New LEED update for schools

A new LEED rating system for schools changes the way education buildings are evaluated for their environmental friendliness.


Schools hoping to be certified as U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) LEED now will face more rigorous standards .

The third full update of LEED, known as LEED v3 , took effect in June 2009. The major changes made to v3 are the increase in the points scale that buildings are evaluated on to determine their LEED rating. Categories such as "water efficiency" and "energy and atmosphere" doubled in value on the new scale, and the minimum score is now 40 out of 100, compared with 26 out of 64 in LEED v2.2. In v3, to be certified for the top rating, LEED platinum, a building must earn 80 of 100 points.

In the LEED v3 checklist for schools , the USGBC breaks down the 100 possible points a school can earn in. The topics with the most available points are "optimize energy performance," where the school is awarded up to 19 points based on its energy cost savings percentage, and "onsite renewable energy," which evaluates what percent of energy the school is using is renewable and awards up to seven points based on that.

Several categories don't have an accompanying point total because they are required by the USGBC. For example, water use reduction, storage and collection of recyclables, fundamental refrigerator management, and an environmental site assessment all are required by the Council in order for a school to be awarded a LEED rating.

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