The BIG Review: LEED 2009 Reference Guides Released

NOTE - This is the longest post in Real Life LEED history. You may groan at the thought of reading the text below, but I assure you it's a much quicker way to get up to speed with the changes in the new LEED 2009 systems then reading through the new reference guide as I did. Man up, read the following, and sound smart around your colleagues.

For those that aren't aware, the LEED 2009 reference guides are now available for purchase online. There is also an expanded page on LEED 2009 info that features some new date information. The most important fact is that LEED 2009 registrations go live on April 27th, though you won't be required to register under the new version until June 27th, which is two months earlier than previously announced. Current v2 projects can voluntarily opt into the new v3 system from the April launch until October 24th. Here is an updated schedule direct from the USGBC:

LEED 2009 Updated Launch Schedule

Back to the reference guides... There are two versions available - a hard-copy that comes with 30-day access to a non-printable PDF, and an 'e-book' version that is a printable PDF for $10 less. Both can be downloaded and saved. I opted for the e-book version, and I imagine most will do the same. Amazingly, you have to pay shipping for either copy? And just in case you forget the copyright agreement you agreed to with the E-book don't worry, it's watermarked on EVERY FREAKIN' PAGE of the reference guide.

Though I've not worked with the material yet, it appears that there are more detailed examples and many more helpful tables, charts, and graphs. In general it seems like this guide is more user-friendly. A last bit of good news is that the entire guide is a single file instead of being annoyingly split into the different categories as was done previously.

If you're not yet ready to drop $144 for a reference guide, the official rating systems are now posted on the USGBC website. There isn't anywhere near as much detail, but it's certainly more than nothing. For some reason the minimum project requirements aren't in the reference guide, so you have to download these to see that anyway:

Some bad news... the new Green Building Design and Construction Reference Guide, 2009 Edition clocks in at a whopping 674 pages, but some supremely good news is that they combined the LEED-Schools, LEED-NC, and LEED-CS guides all into one, saving you money. LEED for Healthcare and LEED for Retail will be included, but as they're still in pilot they aren't at this time. LEED-CI and LEED-EB still get their own reference guides... Every credit for every system is listed in order, and depending on which system you're using you can simply ignore what doesn't apply.

A Bad Omen

A lot of fuss has been made about technical improvements as part of the v3 system, so let's take a look at my first experience with the new launch:

A bad omen for LEED 2009

Same ol', same ol

Yep, though there was no problem paying for the new reference guides on Friday, I couldn't actually download them until Saturday morning. I've tried to be understanding about whoever the IT staff at USGBC and GBCI, but if the new LEED-Online launch is similarly poor then management should strongly consider either increasing funding for this or warming up the ol' pink slip machine... Luckily it's really rainy here in Charleston on this lovely Saturday so I have nothing better to do than read a reference guide and report the findings to you!

And now... the review!

I'm not going to repeat what I've already covered before, so if you haven't read my initial review of the 2009 draft you may want to now. In general, I'm more knowledgable about LEED-NC than either LEED-CS or LEED for Schools, so it's very likely I may have missed a few differences between the current and new versions of those... Off we go!

Minimum Program Requirements

The first new thing you encounter are a set of Minimum Program Requirements (MPRs) that describe eligibility for each system and will "evolve over time in tandem with the LEED rating systems." Though there are eight requirements that are standardized for all systems, the thresholds and levels apply differently for each system and are defined in the rating systems linked above. There is going to be a separate "Supplemental Guidance document" on these issues that as far as I can does not yet exist. It looks like these requirements more clearly state which system to use when, which is definitely a good thing. LEED-NC lists the following requirements (I'm only providing short summaries) as a prerequisite to applying for certification:

  1. Must Comply with Environmental Laws - ...duh
  2. Must be a Building - States that the project must "include the new, ground-up design & construction or major renovation of at least one building in its entirety." This also forces multiple buildings within a "single construction contract and ownership... within the boundary of a contiguous area" to be handled under a single certification. I'm currently working on a set of buildings that would not be in compliance with this requirement. Finally, there is an interesting clause that states that projects must be built "on already existing land"... I guess no LEED v3 certifications on Dubai's artificial beaches!
  3. Must Use a Reasonable Site Boundary - There are a lot of clauses in here that sound strict at first but generally allow for loopholes based on special circumstances.
  4. Must Comply with Minimum FTE and Floor Area Requirements - This is new... If the project has less than 1 FTE than it is no longer eligible for Indoor Environmental Quality points, though you still must comply with prerequisites. For LEED-NC the project must have at least 1,000 gsf of "indoor, enclosed building floor area".
  5. Must Comply with Minimum Occupancy Rates - Applies to LEED-EB only.
  6. Registration and Certification Activity Must Comply with Reasonable Timetables and Rating System Sunset Dates - Basically states that if a LEED 2009 project is inactive for 4 years, the GBCI reserves the right to cancel the registration, that all paperwork must be finished within 6 years of the retirement of the system (i.e. 2017 for the LEED 2009 system), and that certification must be complete within 2 years of project occupancy.
  7. Must Allow USGBC Access to Whole-Building Energy and Water Usage Data - Let's call this one the Henry Gifford clause. The rating will not be tied to the information provided, and the owner does not have to "actively supply USGBC with information, but simply authorize the USGBC to access the information". This is long overdue, and I imagine in the long term will do more to create accurate energy and water modeling standards than anything else to date. Long overdue and a great idea. As to what 'allowing USGBC access' means is yet to be seen.
  8. Wish I could have been there...

    Go Go Gadget-Debate!

  9. Must Comply with a Minimum Building Area to Site Area Ratio - The project's floor area must be at least 2% of the total site area. I'd be curious to learn the reasoning behind this clause. I suspect it has something to do with the sometimes contrary goals of the development density and maximize open space credits.

Regional Priority Credits

The regional 'bonus points' mentioned in the first review post are not spelled out in the reference guide in any real detail other than to say that points will be determined automatically in LEED-Online based on zip code, and that "the USGBC website also contains a searchable database of Regional Priority credits" that does not yet exist.

EDIT - 04.21.09 - The regional credits have now been released. Find a link to these and my first take on the matter here.

LEED-CS Appendices

Featured in the original LEED-CS reference guides, there are a series of appendices that have been updated and expanded in the current edition. Most notable is a greatly improved default occupancy count list (now featuring 13 building types instead of only 4) that includes both FTE and transient occupancy numbers where applicable. I would suggest many NC projects will benefit from these numbers as well, particularly as they relate to hotels, retail, and restaurants which were previously unavailable. There are also new sections on Tenant Lease or Sales Agreements and Precertification Guidance.

Key Credit Changes

Again... this is only the stuff that hasn't been mentioned earlier... Most of the comments below reflect basic clarifications, but a few credits (see SSc5.1 for the first example) have structural changes to the credits that were essentially not voted on during the draft phase. Ditto for the mandatory program requirements covered above. This is my one major problem with the way the drafts are commented on, voted for, and approved. I would argue that having the distinction between the 'rating system' and the 'reference guide' is meaningless, the reference guides ARE the rating system. I would hope future approval processes for LEED will allow for the evaluation of the entire system, not just the first few pages. Basic referenced standards updates (i.e. from a 2004 to a 2007 standard) are not addressed in the comments below.

Sustainable Sites

SSp1 - Construction Activity Pollution Prevention (NC, CS, Schools) - Now requires photo documentation, inspection logs, or reports to verify compliance.

SSc4.1 - Alternative Transportation, Public Transportation Access (NC, CS, Schools) - The CIR approved exemplary performance option about 'doubling transit ridership' has been formally incorporated into the reference guide.

SSc4.2 - Alternative Transportation, Bicycle Storage and Changing Rooms (NC, CS, Schools) - Offers clearer guidance on determining FTE and occupancy counts than previous editions.

SSc4.3 - Alternative Transportation--Low-Emitting and Fuel Efficient Vehicles (NC, CS, Schools) - Clearly defines preferred parking via discounts for spaces as at least 20% below the normal price. For NC projects, defines a compliance path option for a low-emitting vehicle sharing program.

SSc5.1 - Maximize Open Space (NC, CS, Schools) - In the implementation section, there is a clause that states "if a 10-acre site contains 5 acres of greenfield and 5 acres of previously developed land, site disturbance must be limited in the greenfield area, and native and adapted vegetation must be protected or restored for at least 50% (excluding the building footprint) of the previously developed site area." This seems like it could be pretty confusing and limiting on sites where this occurs. There is also an additional exemplary performance option (also not voted on) that allows credit for restoring 30% of the site including the building footprint OR 75% of the site excluding the building footprint, whichever is greater.

SSc7.1 - Heat Island Effect--Non-Roof (NC, CS, Schools) - Allows area shaded by solar panels or other renewable energy sources (say, over parking) to be added to your qualifying area calculation. A graphic (page 115) showing shaded area resulting from vegetation indicates significantly more shading area than I would have typically assumed...

SSc8 - Light Pollution Reduction - Lighting zones better clarified. Looks like they forgot to include sports field allowances for schools on page 131... Whoops! The numbers do show up on page 137 though.

Water Efficiency

WEp1 and WEc2 - Water Use Reduction (NC, CS, Schools) - The 20% requirement that was formerly a point is now a prerequisite. Points begin at a 30% reduction and rise up to 45% for exemplary performance. In general there is some helpful information about how the EPA WaterSense program requirements relate to the LEED requirements.

EDIT 02/11/10 - I've recently discovered that in addition to adding a prerequisite, the baseline that the design cases are compared to has shifted from 2.2 gpm to .5 gpm for public faucets. This change has been explained in detail in a post called Key Baseline Changes in 2009 Edition of WEc3, Water Use Reduction.

WEc4 - Process Water Use Reduction (Schools only) - Nothing major changing here, but I must wonder why this hasn't be adopted to fit into NC and CS projects? Again I blame the limited means of commenting and adapting drafts of rating systems.

Random Entertaining Picture Break:

fail owned pwned pictures

A literal (fire) stairway to heaven?

Back to work...

Energy and Atmosphere

EAp1 (EAc3) - Fundamental (Enhanced) Commissioning of Building Energy Systems (NC, CS, and Schools) - Provides much greater detail of step-by-step process for moving through owner's project requirements, basis of design, and commissioning coordination as well as greater detail about who is and is not allowed to act as the commissioning authority, though none of these requirements are new as far as I can tell.

EAp2 (EAc1) - Minimum (Optimize) Energy Performance (NC, CS, and Schools) - Though calculations are now based on ASHRAE 90.1-2007 instead of the less stringent 2004 edition, the required benchmarks have been lowered as well (the v3 prerequisite calls for a 10% reduction over 2007 standard, whereas in v2.2 a 14% reduction over the 2004 standard is required). Additional ASHRAE Advanced Energy Design Guide compliance paths have been added for retail, small warehouse buildings, and schools. Beyond that, I would love it if someone more familiar with the details of energy performance would be willing to comment on changes...

EAc2 - On-Site Renewable Energy (NC, CS, and Schools) - This credit now offers regular points generating as little as 1% and as much as 13% of the power needed by the building (exemplary performance is set at 15%). There is also a clause that clearly forbids including energy that is generated but not used or energy that is to be sold back to the grid (presumably via net-metering). Furthermore, the owner can not sell Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) for the power they are claiming as part of calculations. This language is not in the v2 reference guides, though there may have been a CIR related to the subject already in effect that I'm not aware of. There is also a documentation requirement in regards to "any incentives that were provided to support the installation of on-site renewable energy systems."

EAc5.2 - Measurement and Verification--Tenant Submetering (CS only) - In addition to v2 requirements, the project team must "[p]rovide a process for corrective action if the results of the M&V plan indicate that energy savings are not being achieved."

Materials and Resources

This edition of the reference guide finally references MasterFormat 2004 in it's definitions of what is and is not included in the qualified materials figures for MRc3-7. Instead of the 1997 divisions 2-10 definition, they now cite 2004 divisions 3-10, 31.6, 32.1, 32.3, and 32.9. Division 12 (furniture and furnishings) is still optional.

MRp1 - Storage and Collection of Recyclables (NC, CS, and Schools) - Clearly indicates that "it may be possible to create a central collection area that is outside of the building footprint or project site boundary" if you can "document how the recyclable materials will be transported to the separate collection area." This was allowed previously as evidenced by CIR's but caused confusion among many.

MRc1.1 - Building Reuse--Maintain Existing Walls, Floors, and Roof (NC, CS, and Schools) - Due to additional points being assigned to these credits, the thresholds for achievement have changed. 55%-95% for NC, 25-75 for CS, and 75-95 for Schools. Only CS has an exemplary performance option at 95%.

MRc5 - Regional Materials (NC, CS, and Schools) - Clarifies 'manufacturing location' as the "place of final assembly of components into the building product that is furnished and installed by the tradeworkers", which is consistent with past CIR's but caused confusion among many. Annoyingly, a later example graphic shows multiple manufacturing locations all being within the circle, making me doubt myself about the certainty of this ruling?

MRc6 - Rapidly Renewable Materials (NC, CS, and Schools) - Now includes a graphic (below - taken from page 389 of the guide) showing how wood is clearly not within the USGBC's definition of rapidly renewable. Take that, lumber-industry shills!

Wood isn't rapidly renewable.

Five Fingers to the Face!

MRc7 - Certified Wood - Goes into much greater detail about FSC chain-of-custody reporting requirements and how to report them for LEED purposes.

Indoor Environmental Quality

EQp3 - Minimum Acoustical Performance (Schools only) - The USGBC has simplified but strengthened the compliance paths for this credit, essentially calling for sound absorptive materials for an are larger than ceiling area. A much more prescriptive approach will make this credit possible to understand and implement by architects, though some guidance will still be needed regarding background noise levels and possibly ANSI Standard S12.60-2002. I would greatly appreciate an acoustician's point of view on the new requirements if you would care to share your thoughts in the comments.

EQc4 - Low-Emitting Materials (NC, CS, and Schools) - I'm a bit upset on this one... wasn't a large part of the LEED 2009 system supposed to be credit alignment? The LEED-Schools version still references separate standards than NC and CS?!? No word yet on whether or not the PIECAP ruling for the previous version still applies. A link to a list of LEED-Schools compliant products is available here. Similarly, why aren't the full six options available to NC and CS projects?

EQc4.3 - Low-Emitting Materials--Flooring Systems (NC, CS, and Schools) - This was formerly the 'carpet systems' standard, now expanded to included hard surface flooring. The standard carpets remains the same. FloorScore is used for other surfaces, and any stains or sealants on wood or other materials must comply with EQc4.1 requirements. An alternative option is to use products meeting CHiPS requirements.

EQc5 - Indoor Chemical and Pollutant Source Control (NC, CS, and Schools) - Those metal grates by your main entries must be 10' long instead of just 6'. Also, there is a new requirement to "provide containment for appropriate disposal of hazardous liquid wastes in places where water and chemical concentrate mixing occurs." There are also additional requirements for separating 'battery banks used to provide temporary back-up power'.

EQc7.2 - Thermal Comfort--Verification (NC and Schools) - There is now a clause that state that earning this credit "is contingent on achieving EQc7.1, Thermal Comfort--Design." I checked the old NC reference guide and couldn't find anywhere where this was required. Our projects haven't had any problem achieving 7.1 before, so I can't be sure if this is something I've missed in the past? Again, this seems like a very reasonable clause, but shouldn't it have been part of the draft and not buried in section 4 of the reference guide?

EQc8.1 - Daylight and Views--Daylight (NC, CS, and Schools) - This credit has abandoned the 2% daylight factor calculation in favor of one that uses a more simple multiplication of glazing visible transmittance and window to floor area ratio. There are also now maximum footcandle levels (500 fc)if you're using a simulation. There is a clause that rids you of the maximum levels if you "incorporate view-preserving automated shades for glare control." Finally, there is a fourth "combination" option that allows you to use any of the above to document individual compliant spaces. This could be very helpful in a lot of situations where you have a bunch of 'normal' spaces and one or two weird ones (i.e. an atrium spanning multiple floors).

EQc8.2 - Daylight and Views--Views (NC, CS, and Schools) - Nothing substantial changed here, though I just wanted to point out that Figure 3 on page 570 isn't technically correct. Every piece of the open plan office should have access to views since they are surrounded on three side by windows. The drawing indicates blind spots along every wall, which is not the case since one could just look out windows along the other wall. Nit-picky? Yes, but I can already see the arguments popping up in offices across the land!

EQc9 - Enhanced Acoustical Performance (Schools only) - This was downgraded from up to two points being offered currently to only one in the future. The lower levels of the requirements (min 35 STC between rooms and max 40 dBA background noise) are the ones that made the cut. Option 2 (about HVAC RC levels) was removed entirely.

Innovation in Design

IDc1 - Innovation in Design (NC, CS, and Schools) - Expanded to up to 5 points for NC and CS and remaining at 4 points for Schools, there is now a maximum of 3 points allowed for exemplary performance options. There are more (or perhaps just better clarified?) requirements for what constitutes 'innovation and design' eligibility.

That's All Folks!

After about ten hours invested in this review and post, two months of last-minute LEED AP exam classes, and overall dedication to LEED minutiae, I can safely say I'm going to take a LEED break. Please point out any errors or omissions from the above posts by leaving a comment... I hope this is helpful!

The First Annual Real Life LEED Index!

It's hard to believe it, but Real Life LEED just turned ONE! For those of you that don't know I'm a giant data geek, and in the spirit of the Feltron Report (Full Disclosure: the following will be nowhere near as obsessively awesome), I've decided to share a few statistics about who's been using the site that I found interesting. First, some context... all info reflects traffic from March 21, 2008 to March 21, 2009:



  • Total Unique Visitors: 37,485
  • Total Visits: 57,443
  • Total Pageviews: 115,636


This to me is the most interesting information. If you assume that visitors to this site is a proxy for LEED activity (a bit of a stretch I know), you see some interesting results. If you look at total numbers of visitors for a given location, you get what you would expect... The US, and California in particular, dominate traffic. But when you compare that to resident population of a given area (essentially LEED 'density'), some surprising results emerge...  First, the top ten countries by volume only:

  1. United States:   85.9%
  2. Canada: 3.99%
  3. United Arab Emirates: 1.79%
  4. United Kingdom: 0.87%
  5. India: 0.78%
  6. Spain: 0.52%
  7. Hong Kong: 0.47%
  8. Germany: 0.46%
  9. Mexico: 0.39%
  10. Taiwan: 0.31%

Drops off pretty quick, huh? Now let's look at the number of visits per 100,000 residents:

Real Life LEED Traffic

Dubai wins again... you always do! Hong Kong also does a fair amount of reading as well, surpassing Canada by a fair margin.  It will be interesting to see how the economy affects these numbers over the course of the next year... Couldn't care less about the UAE? Let's take a look at the state by state breakdown within the US. First, by volume alone:

  1. California: 14.85%
  2. New York: 8.33%
  3. Texas: 6.41%
  4. Illinois: 5.43%
  5. Virginia: 4.79%
  6. Florida: 4.74%
  7. Massachusetts: 3.80%
  8. Georgia: 3.73%
  9. Michigan: 3.53%
  10. Pennsylvania: 3.25%

Again, nothing surprising... the 'green' centers of the US feature prominently... but what happens when you look at visits compared to total population?

Real Life LEED Traffic - States

DC is litteraly off the charts... Their ratio of readers to 100,000 residents is over 130!  South Carolina is a distant second, and I attribute the popularity here to a combination of the Colbert Bump (he vacations nearby) and my own vanity. Clearly there is a surge in the DMV region (1, 4, and 3 respectively), and I can only hope that is not due to an army of USGBC lawyers making a case for slander against me (see this post). The biggest surprise to me is Idaho, coming in a solid 5th, followed closely by Hawaii, New York, Illinois, Colorado, and Nevada rounding out the top ten.

So that's the first amateurish attempt at defining the relative popularity of LEED with exceptionally crude and questionably accurate means. A full (and equally crude) spreadsheet with more detailed numbers can be found here. See any interesting trends that I missed? Let me know by leaving a comment!

Getting Your S(h)ite Together: Project Boundary Definitions and LEED

I'll let you figure out how to read the title (you may want to cover your children's ears for one of them), but the following post will cover some helpful practical info I've recently learned the hard way. Basically, there are a set of figures and data that must be consistent across various LEED credits. This isn't a big problem, but it's very easy for separate trades (civil, landscaping, architect, electrical) to be working from different sets of drawings with slightly different figures. If everyone finishes their documentation with different numbers, someone is going to end up doing their work over, which is a huge annoyance and waste of every one's time.

LEED Data File

Though the following may seem obvious for those working on simple projects, determining a site boundary gets much more complex once you add multiple buildings or on a nebulous site, i.e. a campus or master-planned development. Your boundary may end up changing over time, and it's really only important that these numbers are nailed down before everyone starts their final documentation, but at the same time I like to keep them updated so I can do back of napkin calculations over the course of the project to make sure we're on the right track and no nasty surprises emerge (e.g. "Oh yeah... we're going to need another 2 acres of open space"). Please note the proper use of both i.e. and e.g. in the above paragraph... I had to look up the usage to make sure I got it right!

The Reasonable Project Boundary's Impact

Some of you may be lucky enough to work on a clearly defined site with easy to understand boundaries. I have yet to be so lucky. Even the single buildings I'm working on seem to always be in a campus or master planned setting. As a result, there is no clear boundary and LEED allows you to determine a 'reasonable' one. More on that later... This is probably the most important item to define early on, as it will affect SSc2 (development density), SSc5.1 (protect habitat), SSc5.2 (open space), SSc6.1 and 6.2 (stormwater quantity and quality), SSc7.1 (heat island, non-roof), SSc8 (light pollution), and WEc1.1 and 1.2 (water efficient landscaping) calculations. Once the building is sited, it quickly becomes difficult to make changes. What makes it even more critical to determine is the fact that typically these credits are typically divided among four design team members: the architect, civil engineer, electrical engineer, and landscape architect. Even in the ideal world of total integrated design, at some point these folks are each going to be putting the finishing touches on the LEED documentation at their desk all alone. It's critical that if one party makes changes that the others are made aware and can adjust accordingly!

When Do I Need a Reasonable Project Boundary?

Again, if you have a single building on a "normal" site none of the following should apply to you. When the calculations call for volume and rate of stormwater leaving the site or allowable footcandles a 15 feet from the site boundary you're stuck with what you have. When your building is in the middle of a master planned development where your 'site' drains to retention facilities a block or two over and you're stuck with site lighting standards that run along the edge of your 'property' things get much more complex. Even though the stormwater is leaving the area around my building, it's not a drain (HA!) on the local infrastructure, and that lighting doesn't trespass on anyone, it's just to light a sidewalk that connects my building to one next door... Why should my project's rating be punished for good design that just happens to span large distances?

It's for issues such as these that the USGBC drafted the slightly helpful LEED-NC Application Guide for Multiple Buildings and On-Campus Building Projects(AGMBC), which provides (not enough) guidance on how you can mitigate these issues. Essentially, you're allowed expand your site boundary to include large-scale measures such as those mentioned above. I've written about a few other multiple buildings issues here

How Do I Determine a Reasonable Project Boundary?

This is where things get confusing. Though it's briefly mentioned in the AGMBC, it wasn't clear to me how this really works until I received some clarification from a VERY HELPFUL certification coordinator at the USGBC. This is in reference to a project where we have multiple buildings being certified within a larger masterplan:

Given that there are several buildings within one development you may choose to take the multi-building/campus approach when applying for particular credits, especially related to site issues. In that case you would have a larger campus/development site boundary and then separate buildings within that boundary. By following the AGMBC, it allows for these different boundaries (campus boundary vs. project boundary within campus) that may apply for different credits. The campus boundary must be consistent for all credits for which the campus boundary applies and project boundary must be consistent for all credits for which that boundary applies. It is up to the project team how to determine these boundaries for your particular projects whether by drainage plain, or some other means. However things such as open space and walkways may not be counted for more than one LEED building unless taking an aggregate approach.

As you can see, what we're really talking about here is TWO boundaries... one for the campus and one for the project. Before I tell you what we're doing in this regard, it's very important that I tell you that they have not yet been approved as correct by the USGBC review team at this point. I will be sure to update this post when that happens.

Upside Down Man Site

This picture is meaningless, but it looks like an upside-down man and I figured... What the hell? There's too much text in this post anyway.

We decided that instead of using the entire development as our campus boundary, the area that feeds into a set of retention ponds would mark our campus, as that completely contains the all of the buildings that are seeking certification. As such, the stormwater documentation for all buildings will be identical. On one edge we extended the boundary to include some of the lighting we are installing along road that our buildings front. If we used the stormwater boundary one or two lights (out of many) would 'trespass' onto the adjacent site, but since it's still all internal to the larger development I don't feel guilty. On the whole, it's still a responsible development. The only reason we didn't set the whole development as the campus boundary is because it would be difficult to pull complete stormwater data for everything. Our engineers were doing calculations on the area we've included already.

Our project boundaries were determined by the amount of open space needed to satisfy requirements for each building. I can hear many of you thinking about what a sham this is... that we're just setting boundaries in a point-mongering mentality. Though in a literal sense you're technically correct, it's important to note that the vast majority of the area surrounding our buildings is vegetated open space, a feat that was accomplished through the use of multi-story structured parking (at great expense to the owner) in an area that is generally characterized by large swaths of surface parking. Again, we have met the intent of the credit, and I feel that on the whole we're well within our rights to claim the space.

To get to this point took a lot of back and forth between civil engineers, electrical engineers, and the project architect. We had to set a boundary, examine it from all sides, and reset the rest to that which is the best fit. Where on a 'normal' project I would suggest that materials selection and procurement is going to be your most frustrating task, on multiple buildings projects it's clearly these site issues that get to be a hassle. We've known all along that we're doing the right thing, it's just a matter of putting it in an acceptable framework to meet the credit requirements.

Working on other projects has made me realize that how you determine these boundaries will be driven by different factors for different situations. PLEASE share your experiences with the world by leaving a comment!

LEED 2009 (and AP Exam) Update Presentation

This has been covered before in a few posts (see LEED 2009 tag), but last week I boiled all of what I know about upcoming changes, new credentialing requirements, and important implementation dates into a short presentation that some of you may find handy.

...I also now have an excuse to post this picture on the blog...

Monkeys with Fellowship status

I promise this makes sense in the presentation

Please let me know if you have any problems downloading. I'm cheap, so I'm using a free hosting service, but if people can't get the file easily or quickly I may spring for some sweet, sweet bandwidth.