At Greenbuild International Conference and Expo, the USGBC launched two additions to its LEED green building rating system. LEED for Retail is the ninth version of the rating system. The LEED Volume Program is a new addition designed to meet certification needs to high-volume property developers.

LEED for Retail is structured to guide high-performance retail projects including apparel stores, banks, big box stores, electronics stores, and restaurants. The new LEED for Retail system comprises two rating previous piloted systems: LEED 2009 for Retail: New Construction and Major Renovations, and the LEED 2009 for Retail: Commercial Interiors Rating Systems. The system recognizes that retail environments have differentce occupancy characteristics and hours of operation, different parking and transportation considerations, and different water and energy consumption, and that these projects may be part of a larger multi-tenant retail complex.

The official launch comes after a three-year pilot program that included projects from nearly 100 national and independent retailers and franchisees such as Bank of America, Best Buy, Chipotle, L.L. Bean, McDonald's, Starbucks, Target, and Wells Fargo.

“In today’s market, savvy retailers see the value in building, designing, and constructing environments that enhance the customer experience, nurture a more productive employee base, [and save] precious resources,”  says Scot Horst, senior vice president of LEED. “LEED for Retail builds on the strengths of other commercial LEED rating systems while taking special care to address the distinct needs of retail spaces, from occupancy demands to waste streams, energy, and water use.”

For more information on the system, visit usgbc.org/leed/retail.

The LEED Volume program is a certification program that aims to streamline and speed up the LEED certification process for high-volume property owners such as national retailers, hospitality providers, and local, state, and federal governments. The goal is to enable large-scale organizational builders to earn LEED certification faster and at a lower cost than that associated with individual building reviews. The system is designed for flexibility, allowing owners to define criteria for grouping similar buildings and the prototype LEED credits they wish to pursue. The program also aims to facilitate bulk purchasing and advance ordering of materials, reduced consultancy requirements, more efficient internal processes, greater speed to market, and more precise documentation of corporate sustainability efforts.

“With a more cost-effective, streamlined process, the largest users of LEED are now able to make a larger impact on their building portfolio without compromising the technical rigor LEED has come to stand for,” Horst says. “This program enables us to move further faster to our goals of green buildings for all within a generation.”

Gina Edner, associate director of environmental sustainability for Starwood Hotels & Resorts, says, “With Volume, we were able to streamline the LEED certification process and, by extension, even our own internal design and construction processes. We now have a comprehensive LEED road map.” Starwood currently has more than 60 hotels across nine brands pursuing LEED certification.

For more information on the LEED Volume program, visit usgbc.org/leedvolume.