The USGBC has announced LEED Automation, a new program that collaborates with technology companies to streamline and create capacity for the LEED certification process. Through LEED Automation, LEED Online--the online tool projects use to submit documentation for LEED certification—can now interact with third-party technology platforms. This is the first time the USGBC has opened LEED Online to the software application market and third-party software developers, and, according to the USGBC, it reflects a step in the direction of working with additional technology partners in the future.

The system works along the lines of a mobile application and will perform three key functions. It will provide automation of various LEED documentation processes; will deliver LEED project teams and LEED Online users a unified view of their LEED projects; and will standardize LEED content and distribute that content consistently across multiple technology platforms. The system is built with common Internet standards and languages such as HTTP, XML, and simply object access protocol to allow for further enhancement.

"LEED Automation takes the green building process to a new level," says Chris Smith, chief operating officer for the USGBC. "We recognized several years ago that we cannot focus only on the evolution of LEED and its continuous improvement. The technology used to administer the LEED certification process is also evolving to increase customers' business agility through improved data, information and content integration."