LEED 2012, the newest update to LEED, includes an emphasis on transparency and ongoing operational excellence, as well as new credits and revised point values that reflect changes in technology and USGBC member priorities.
Proposed revisions to the Materials & Resources category include a sharpened focus on applying Lifecycle Assessments (LCAs), a powerful analytical technique that assesses the environmental impacts of all stages of a product’s life, from extraction to reuse and disposal.
A new credit will reward the use of materials for which Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) have been issued, an addition aimed at increasing product manufacturer transparency. The credit encourages manufacturers to provide specifiers with consistent, complete information about their products, thus enabling specifiers to make more informed decisions.
“It’s critical we move toward understanding the impacts our building materials have relative to extraction, manufacturing, use and disposal over a product’s lifetime,” says Brendan Owens, Vice-President of LEED Technical Development for USGBC. “The goals we’ve set for LEED are achieved when we reward building designers and operators who specify the best-performing products from an environmental impact standpoint.”
LEED 2012’s new prerequisites are intended to create a basic level of building performance for projects of all types. New credit categories better reflect changes in technology since the last revision was issued in 2009, including integrative process, location and transportation issues, and performance. The latter will reward utility data reporting, metering, and commissioning to ensure buildings continue to perform as predicted.