LEED’s transition from Version 2.2 to Version 3
Here at Fox Architects we are often asked to describe how LEED has changed from the earlier version 2.2 to version 3. The majority of changes can be placed in one of 3 categories:
LEED is placing more emphasis on reducing fossil fuel use
LEED is placing more emphasis on water consumption
LEED is placing less emphasis on Indoor Air Quality and Materials and Resources credits.
The number of available points has increased from 69 to 110 – meaning of the point totals stayed the same each point would increase by 1.59 percent. Simply put, if the point totals stay the same as version 2.2, the credit has been de-emphasized. If they double, triple etc, they are emphasizing those points.
To demonstrate – the following graph shows a line by line comparison from version 2.2 to version 3. Note that the number of points given for Development Density and Alternative Transportation have increased 5 to 6 fold! These points encourage you to build in already-developed urban areas with easy access to public transportation. This means more walking, taking the bus or light rail – less sprawl, less burden placed on building new infrastructure.
They have also increased the number of points 2 to 3 fold for fuel efficient vehicles and watching your parking capacity (providing only the spaces needed). Development Density and Alternative Transportation credits go hand-in-hand. If your site selection doesn’t comply, you have lost out on one quarter of the points required to be certified, just with these 2 credits!
There is also a greater emphasis on water conservation, as noted by the following graph:
The water use prerequisite has become tougher in version 3, but you have quadruple the credits for no potable water use or irrigation. These credit totals doubles, indicating greater emphasis on water conservation. As some have said “Water may be the next Oil”
LEED has also tripled the points available for the Measurement and Verification points:
This makes sense, since LEED is now requiring that whole building energy usage data be shared with the Green Building Certification Institute for a period of 5 years after certification (new in version 3)
Optimized Energy points stay relatively the same from version 3 – the totals doubled, but compliance is harder:
LEED has also included some points called “Regional Priority”. These credits are based upon your zip code and are intended to address the specific environmental issues of your project’s site. Basically, if you pick up a credit specified as a “regional priority” for your locale, you gain double the credits. Unfortunately, these credits are currently only available to projects located within the United States.
As LEED continues to mature, we expect to see a continued emphasis on reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and sprawl.