U.S. Green Building Council Introduces Rating System for Existing Buildings

On Oct. 25, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced the introduction of the next version of the LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System for Existing Buildings.

Titled "LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance," this version includes fewer program prerequisites, greater emphasis on facilities operations and maintenance, updated referenced standards and expanded sections on water efficiency, energy performance, building commissioning and green cleaning. These changes, while not affecting the intent of the rating system, will clarify it and amplify the operations and maintenance scope of the rating system, officials said.

"LEED is all about continuous improvement, finding new and better processes, incorporating new data and science, and we work hard to respond to the suggestions and needs of our members and of the marketplace," said Doug Gatlin, USGBC's national accounts director. "It's this commitment to continuous improvement that led to this latest version of LEED."

Gatlin noted that in response to market input, this new version of the rating system seeks to address concerns about the amount of documentation required, to clean up some ambiguous language, to streamline the prerequisites and to resolve some overlap with the LEED for new construction system.

"Existing commercial buildings in the United States account for 60 billion square feet of space. If we want to make a difference for the environment, building occupants and our bottom lines, we must get our existing building stock up to peak green performance," said USGBC Board member Tim Cole, of Forbo, a member of the Alliance for Sustainable Built Environments. "LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance is a labor of love by those of us who feel that such a roadmap is crucial in our efforts to meet that goal.

For more information, contact USGBC at http://www.usgbc.org.

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