Written by Barbara A. Campagna
The latest version of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) came out in draft form (a very rough draft) on November 8. The first comment period is open until January 14, 2011. We would like to encourage all of our readers, local and statewide preservation organizations, historic district commissions, federal agencies and anyone who would like to have a voice in the changes to LEED to review the drafts and to make comments. Your voices are heard! We are very excited by these changes and what they mean for historic preservation.
Why Should You Care About LEED?
While LEED is a third-party rating system, its impact in the building and construction industry across the world is significant. As federal agencies and state/local jurisdictions across the country have adopted LEED as a requirement for zoning laws and building codes, it has become a de-facto standard. Our goal four years ago when we first contacted USGBC was to establish some level of parity in LEED for historic preservation and cultural value. °
Rolling out the First Draft of the Next Version of LEED
It is less than two years since the last changes to LEED came on the market. Known as LEED 2009, or Version 3.0, the current version of the LEED rating systems represented a huge foundational change. So, it is quite amazing to see the level of changes that have been made. Our work with the USGBC and our preservation partners has paid off: This new draft takes the integration of preservation, social and cultural value to a much higher level. And the expectation is that the final version with its new allocation of points will significantly address many of the preservation metrics that we first identified in 2007.
What is changing?
How Can I Make Comments?
I can confirm that every comment submitted is reviewed and evaluated since my colleague Patrice Frey and I helped USGBC staff evaluate the preservation credits in LEED ND last year. And numbers count. But you MUST submit your comments online via the comment process.
Comments are submitted by individual credit in each system. For example, if you want to make a comment about MR Credit Whole Building Reuse for New Construction & Major Renovations, go to the BD&C draft, and input your comments and your recommendations. Please read and follow the guidelines!
And please note – YES, this can be very overwhelming. Don’t let the amount of redlined drafts (18) paralyze you from commenting at all. And you don’t need to feel compelled to comment on every single credit. If you are really ambitious, we’d encourage you to make comments on our Top 10 list. But if you want to choose just one credit to comment on, make it the Whole Building Reuse Credit. That is the beauty of USGBC’s online comment process – since you comment by credit, you can pick and choose the ones that have the most impact for you or your organization.
Each rating system is presented as a clean draft and a redlined draft. I would suggest:
- Read the Summary of Changes document.
- Review the redlined draft of the system you are most interested in (NC and Core Shell are the best places to start).
- Make a list of comments by credit.
- Go to the online comment section for the system you’re reviewing and submit your comments and recommendations by credit. I found it useful to keep both the clean and redlined versions opened at the same time.
What happens next?
Given the complexities of the changes to LEED, USGBC has decided to basically take two years to develop the next version of LEED through this consensus-based process. More information on the schedule can be found here.
Barbara A. Campagna, FAIA, LEED AP is the Graham Gund Architect of the National Trust in the Stewardship of Historic Sites office. She can be reached by email at email@example.com.