Summary and critique of "LEED" 2009 Green Building Design & Construction Reference Guide

Jonathan Ochshorn

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Following is my summary and critique of the Green Building Design & Construction Reference Guide, 2009 Edition. Commentary on the Reference Guide can be found in these red boxes, sometimes within each of the chapter links immediately above, but mostly in my summary and critique of the prior version: Version 2.2 NC.

1. Introduction to LEED


Maximize both "economic and environmental performance."

Claims to be "transforming the built environment."

Responds to these problems:

Consensus-based (18,000 member companies, organizations); committee based

1. Introduction

Responds to these problems:

Claims of additional benefits:

LEED has expanded beyond New Construction:

Certification: 2008, created the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) to administer registration and certification of projects.

Principles of LEED:

Balance "established practice" with "emerging concepts."

Five categories are examined:

  1. Sustainable Sites (SS)
  2. Water Efficiency (WE)
  3. Energy and Atmosphere (EA)
  4. Materials and Resources (MR)
  5. Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ)

Innovation in design (ID) is also examined (for green expertise and other issues not covered in the 5 categories).

Latest version 3 also has bonus points for addressing regional environmental issues or "priorities" (RP).

Credits and prerequisites:

Of the 110 possible points, buildings need 40 to be certified. Other ratings are given as follows:

40-49 pointscertified
50-59 pointssilver
60-79 pointsgold
80 or more pointsplatinum

Buildings also need to meet Minimum Program Requirements (MPRs).

LEED for New Construction: intended for office buildings, but also used for most other commercial or institutional buildings, or for residential/hotel construction of 4 stories or more. Can be used for major renovations (i.e, with HVAC work, envelope work, and interiors work).