Green Building Codes, LEED and the Consumer – Part One

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Okay, it’s a new year and with this comes the California 2010 Green Building Standards Code (aka CALGreen), LEED 2012 being released for public comment, and who knows what else. Oh, yeah. USGBC being sued for, well, whatever. 

Aside from the ICC International Green Construction Code, if CALGreen is an example of what we can expect as a trend, in the extreme, with mandatory green building codes, what will be the impact of these new and more stringent green building codes as they find their way across the country? The California 2008 Green Building Standards Code went into effect on August 1, 2009 and was voluntary, unless otherwise adopted by local jurisdictions as mandatory. With the new California 2010 Green Building Standards Code, state compliance is mandatory, having taken effect in January, 2011. 

We saw substantial changes with the migration of LEED v2.2 over to LEED 2009, and the proposed revisions for LEED 2012 appears as if more robust revisions are in the works. Tristan Roberts from BuildingGreen and LEEDuser has published Your Guide to the New Draft of LEED that provides a good analysis of the proposed revisions. Likewise, Joel McKellar at Real Life LEED goes in depth with information he gathered on the LEED 2012 Update from USGBC’s presentation at this year’s Greenbuild convention. From a cursory review of LEED 2012, USGBC seems to be taking a necessary step in addressing many of the inadequacies and inconsistencies in the current rating systems.

It didn’t go unnoticed when USGBC rolled out LEED 2009 and informed us that this upgrade represented a major shift in direction for USGBC. USGBC would prefer to see state and local codes adopt LEED Green Building Rating Systems as a baseline to be modeled into hybrid systems, as determined by the appropriate jurisdiction, while they concentrate on ways to improve the rating systems, and thereby raising the bar. Three documents, found on the California Green Building Blog, illustrate the comparison between CALGreen and LEED. Cover Letter, CALGreen non- residential LEED comparison and CALGreen residential LEED comparison. With more accurate historical data being gathered, new technology being introduced to market, and broader consumer interest, it’s good that USGBC has recognized the fact they need to be more focused on keeping abreast of technological advances. They appear to be embracing a three year Continue Reading →