Tough LEED guidelines postponed

This 800,000-square-foot industrial distribution center was built in Bethlehem for Liberty Property Trust. The project is the first industrial warehouse in the world to be pre-certified gold under the LEED v4 beta program for core and shell.

Professionals in the building and construction industries now have breathing room before new, stricter guidelines for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design designations take effect.

Professionals in the building and construction industries now have breathing room before new, stricter guidelines for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design designations take effect.

The U.S. Green Building Council originally planned to make LEED v4 the new standard for the voluntary program starting in June 2015. LEED v4 would replace the LEED 2009 standards that have been in place for about five years.

However, several industries affected by the changes spoke against the timing, saying they would not be ready to meet the demands of the new standards.

The council conceded and moved the deadline for the changeover to October 2016, giving everyone an extra 16 months to get up to speed.

The move is getting mixed reviews across the nation. In the Greater Lehigh Valley, Christa Duelberg-Kraftician, a principal of Spillman Farmer Architects in Bethlehem, said there are clearly strong feelings on the issue, including good arguments for and against the delay.

She said she understands why some were calling for the delay.

“It depends on if your client is ready for it or not,” Kraftician said. “More than ever, with version four, LEED is a team effort; you have to have everyone on board.”

Kraftician said v4 takes a more holistic look at a building’s carbon footprint, looking at products used and their origins and the life cycle of the building, versus 2009’s concentration on the construction process.

That has brought more people to the table who weren’t ready for such changes, such as building product manufacturers.

With information disclosure requirements for products, some manufacturers said they would never be able to compete in a LEED project. Others said their technology simply wouldn’t “be there” in time for them to be ready for the new standards.

Stacy Wescoe
Writer and online editor Stacy Wescoe has her finger on the pulse of the business community in the Greater Lehigh Valley and keeps you up-to-date with technology and trends, plus what coworkers and competitors are talking about around the water cooler — and on social media. She can be reached at stacyw@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 4104. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.

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