Rolling Out LEED 2009 & LEED Neighborhood Development

Posted on: November 21st, 2008 by Barbara Campagna 4 Comments
Institute of Contemporary Art on the South Boston Watefront, across the street from the Boston Convention Center and Greenbuild.

Institute of Contemporary Art on the South Boston Waterfront, across the street from the Boston Convention Center and Greenbuild.

The Greenbuild conference has been one part inspiration, one part evaluation (of case studies, of building systems, of tools) and one part LEED information. All three have been important. But I know many of you have been waiting for the information on the LEED updates – the roll out of LEED 2009 and the roll out of LEED Neighborhood Development (ND). Since I have written extensively about LEED 2009 throughout the past year, I’m going to focus on that in this posting.

(Over the next few days I will focus on LEED ND – which in many respects may have even more impact for the historic preservation world. LEED ND officially came out for public comment on Monday, November 17th. It’s been in the pilot phase for the past two years. Go to the USGBC website to take a look at it so you’ll have some idea about what I am referring to when I start to analyze it all for you. We have been advising the LEED ND staff for the past six months and were embargoed from discussing it until it came out for public comment. The first public comment period for LEED ND ends January 5th. It is planned that a second public comment period will follow with the intention that the final LEED ND goes out for member vote next summer. I encourage you to read through it and send in comments. LEED 2009 received 6700 public comments which did impact many of the credits.)

So, the drum roll please – the roll out of LEED 2009:

Nothing has really changed since we’ve written about this over the past 6 months, but to remind you the four structural changes to LEED (NC, CI, Core & Shell, EB, Schools) are:

1. Bookshelf: Harmonization and alignment of all the LEED products. Vertical slice through the products, so that the same credit is used throughout the 5 products included in LEED 2009.  LEED V3 is comprised of: LEED 2009 + LEED ONLINE + Certification.

2. Predictability: The next version of LEED will come out in 2011, and from now on will be updated every two years. Each two year cycle will be comprised of one year of technical development and one year of approvals (public comments, tweaking, member vote).

3. Weightings: Everyone should know by now that the really BIG change to LEED is that the credits are now weighted using Life Cycle Assessment Indicators. It’s a more scientific process, and more defensible and robust. The prioritization of the credits was complicated and will keep evolving but the major decision was to choose Climate Change is the number one priority. Certified requires 40 points, Silver 50, Gold 60, Platinum 80.

The next most important change – and the one that has the potential to significantly impact existing buildings – is the creation of an Alternate Compliance Path entitled “Life Cycle Assessment for Building Assemblies.” (Click here to my related article from Forum News.) The scorecard increases from 69 to 100 points (plus potential bonus points).  This performance-based integrated multi-attribute path uses a new LCA credit calculator which is currently in beta testing. Test projects for this path will be identified in 2009 and we have already arranged with USGBC to us the Visitor Education Center at President Lincoln’s Cottage as a test project.

4. Regional Credits: The local chapters have developed regional bonus credits based on issues and credits that are relevant to their location.

LEED 2011 may begin to actually change some of the credits – remove some, add new ones. And work will begin on the more complicated and unquantifiable metrics - cultural, social and preservation metrics in the next few months.


LEED 2009 was voted in by USGBC members last Friday, November 14th and officially announced on November 18th. These latest and most comprehensive edits to LEED look familiar, but the way we will use it is different.  The Schedule:

  • Roll out of new LEED 2009 Workshops and Reference Guides – February, 2009
  • LEED 2009 ONLINE goes live – March, 2009
  • Read the following section regarding the roll out of the new accreditation tests and certification
  • Roll out complete – September 2009

Accreditation and Certification

Read on if you’re currently a LEED Accredited Professional or are considering taking the test, AND if you ever have or ever will go for Project Certification, this is the biggest news which hadn’t been completely unveiled till this week at Greenbuild.

Everyone wants to know how LEED Accreditation will work with the new versions of LEED and if Project Certification will change. And the answer to both is YES. Last year USGBC spun off a new organization, Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI), to manage the accreditation and AP testing process. Beginning in January 2009, GBCI will also take over the certification process as well. Peter Templeton, the founding Director of LEED was announced as the new President of GBCI. Now USGBC will handle all the development of LEED and green building practices, and GBCI will handle all credentialing and certifying ensuring an independent 3rd party verification of the testing and certifying processes.

And the accreditation process is being completely overhauled. If you’re already a LEED AP, don’t panic, you’re grandfathered – somewhat. There are three major changes to the accreditation process – tiers, credentialing maintenance and specialization. By the end of 2009, there will be 3 separate tiers or levels of “Accreditation” – Tier 1 – LEED Green Associate , the basic level, basically for support and service staff at organizations who often need to answer questions about LEED but will not actually be involved in project certification. Tier 2 – LEED AP with specialized credentials or in-depth knowledge for Building Design & Construction (formerly NC), Interior Design & Construction, Operations & Maintenance, Homes, and Neighborhood Development. Tier 3 – LEED AP Fellow (similar to the AIA Fellowship system).

Credentialing Maintenance – All LEED APs, including current ones, will need to maintain their accreditation through a continuing education system, similar to that of the AIA program. If you’re already required to acquire CEUs as a registered architect or engineer, you should in most cases be able to use the same CEUs to maintain your LEED AP. It’s a bit more complicated than this but fortunately the GBCI new Accreditation website went live today. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me. I took good notes but don’t want to use up all my blog space with all the details.

The New Accreditation Timeline:

  • FEBRUARY 2009
  • LEED Green Associate Exam - Beta Test
  • LEED AP + Operations and Maintenance Exam - Beta Test
  • MARCH 2009
  • LEED AP + Homes Exam - Beta Test
  • SPRING 2009
  • LEED Green Associate Exam - Launch
  • LEED AP + Operations and Maintenance Exam - Launch
  • LEED AP + Design and Construction/Interior Design and Construction - Beta Test
  • New Candidate Application
  • SUMMER 2009
  • LEED AP + Homes Exam - Launch
  • LEED AP + Design and Construction/Interior Design and Construction - Beta Test
  • New Credentialing Maintenance Program - Launch

The National Trust for Historic Preservation works to save America's historic places. Join us today to help protect the places that matter to you.

Barbara Campagna

Barbara A. Campagna, FAIA, LEED AP BD+C was formerly the Graham Gund Architect of the National Trust in the Stewardship of Historic Sites office. She is currently a sustainability consultant to the National Trust and can be reached at


4 Responses

  1. Jon - LEED AP

    December 20, 2008

    Does anyone else think that natural habitat preservation and environmental degradation prevention should rank on par or even higher than global warming? First, I am not saying that global warming is not important but at the end of the day it is very controversial and still not 100% fact. Whereas natural habitat loss is a major and immediate problem facing most areas of the world. We can’t unextinct a species after it is gone. Second, making the fight against global warming as the top priority the USGBC is trending down the road of things like Carbon offsets which, although they sound nice, don’t really accomplish the goal of reducing resource burdens stemming from our built environment. I’d just be curious to see what other people think? I personally think that resource and habitant preservation should be the prime focus. Both of which are measurable and also contribute to reductions in global warming.

  2. Curtis

    December 23, 2008

    I hope you don’t mind, but I wanted to comment on something other than your question.

    Great summation of LEED 2009! I have been trying to find the skinny every since I passed the exam last friday. Your article was one of the clearest.

  3. Debra Weisberg

    January 8, 2009

    Interested in the Free Leed test for Existing Buildings in February. Any word on this?

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