Version 3 LEED-NC Updates

LEED certification is about to get a little harder to achieve. (Photo: pnwra [CC BY 2.0/Flickr)

The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certification process is undergoing a massive transformation. Version 3 (also called LEED 2009) comes with several changes and beginning June 27, all new projects will need to register for LEED 2009. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to discuss some of the changes included in the newest version. Up first is the LEED for New Construction (LEED-NC) checklist.

The previous version of the LEED-NC checklist (v2.2) allowed for a maximum of 69 points. The LEED 2009 New Construction checklist tops out at 110 points. Projects that earn between 40 and 49 points qualify for LEED certification, Silver level certification is awarded to projects that score between 50 and 59 points, and LEED Gold is reserved for those scoring between 60 and 79 points. The ultimate in green building certification, LEED Platinum, will be awarded to the projects that score at least 80 points.

The Sustainable Sites section of the LEED-NC v3.0 checklist has a total of 26 points available while v2.2 only had 14 eligible credits. The Development Density & Community Connectivity credit went from one possible point to five possible points. Another big jump comes in the access to public transportation credit; v2.2 gave one point in this section while v3.0 allows for six points.

The Energy & Atmosphere section also has seen a big jump in available points – 17 in v2.2 to 35 in v3.0. Most of this increase is through the addition of improvement levels in the energy performance category and more options for the use of renewable energy.

In addition to the improvements in existing categories, a new section for regional priorities has been added to LEED 2009. A total of four points are available in this category and the qualifying categories differ by region. I’ll be discussing this change in more detail in a future post.