Friday, July 03, 2009

Resolving the LEED Backlog

An interesting post from Chris Cheatham's Green Building Law Update:

Is the LEED Backlog Resolved?

As I mentioned in my June 24 post, starting June 26, the USGBC eliminated public CIRs in order to improve the functionality of the LEED rating system. The USGBC's Peter Templeton providedthe following explanation for eliminating the public CIRs:

Under the new LEED certification model, standards development and project certification responsibilities are divided between USGBC and GBCI respectively to improve capacity and timeliness. CIRs will be issued by certification bodies under the guidance of GBCI and will continue to fulfill their primary purpose of providing project-specific clarifications regarding the LEED requirements. An unavoidable consequence is that rulings will no longer be made by the LEED Technical Advisory Groups and, therefore, cannot be applied universally.

In short, LEED certification became so popular that the USGBC had to begin allowing certification through independent certification bodies. Vandana Singh, over at the Washington Business Journal, recently highlighted the LEED backlog that had resulted in 5 month waits for certification determinations.

The USGBC responded to the backlog by delegating certification to the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI), which will then be responsible for ten additional "certification bodies."

With that change, the council employees who touched every LEED design and construction application will turn the job over to 150 trained reviewers who will manage the process from first draft to final award for an expected 3,000 certifications this year. The affiliates foresee ramping up by an additional 50 to 75 people next year, when projections call for up to 3,600 new certification requests.

The USGBC no longer controls certification responsibilities. Instead, ten independent companies will interpret LEED credits and apply them to projects seeking certification. Since the USGBC will not directly oversee the ten companies, the USGBC could not review the CIRs. As a result, the USGBC was no longer comfortable with universal application of CIRs.

The Washington Business Journal also reported that the GBCI calculated that the LEED backlog will be wiped out by June 26.

That was last Friday! Did this happen?