NCR Chapter Participates in LEED Regionalization Efforts
by Tom Mawson, Chapter Executive Director
Two representatives from the National Capital Region chapter have been participating with other representatives from chapters in the Northeast to develop a system for identifying regional LEED credits.
The LEED Regionalization goal is to enhance the flexibility of LEED and provide a more effective method of addressing the need for regional adaptation. As a first step, LEED 2009 introduces Regional Bonus Credits to increase the value of pursuing credits that address environmental areas of concern in a project's region. Lloyd Ntuk of Patton Harris Rust and Associates, and Rod Letonja of Envision worked as representatives for the National Capital Region as well as West Virginia, and their efforts generally composed three steps over the course of the past four months: 1) Environmental Concerns - This 1st step involved determining what the broad environmental issues are for our region. 2) Zone Determination - This effort involved breaking our region into zones that have similar characteristics and environmental concerns. (Population density, land use, air quality, water quality, etc.) 3) Credit Application - This step involved the selection of LEED credits that would be made available to projects and focus on the environmental concerns of that particular zone. This work was based on our practical experience, studies, reports, and coordination with the Metropolitan Washington Council on Governments. The work is ongoing and will be incorporated into the upcoming release of LEED 2009. There will be a total of six available bonus credits, of which projects can achieve a maximum of four. For example: a major renovation project in Northwest Washington DC is located in an urban zip code where combined sewer overflows are an environmental concern. The project incorporates stormwater controls that reduce the quantity of runoff to the thresholds set in the appropriate LEED rating system. This project would qualify for the base credit per the LEED Sustainable Sites requirement; and be eligible to receive a bonus credit since the stormwater system addresses a regional concern for that particular project location. Guidance and oversight for the process has been provided by the USGBC, and the task force is composed of representatives from parts of New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia.