedrizzi) and the Director of LEED Technical Development (Brendan Owens) was quite successful, ending with Rick inviting us to help them prepare preservation metrics for the revised versions of LEED. Over the past year, our coalition has been meeting with USGBC and are delighted to announce that soon LEED 3.0 will be unveiled.
The LEED Revisions
At the Traditional Building Conference in Boston on March 14th, Brendan Owens of USGBC, Carl Elefante (Principal at Quinn Evans Architects in Washington, DC and Co-Chair of the APT Technical Committee on Sustainable Preservation) and I presented a panel entitled “LEED & Preservation: It Works!” We presented the following information:
1. USGBC has determined that they are going to launch an interim version of LEED this year called LEED 3.0. There are so many changes that need to be made, they decided they would implement some changes this year and then work on the really complicated ones (social/preservation/cultural metrics) next year. This also gives their membership time to ease into the transition and makes some much-needed changes immediately.
2. LEED 3.0 will go out for public comment May 1st and be adopted by the membership at GreenBuild in November in Boston. It will in essence go into effect January 1st, 2009.
3. What is LEED 3.0? LEED 3.0 will adopt the new system where the credits are weighted according to Life Cycle Analysis Indicators. (This is really, really important for existing buildings and what we've been promoting). The LEED rating system is increasing from a total of 69 points to 100 points. In many cases now in the new version, the points related to existing buildings will be much higher and more effectively addressed in the new weighting system.
4. In addition, there will be an "interim compliance route" in LEED 3.0 which existing buildings can choose that specifically focuses on the Durability of materials and assemblies in existing buildings in the Materials & Resources Category (where many of the targeted existing buildings points are). This does not exist in LEED 2.0.
5. The amount of points a building will now get will be different for every building depending on its materials, their durability, etc. But in many cases it may mean more points for existing buildings, but more importantly, the inherent durability and embodied energy will be much better represented, where it currently is not addressed at all.
6. Immediately after LEED 3.0/2009 goes out for public comment, we are going to start working on LEED 3.0/2010 with USGBC which will change the structure of LEED even more. Here is where we will apply a new overlay of cultural/social/preservation metrics in addition to the durability metric which will already have been implemented with LEED 3.0. This is the really complicated stuff that hasn't been done before. BRE out of Europe has done it a little, but USGBC is committed with our help to figure this out and get it implemented for 2010. In addition, they are looking to filling the gaps they've identified with our help and others, and will probably be adding new credits as well.
Stay tuned – we will keep you updated!
UPDATE - May 6th, 2008
USGBC is hard at work tweaking the draft of LEED 3.0. Their board will be reviewing it on May 14th and determining whether it is ready to go out for public comment. If the USGBC Board approves its release, it should be out on the street for public comment some time the third week of May. All USGBC members will receive the draft. The National Trust will post the draft on our website and work with our coalition to provide comments. At the same time, we will begin work with USGBC on the next version of LEED.