(May 19, 2008) Washington, DC - Today, the USGBC opened the first public comment period on LEED 2009, the next evolution of the LEED® green building certification system. LEED 2009 represents a reorganization of the existing LEED rating systems for commercial buildings, combined with a series of major technical advancements focused on improving energy efficiency, reducing carbon emissions, and addressing other environmental and human health outcomes.

"Continuing to seek the right balance between technical advancement and market transformation was a driving force behind the LEED 2009 work," explained Scot Horst, Chairman of the volunteer LEED Steering Committee, which leads the technical development of the LEED rating system. "The 'big ideas' we've proposed include transparent weightings of LEED credits so the highest-priority credits achieve the most points, a new mechanism for incorporating bioregional credits, and a more nimble framework that supports rapid response to emerging environmental and human health issues."

The LEED Green Building Rating System was developed by USGBC to drive market transformation in the building industry by defining a consensus metric for leadership in green building that forms a basis for continuous improvement. The evolution of LEED is based on technical, scientific and market-based advancements.

"When it was introduced in 2000, the LEED Green Building Rating System helped to spark a revolution that is changing the way we build and operate our offices, schools, hospitals and homes," said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO, and founding chair, USGBC. "LEED 2009 resets the bar for green building leadership because the urgency of our mission has challenged the industry to move faster and reach further."

LEED 2009 is the product of thousands of hours of volunteer time and the deep expertise generously given by representatives from every corner of the building industry who serve on the USGBC member committees and oversee the development of LEED. LEED 2009, coupled with an expanded third-party certification program and significant enhancements to LEED Online, make up a multi-faceted initiative referred to as LEED Version 3.0.

Detailed information about specific proposed technical changes to the rating system can be found in the number of background documents that accompany the public comment forms on USGBC's Web site. Further information about the expansion of the certification process and improvements to LEED Online as well as future technical improvements, including the integration of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) into LEED, will be forthcoming in late summer.

About the Public Comment Period

The public comment period is a critical part of the consensus process by which LEED is developed. During public comment, all stakeholders are invited to review all proposed improvements and offer technical or market-oriented perspectives through USGBC's Web site on the slate of changes represented by LEED 2009.

All public comments are reviewed by the USGBC volunteer committees that oversee the LEED rating system. USGBC will respond to all comments and post the comments and responses (without commenter names or organizations) to the USGBC website.

If changes to the LEED system are made as a result of comments, a 15-day second public comment period will be undertaken. The resulting draft will be sent to all USGBC member organizations for ballot prior to release. The public comment period will be open for 30 days, from May 19 through June 22, 2008, at 5 PM Pacific Time.