Localizing LEED

In search of greater responsiveness to local priorities, the process for identifying Regional Priority Credits is recalibrated for LEED v4.

Originally published in the November 2013 issue of Environmental Design + Construction (EDC) magazine.

One common criticism of LEED has always been the notion of taking a “one-size-fits-all” rating system and applying it to the entire building sector. If all sustainability is local, then surely LEED needed to respond to geographically distinct regional priority issues.

LEED 2009 addressed this criticism by introducing a process coined “regionalization” by which USGBC collaborates with its chapter volunteers to identify existing LEED credits that should be prioritized to address specific regional issues. The six credits identified for each region were termed Regional Priority Credits (RPC).

Chapter volunteers across the country worked together to identify various regional zones, and locations and associated priority credits were determined by ZIP code. While the use of USPS postal codes simplified the collaboration process, the demarcations of RPCs rooted in environmental impact factors were often distinguished arbitrarily by streets or governmental limits rather than appropriate boundaries based on geographic and natural borders, municipal infrastructure or socioeconomic demographics.

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