The revision, if approved by the council's 13,000 members in June, will change some of the easier strategies that builders have used to get new commercial projects LEED-certified. It also seeks to address concerns that certified buildings do not live up to their projections of reduced energy and water use. Some proposed changes have generated so much concern from the building industry that the council put off making the new version mandatory until June 2015, allowing builders to continue to use the LEED version that took effect in 2009.
"The bar is getting raised, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's harder to meet because of the way the whole industry is evolving," said Nadav Malin, president of BuildingGreen, a consulting and publishing firm that writes a LEED user's guide.
The new standards would require building operators to write a plan for running the building efficiently and to tell the building council about energy and water use for five years. Both measures aim to help buildings meet their predicted energy and water consumption. The predictions earn "points" toward LEED certification but are based on models done before construction and often underestimate how much energy and water will be used once people move in.
Buildings that fall short of their predictions will not be penalized or lose their LEED certification. The requirement for reporting energy stops short of the Energy Department's voluntary EnergyStar program, which rates a building's energy consumption annually to determine whether it deserves recognition in any year.
Building council Senior Vice President Scot Horst said the new version will include "a significant jump in the required energy efficiency."
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