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LEED to better acknowledge historic & existing buildings

March 27, 2008

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According to the National Trust’s Preservation Nation blog, the US Green Building Council has decided to launch an interim version of LEED this year called LEED 3.0, with public comment sought before May 1st, adoption by the membership at GreenBuild in November and going into effect about Jan. 1, 2009.

According to Barbara Campagna, Graham Gund Architect of the National Trust, LEED 3.0 will adopt a new system where the credits are weighted according to Life Cycle Analysis Indicators. The amount of LEED points a building will get will be different for every building depending on its materials, their durability, etc. In many cases it may mean more points for existing buildings, but more importantly, the inherent durability and embodied energy will be much better represented, where it currently is not addressed at all.

The historic preservation community has been concerned about the present LEED point system, because current version (LEED 2.2):

1. Overlooks the impact of projects on cultural value;

2. Does not effectively consider the performance, longer service lives and embodied energy of historic materials and assemblies;

3. And is overly focused on current or future technologies, neglecting how past experience helps to determine sustainable performance.

Exciting and important news for all of us who recognize the sustainability value of existing, historic buildings. Many thanks to the National Trust and partners for working closely with USGBC on this terrific step forward!

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