LEED 2009, the update to the Washington, D.C.-based U.S. Green Building Council’s green-building certification program, has passed the member ballot and will be introduced this year as the next major evolution of the existing LEED rating systems for commercial buildings. LEED 2009 includes a series of technical advancements focused on improving energy efficiency, reducing carbon emissions, and addressing other environmental and human-health concerns. LEED 2009 also will incorporate regional credits, which are extra points that have been identified as priorities within a project’s environmental zone.

Credits have been re-weighted and reallocated to reflect climate change and energy efficiency as urgent priorities. Process innovation in how new technical advancements are incorporated into LEED also will be introduced alongside LEED 2009. For more information, see eco-structure’s interview with Scot Horst, chair of USGBC's LEED Steering Committee, November/December 2008 issue, page 90. In other USGBC news, the organization has reaffirmed its commitment to the development of Standard 189.1 P, “Standard for the Design of High-Performance Green Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings,” which will be the first U.S. national standard developed to be used as a green-building code. Created for adoption by states, localities and other building-code jurisdictions that are ready to require a minimum level of green-building performance for all commercial buildings, 189.1 P is being developed as a Washington-based American National Standards Institute standard under the Atlanta-based American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-conditioning Engineers Inc.’s leadership, in partnership with USGBC and the Illuminating Engineering Society of North America, New York. “As green building goes mainstream, government leaders are asking for tools that set minimum standards for green building,” says Jason Hartke, director of advocacy and public policy for USGBC. “Standard 189 will be an important part of that toolkit.” For more information, visit www.usgbc.org.