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LEED 2012 Points—or, How we'll eventually get points

by LiveModern Webmaster last modified Jan 04, 2012 02:05 AM
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by Emily Catacchio last modified Feb 07, 2011

This screen capture from the webinar shows how each piece of the matrix is filled in in the Assessment Tool. Here, you can see the three associators (relative efficacy, benefit duration, and benefit control) and their respective options. T... The database is a rather complex tool. Part of the Database is the Associations Tool, which is a matrix system based on seven new Impact Categories (Climate, Health, Water, Biodiversity, Resources, Transformative Processes/Green Economy, and Community). This differs from LEED 2009, which used EPA TRACI Impact Categories to determine point allocations. As the presenters said, the TRACI categories are characterizations of negative impacts that happen when building and operating a building, such as climate change and habitat impacts. The new weighting system has more positive, “mission-aligned,” priorities. According to Owens, weightings for LEED 2012 will be based on “the relative importance (across the 2012 impact categories) of the outcomes realized when a credit is achieved”—asking, “what do we want these projects to accomplish, or be good at?” instead of “what should we avoid?” So, how will weightings differ from LEED 2009? The short answer: the team isn’t entirely sure yet. Why? There are plenty of complexities in the weightings database still being worked through. Let’s go over some additional terminology they’re working with. Associations: the linking of sub-credits to components through the Associations Tool. Compliance Path: this refers to any option, case, path, or tier within a LEED credit. Impact Categories: determined by USGBC to reflect the outcomes LEED buildings should address (listed above). Components: each impact category contains between 3–5 components, reflecting more specific outcomes within each category. How are associations determined? Basically, the Associations Tool produces a value for each association. The value is assigned based on three associators: Relative Efficacy: If the compliance path being evaluated is related to a specific component then it’s relative efficacy on that component is rated as stronger, weaker, or counterproductive. Benefit Duration: Assesses how long the benefits of an achieved compliance path strategy will last—in years: 1–3, 4–10, 11–30, or 30+. Benefit Control: Who controls the outcome of this benefit?—Occupants, operation and maintenance staff (or construction crew), owner (or developer), or “passive” meaning multiple. For example the installation of a bike rack: though this credit has high efficacy the owner has limited control over how it gets used. In other credits simply achieving the credit is its whole function, and so controllability is not an issue. In the words of the team, “the link between a LEED credit compliance and an impact category [is] an association. [It] is a link [between] a particular credit strategy [and] a particular outcome.” For example when you reduce the energy use of a building you also “reduce the building’s carbon footprint (most of the time), and that is an association.” The team assigns the associations based on the outcome realized when a LEED project earns a credit relative to an impact category. There are 40,000 associations in LEED-NC alone! The Associations Tool has been made available to people outside of the USGBC and includes matrixes (or models) for CALGreen 2010 Draft, ASHRAE 189.1P, and LEED 2009 ND, EBOM, and NC among others. Once completed, these associations will be the basis for point values. Some of the determinations are “value laden and somewhat subjective,” but the team has “tried to make them as quantitative and objective as possible.” The USGBC is taking care to be as transparent as possible; there are plans to make the completed matrix available to the public, possibly during a comment period, however this does not mean there will be opportunity for the public to dissect the decisions that have been made for each association—the USGBC simply doesn’t have the capacity to address concerns at that level. “How can we come back to Earth?” One of the best questions asked  during the Q&A portion of the presentation was “how can we come back to Earth?” The Database is complex, intensive, and detailed.  According to the presenters, “at the end of the day what a LEED user gets is a scorecard, the one they have been used to. The points may not be exactly the same as before, but the output of this tool is a scorecard.” For those who want to look beyond the scorecard the Weighting Database is available to support the Team’s decisions. Additional notes The webcast was laden with fascinating content. Here are some additional tidbits. There is a “soft” cap of 50 for the number of credits allowed in a LEED rating system; this number allows the flexibility to allocate points to emphasize more important credits. The new weightings will not be tied to geographical location, though this ability has been built into the tool. It may be something we see in a future version of LEED, beyond 2012. In LEED 2009 many of the Materials & Resources credits dropped in relative point value. This is being reassessed for 2012; manufacturing companies’ ability to encourage market transformation is apparently part of the calculus. When asked if cost-effectiveness could become part of a LEED credit, the presenters stated that “performance [is] the sole arbiter of achievement” and they pointed to outside market controls as being sufficient to avoid a situation where someone might cover their building in solar panels to achieve net zero energy, while not changing anything about their practices—this would not be cost-effective and thus does not need to be considered in LEED. The total number of points available in Innovation is not likely to change, but, according to the presenters, “there may be a change to the one point for one strategy” policy. The weighting system will not take into consideration the time or effort it takes to achieve credits; points will be based on the outcome in terms of environmental value and building performance. This version, unlike LEED 2009, will not ask project teams to pilot test the whole system, but rather just individual credits. The next version of LEED still has a planned launch date of November 2012.   More on Impact category descriptions As mentioned above, the following impact categories were created by USGBC to better reflect its mission of positive impact on the built environment. The team is in the process of deciding the best way to weight the impact categories. Climate includes energy use, energy supply, and other non-energy issues; efficacy, duration, and control across these three specific aspects of climate change were considered. Health is focused on enhancing the overall well-being, productivity, and vitality of occupants; ensuring buildings provide healthy indoor air quality. Water includes reducing consumption and pollution, considers regime/natural hydrology, and encourages the protection and restoration of water resources. Biodiversity, habitat, and open space should be protected, restored, and enhanced—locally, regionally, and globally. The category also includes reducing air and water pollution. Resources should be conserved, renewed, used efficiently and extracted sustainably. Recycling and materials reuse is categorized here as well. Transformative Processes/Green Economy—build a greener economy—focuses on creating demand, supply, innovation, and integration. Community addresses social equity, environmental justice, and quality of life through affordable, accessible, and resilient neighborhoods. LEED projects should promote human rights and wellbeing and create a sense of place through cultural, recreational, and social opportunities. Looking at LEED 2012 The second public comment period for LEED 2012 is expected sometime in July or August 2011, with a ballot projected for August 2012. While you’re waiting for that, you'll want to see the first drafts of this system and what people had to say about it.






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