LEED 2009: Minimum Program Requirements

With the annual Greenbuild conference quickly approaching, the US Green Building Council has now released their Minimum Program Requirements for the LEED 2009 (Version 3) Rating System. This brings a new acronym to learn (MPR – Not to be confused with OPR which stands for Owner Project Requirements) and a new set of project requirements to be met.

Is the USGBC limiting some important impacts that progressive building techniques bring to the table?

Is the USGBC limiting some important impacts that progressive building techniques bring to the table? Project Image via usgbc.org

The MPRs address topics such as Project Boundary – what must and cannot be included, Minimum area and site coverage requirements, Occupancy rates, etc. Most importantly, the new rating system is enforcing a commitment from building owners to share Actual Energy and Water use data with the USGBC and Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) for a period of 5 years after occupancy, including if ownership or tenants change.

Consultants and Designers are still evaluating what these requirements mean for projects, but there are some issues that pose significant questions toward Green Building. Some of the requirements seem to exclude some innovative technologies, including Modular construction and Design for Disassembly. We are looking further into one of the requirements that states:

“All rating systems: All LEED projects must be designed for, constructed on, and operated on a permanent location on already existing land. No building or space that is desgned to move at any point in its lifetime may pursue LEED Certification”

Design for Disassembly: Excluded from LEED?

Design for Disassembly: Excluded from LEED? Image credit: discoverslu.com

This requirement would effectively eliminate progressive projects such as the South Lake Union Discovery Center. While I can understand why the USGBC would be hesitant to certify projects that could be moved to new sites which no longer meet the prerequisites, it seems that there could be a recertification process instead of complete disqualification. Does anyone know more about this particular restriction?

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