UPDATE (07.15.10): The USGBC has now updated the official checklists incorporating pretty much all of the features called for in the post and from your comments! Check out this post for direct links to each of the checklists that are now unlocked, feature a notes section, and highlight whether the credit is part of the design or construction review.
UPDATE (01.25.10): I've created much improved unprotected versions of the v3 checklists, and linked to a set of slightly better than previously reported official USGBC checklists on this post!
I realize I haven't sounded like much of a supporter of LEED lately, deciding instead to rant about problems like slow LEED-Online service. I do promise a post this week about why I love the USGBC and LEED in particular, but for now I have a little more bitching to do.
BOO creepy PDF Checklist...Hooray BEER!
This post is all about a horrible new development that the USGBC silently rolled out: a new Adobe LiveCycle PDF version of the LEED-Checklists. This is a horrible development for a number of reasons, which I'll explain later.
Since Rick Fedrizzi left a comment after the report about the LEED-Online hangups (a simultaneously gratifying and terrifying moment for someone who started "reporting" less than 8 months ago), I realized that this blog actually might make a difference! For that reason I hope the good people at the USGBC abandon whatever contract they have with Adobe that made this new PDF checklist a reality and return to the earlier days of humble Excel spreadsheets. From what I can tell, checklists for all systems have been updated to the new format sometime in the recent past, and I can only hope it's not too late to go back.
Why the Old Version was Great
The old excel version was amazingly versatile, easy to use, save, and modify. It condensed a huge amount of project info into a two page document, and allowed you to add additional information in the margins as needed. I made one spreadsheet that took a list of about 150 certified projects that listed every single credit they earned, and turned that into a chart showing how likely it is to earn a each point given different certification levels (green is good, red is bad). On almost every project we add a few bars on the right to show things like credit assignments, notes from status update meetings, etc. Take a look for yourself:
Handy List with Percentage of Projects Achieving Each Credit (NC version 2.0 and 2.1 only)
Points, Problems, and Notes!
Why the New Version Sucks
I'm a pretty long-winded fellow, but a few bullets can sum this one up:
- You can't save changes!!! Every time I need to make a small update I have to generate a completely new list? Ridiculous.
- You're supposed to print the file to have a record of any information. Amazingly the USGBC is moving back towards a paper-full office??? I do recognize that you could print to pdf to solve this problem. Irony at its best...
- It takes twice as many pages (4) to display the same amount of information as the original excel version.
- You can't add additional information or notes to the side... as if you could save them after you did.
- It's impossible to have multiple people (contractor, architect, MEP, etc.) make comments on the same document. We do this on projects all the time, typically I generate an "official" checklist after a meeting and distribute to all involved parties via email to add what I missed.
- Drop down boxes are annoying. I could fill out the entire excel version without using a mouse.
- Once you enter an answer, you can't delete it (you can only put back in "0"). Like many architects I have a streak of OCD in me that would force me to start from scratch so everything looks perfect.
I suspect the ultimate result is that when LEED 2009 rolls out and we all need checklists many people will either adapt their old ones or start from scratch, which could make for an interesting contest on this site... BONUS for me! In any case, I would love to hear the reasoning behind the switch to the new version. I can't come up with a single reason why anyone would think this is an improvement, but someone must have. Smarter than I? Most of you are, so please share your thoughts by leaving a comment.