Last Friday, Rick Fedrizzi, the CEO of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced that it is pushing back the balloting of LEED 2012 until June 2013. While many were surprised by this, many of us who followed LEED 2012 development closely were not as surprised. When you see such notable figures as Rob Watson. (The “Father of LEED”) stating in a very public forum, LEED User, that he thought USGBC was getting to far ahead of the market. His thoughts, and mine, were that USGBC was asking us to vote on a radically different LEED rating system, especially in regards to the Materials credit, without seeing any of the accompanying documentation such as how were these credits to be documented and reviewed and what would the new reference guides contain to help ease the journey to certification.
The following is an excerpt from Nadav Malin, President of Building Green, the publisher of LEED User
“The move came in response to a growing outcry from architects and other building industry professionals—including many who have been core supporters of LEED since its inception—who had three related concerns:
• The proposed changes in the rating system were too much, too fast, especially in a weak real estate market.
• Some of the changes needed more refinement , especially in the Materials & Resources category, where whole new approaches to material selection had been introduced and had changed significantly with each public comment draft.
• Tools and resources needed to achieve the credits would not be widely available by the time the new system was slated to launch in November 2012.
Compounding these concerns were doubts about the ability of USGBC’s sister organization, the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) to develop an effective certification process in such a short timeframe—fears that linger after the release of LEED 2009, which was marked by an ill-fated attempt to outsource the certification process to third-party certification bodies and glitches that marred the usability of LEED Online.”
I am personally relieved to see USGBC slowing down the process in order to ensure that the next LEED rating system is fully vetted and that the systems are ready to support its launch so that we are not “beta testing” another version of LEED as most of felt we were during the launch of V3. At the same time, I think it is important for the USGBC to keep raising the bar and transforming the market place. Market transformation is what USGBC and LEED has always done best. We might have to invent some new forms and become familiar with some new standards and organizations. But, we know how to do this and our confidence to do it will reassure our clients as we have done with every new release of LEED..