LEED Eats its Young

LEED 2012 is just around the corner and, as expected, accessibility will plummet. According to a recent blog LEED 2012: Too much change? , by Allison Beer McKenzie many who were previously committed to LEED have decided to abandon it if the proposed changes are implemented.

What really are the proposed changes? Among the many, here are some I found to be most impractical:

The number of prerequisites will increase from 9 to 15.
SERF ‘s policy is that all of our points are fully fungible. Our applicants select which sections they desire to pursue and which ones make little practical sense to them. Prerequisites also make it practically impossible to perform a compliance evaluation post construction. LEED must now (more than ever) be on the agenda right from the conceptual phase of the project, hence increasing design costs.

Bike racks are now a prerequisite
This is curious as we routinely find this to be the most ridiculed credit in LEED . That it has been made a mandatory requirement suggests a certain disconnect with the marketplace. We recently met with the head of global real estate of a Fortune 500 consumer products company who complained about the impracticality of this credit required for their distribution centers located at freeway interchanges. He threw up his hands and said, “Our employees can’t bike on the freeway, and we wouldn’t let them if they could!”

Fundamental commissioning has been made more stringent. Example, roof assemblies now have to be commissioned
As mentioned in my previous blog Paying (and paying) for the LEED Label a significant portion of the cost of LEED is related to documentation and third party consultant costs. This added stringency would further increase that cost.

The number of LEED professionals required in the team will be two instead of one in the 2009 version
Need I say more?

Additionally, demands related to other sections including energy efficiency and renewable energy have been raised by about 25% when compared to LEED 2009.

It seems very clear that LEED, which started off as a great market oriented rating system, intended to encourage decision makers to take the plunge into building green has now lost track of its original mission. The LEED clique will get smaller, albeit more “exclusive”, and will continue to drive adherents of Practical Environmental Stewardship to alternative certifications like SERF.