News Brief

LEED Reference Guide

by Paladino Consulting, June 2001. U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), 1015 18th Street, NW, Suite 805, Washington, DC 20036; 202/828-7422, Paperback and downloadable PDF files, 288 pages, currently available only as part of the LEED Reference Package: $400, $250 for USGBC members, $200 for LEED workshop participants.

The USGBC has just released the final edition of its LEED™ 2.0 Reference Guide, developed with funding support from the U.S. Department of Energy as part of a comprehensive “Reference Package” to support those seeking certification under its LEED Green Building Rating System (see EBN Vol. 9, No. 6). This final version replaces an “Unofficial Draft Version” of the Reference Guide that has been in distribution since August 2000, and it represents a major improvement. The balance of the Reference Package consists largely of materials that are either available for free from the Council Web site (the Rating System itself, the Study Guide for the LEED Accreditation Exam), or are provided in a “Welcome Packet” to those who register projects for certification (a template for completing the LEED Application and spreadsheets for calculating the various credits).

The Reference Guide is no longer merely a tool for those seeking to learn their way through the Rating System; it is now a valuable reference in its own right. It features overviews on the issues behind each credit and brief case studies illustrating many of the strategies. The credit descriptions are accompanied by lists of other credits with potential synergies, and the narrative includes discussion of economic implications and societal benefits of each credit. These fact-sheet-type overviews are well written and useful.

Much of the Guide, however, is still devoted to explaining and demonstrating the calculation methods and documentation requirements for the credits, and it does so in great detail. This aspect of the Guide reflects the increasing maturity of the Rating System as a whole. Errors and oversights in the implementation of credits that existed a year ago have largely been addressed—most notably with the inclusion of a new LEED Energy Modeling Protocol to address problems with the calculation methodology required by the ASHRAE 90.1 Standard. While these LEED implementation issues are steadily improving, there are still areas that will necessarily remain rough until they can be refined in future versions of the Rating System.

Green building professionals who are not currently using LEED may have a hard time justifying the cost of the Guide, given the other high-quality resources currently available. For those actively pursuing LEED certification, however, this text is definitely a good investment.



Published September 1, 2001

(2001, September 1). LEED Reference Guide. Retrieved from

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