After two open comment periods on LEED 2009, formerly known as LEED V3, the new comprehensive standard has been revised and put to a vote. The first comment period opened up in March 2008, and due to the high volume of community response, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) implemented a second comment period in late March. After sifting through over 7,000 suggestions, as well as eight years of market and user responses, the USGBC posted the final revisions to the standard. Member balloting opened on Oct. 14, 2008, and will close at 5 PM EST on Friday, November 14.
The 2009 update to the LEED standard, pending member ratification, presents the largest overhaul yet to the green building certification program. One of the largest innovations involves a new “bonus point” system that will allow projects to bolster their scores by actively contributing to regional efforts to curb climate control and integrate successfully into the local environment. LEED 2009 in general will become more weighted toward empirically driven standards, as all credits have been reweighted to reflect a higher urgency for climate control, energy efficiency, and carbon neutrality. According to the USGBC, groundbreaking technologies will also be easier to incorporate into LEED scoring, with a more flexible apparatus for recognizing and rewarding innovation. Finally, LEED 2009 will make the ratings system more amenable among the potentially confusing variants, such as Commercial Interiors, Existing Building, Operations and Maintenance, and Neighborhood.