LEED 2012 Revisited

With a fifth public comment period on the horizon, the USGBC’s Scot Horst explains the initial pushback against LEED 2012 and what led to its transformation into LEED v4.

Last spring, the design world was abuzz with grumblings of dissatisfaction over the newest iteration of the world’s most popular green rating system—and then it happened. Originally scheduled for membership balloting this past June, LEED 2012, as it was then known, had its name changed to LEED v4 and the balloting process delayed a full year until June 2013.

This was—and still is—shocking news to devotees of LEED. Since its very beginnings a decade and a half ago, we have watched it evolve from one rating system into many—sometimes painfully and not without controversy, but always, it seemed to me, with a paternal type of protectionism. LEED was our validation of the types of buildings we wanted to design, build, maintain and inhabit. It assured us that we were doing our part in protecting the planet.

And it worked. LEED certifies nearly 2 million square feet of commercial space every day, has surpassed 2 billion square feet certified in more than 130 countries, and has 7 billion square feet of registered projects in the pipeline. LEED for Homes is also racking up impressive numbers.

It hasn’t been just a success of square footage; LEED has also helped support the American economy during one of the worst downturns in our history (something the presidential candidates might want to pay attention to). “The journey to this milestone has energized our economy—funneling $554 billion annually into the U.S. economy alone—and has helped support 7.9 million jobs across the U.S.,” said U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) President, CEO and Founding Chair Rick Fedrizzi back in July.

Although LEED continues to thrive, the USGBC would not have delayed the 2012 ballot without certainty that the measure would fail to achieve the required majority of the membership vote.

Scot Horst, USGBC’s senior vice president for LEED, confirmed as much during a recent interview.

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