Text Size:

  • Increase
  • Decrease
  • Normal

Current Size: 100%

What you need to know to achieve LEED certification in 2017

July 24, 2017
Feature image: 

Are you planning to complete a LEED review this year, before Greenbuild? If so, be sure to submit for review on time. See below for application deadlines based on typical review timelines.

The following deadlines apply to all commercial rating systems (not including LEED Volume). These timelines also assume that no appeal review is necessary. Appeal reviews typically take 20–25 business days; expedited appeal reviews take about 10 business days.  

Regardless of when a deadline occurs, all project teams hoping to achieve review milestones by a certain date should inform GBCI of their specific needs. Reviewers will make every effort to accommodate reasonable requests, subject to capacity.

Deadlines to submit for review and achieve certification in 2017

Table 1. Regular Review Timeline

Application Type and Review Phase Application submitted, payment cleared Target Return Date
Certification before Greenbuild (November 8) Standard Preliminary Review July 31 (9:00 am EST) September 1 (approx.)
Standard Final Review** October 2 (9:00 am EST) November 3 (approx.)
Construction Preliminary Review July 31 (9:00 am EST) September 1 (approx.)
Construction Final Review** October 2 (9:00 am EST) November 3 (approx.)
Certification before the end of 2017* Standard Preliminary Review September 14 (9:00 am EST) October 19 (approx)
Standard Final Review** November 16 (9:00 am EST) December 22 (approx.)
Construction Preliminary Review September 14 (9:00 am EST) October 19 (approx)
Construction Final Review** November 16 (9:00 am EST) December 22 (approx.)

Table 2. Expedited Review Timeline

If you're seeking an expedited review, please see the table below and note the surcharge for the LEED Registration and Certification Fees. The expedite surcharge is in addition to the regular certification fee. The availability of expedited review timelines is based on GBCI capacity. If you are requesting an expedited review, contact GBCI at least 10 business days prior to submitting your application.

Application Type and Review Phase Application submitted, payment cleared Target Return Date
Certification before Greenbuild (November 8) Expedited Standard Preliminary Review September 26 (approx.) October 11 (approx.)
Expedited Standard Final Review** October 19 (9:00 am EST) November 3 (approx.)
Expedited Construction Preliminary Review September 26 (approx.) October 11 (approx.)
Expedited Construction Final Review** October 19 (9:00 am EST) November 3 (approx.)
Certification before the end of 2017* Expedited Standard Preliminary Review November 10 (9:00 am EST) November 29 (approx.)
Expedited Standard Final Review** December 7 (9:00 am EST) December 22 (approx.)
Expedited Construction Preliminary Review November 10 (9:00 am EST) November 29 (approx.)
Expedited Construction Final Review** December 7 (9:00 am EST) December 22 (approx.)

* These timelines include a two-business-day buffer for the Thanksgiving holiday (USGBC is closed). Additionally, USGBC is closed from Dec. 25, 2017 through Jan. 1, 2018.

** Regular review timelines include 20 business days after the preliminary review is returned for project teams to prepare clarifications and submit for final review. Expedited review timelines assume five business days for the same.

Access your project through LEED Online

Attend the annual Women in Green event at Greenbuild

July 24, 2017
Article Media Types: 
Feature image: 

Gather with green building champions, at one of our upcoming Women in Green events at Greenbuild 2017.

Greenbuild China: Women in Green Power Breakfast
October 18 from 7:30–9 a.m.
Learn more

Greenbuild India: Women in Green Power Lunch
November 3 from 1–2:30 p.m.
Learn more

Greenbuild Boston: Women in Green Power Breakfast
November 9 from 7–9 p.m.
Learn more

Women are change agents in business, in education, in health care, in technology and cutting-edge research, in service of our common defense, in government and in our homes. Without the powerful voices of women seeking change, so much progress would be stifled or delayed. Attend Women in Green to hear from groundbreaking women who will call upon attendees to speak up as individuals and as a group to achieve change in the workplace and the world.

USGBC National Capital Region presents 2017 Community Leader Awards

July 21, 2017
Feature image: 

USGBC National Capital Region announced the recipients of the 2017 Community Leader Awards during the organization’s 16th annual  A Midsummer Night’s Green  event on July 20, 2017. The event was held at the Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater in Washington, D.C.

Three awards were given to LEED projects in the National Capital Region that exemplify green building practices and principles:

  • Innovative Project of the Year—New Construction was presented to Mundo Verde Public Charter School, nominated by Studio Twenty Seven Architecture.

  • Innovative Project of the Year—Interior Design was presented to Nixon-Peabody, LLP, nominated by Perkins + Will.

  • Innovative Project of the Year—Existing Building Performance was presented to 650 Massachusetts Avenue, nominated by Sustainable Building Partners.

Innovative project of the year winners at A Midsummer Night's Green

Innovative Project of the Year, New Construction—Mundo Verde Public Charter School, nominated by Studio Twenty Seven Architecture.

Although only one winner was chosen in each of these categories, because of the strengths of the projects that applied, our judges decided to name two honorable mentions. MGM Grand National Harbor, nominated by SmithGroupJJR, was given an honorable mention in the category of Innovative Project of the Year—New Construction. American University/WAMU, nominated by AU Design and Construction, was given honorable mention in the category of Innovative Project of the Year—Interior Design.

Human capital costs typically account for 90 percent of business operating costs and most people spend 90 percent of their time indoors, so the built environment has the potential to deeply impact our greatest asset—people. The quality of indoor space design—including temperature, humidity, noise, light, space and air quality—affects health and productivity, and can have significant financial implications for employers.

This year, for the first time, USGBC National Capital Region recognized a project for advanced commitment to health and wellness in the built environment. The award for Innovative Project of the Year—Health and Wellness in the Built Environment went to the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), which has achieved both LEED and WELL Platinum certification, and was nominated by Perkins + Will and rand* construction.

Attendees at A Midsummer Night's Green

Our final category for project awards recognizes outstanding projects that either are certified under a GBCI rating system other than LEED or do not have a third-party certification. Because we had two standout projects apply in this category, our judges decided to name two winners. Innovative Project of the Year—Responsible Design was awarded to Intelligence Community Campus in Bethesda, Maryland, nominated by AECOM, and to Bunny Mellon Healing Garden, nominated by DAVIS Construction.

USGBC National Capital Region is proud to recognize inspiring individuals who are helping make sustainable communities a reality for the D.C. metro area with our Leadership Awards. Award winners were recognized in the three categories below:

  • The Award for Leadership in Government, Advocacy or Policy recognizes an individual who has worked to make real and meaningful change on the local level. This year, the award went to Patrick Kunze, GHT Limited.

  • The Award for Leadership in Health and Wellness recognizes an individual who has worked to advance awareness and implementation of standards, principles or policies that improve human health and well-being through the built environment. This year's award went to Rachel Cowen and Andrea Swiatocha, Hord Coplan Macht.

  • Last, e>very year we recognize our most energetic, engaged and supportive individual local community members with an award for Member of the Year. This year's award went to Julia Craighill, Ensight Consulting and Sarah Rentfro, Simpson Gumpertz & Heger Inc.

Our community developed the awards program in order to acknowledge outstanding accomplishments in sustainable design and construction and to celebrate individuals.

A Midsummer Night’s Green was sponsored by Above GreenGHT Limited, Sustainable Building PartnersView Dynamic GlassThe JBG CompaniesBozzutoCushman & Wakefield, DonohoeGPIGrimm and ParkerHBW ConstructionSkanskaThe WharfThe Electrical Alliance, Ernest Maier Block & BrickDPR Construction and Perkins + Will

LEED paperwork streamlined for California projects

July 21, 2017
Feature image: 

The GreenerBuilder conference on July 13 was a festive, information-packed summit full of leaders from the USGBC Northern California green building community. Attendees and speakers learned about the latest news in the green building industry at the LEED Gold Zero Net Energy Center in the Bay Area.

Industry professionals shared updates on topics in the built environment, from measuring human health in buildings and cities to triple bottom line cost benefit analysis. Experts shared new tools for resilient building design, ongoing performance tracking through Arc and resources for identifying products that comply with codes and LEED. The event was capped with lessons learned in conducting net zero energy school retrofits, examining the costs of LEED v4 in California, and gaining helpful new resources on designing for onsite water reuse.

To kick off the conference, USGBC’s President and CEO Mahesh Ramanujam announced exciting news about LEED in California: New commercial projects built to California’s robust building codes are pre-approved for significant streamlining of fundamental LEED Building Design and Construction (BD+C) requirements. Qualifying projects will be able use code compliance documentation in order to satisfy all LEED v4 B+C prerequisites and earn 6 points.

The full list of streamlined measures:

  • SS Prerequisite: Construction Activity Pollution Prevention
  • SS Credit: Light Pollution Reduction (1 Point, Option 1)
  • WE Prerequisite: Outdoor Water Use Reduction
  • WE Prerequisite: Indoor Water Use Reduction
  • WE Prerequisite: Building-Level Water Metering
  • WE Credit: Outdoor Water Use Reduction (1 Point, Option 2)
  • WE Credit: Indoor Water Use Reduction (1 Point)
  • EA Prerequisite: Fundamental Commissioning and Verification
  • EA Prerequisite: Minimum Energy Performance
  • EA Prerequisite: Building-Level Energy Metering
  • EA Prerequisite: Fundamental Refrigerant Management
  • EA Credit: Optimize Energy Performance (1 Point, Option 1)
  • MR Prerequisite: Storage and Collection of Recyclables
  • MR Prerequisite: Construction and Demolition Waste Management Planning
  • MR Credit: Construction and Demolition Waste Management (1 Point, Option 1)
  • EQ Prerequisite: Minimum Indoor Air Quality Performance
  • EQ Prerequisite: Environmental Tobacco Smoke Control
  • EQ Credit Construction Indoor Air Quality Management Plan (1 point)

An 50 additional points are within reach via LEED credits that exceed code minimums but are complementary to state requirements.

USGBC hopes to significantly streamline documentation requirements for California projects. This new approach will simultaneously reward projects throughout California for meeting the stringent statewide standards and provide a more direct entry point for LEED certification (and an incentive for more projects to exceed code minimums voluntarily).

USGBC hopes this alignment will speed uptake of deeper green strategies in more buildings in California, leading to potentially bolder code updates in the future that can be informed by data collected from LEED projects. This effort in California illustrates how a growing green building code movement can be recognized and encouraged through LEED.

See more recent news from California

2017 National Green Building Adoption Index releases data on growth

July 20, 2017
Feature image: 

Every year, a National Green Building Adoption Index is published by CBRE, in partnership with Maastricht University, to measure the growth and uptake of energy efficiency and sustainability in buildings. Other collaborators include USGBC, CBRE Research and the Institute for Market Transformation (IMT).

In 2017, the index shows that the percentage of commercial office space that has been certified as “green” or “efficient” by LEED or Energy Star certification now stands at 38 percent across 30 office markets in the United States. That has risen from less than 5 percent in 2005. According to the report, this long-term growth in certified buildings shows continued interest in energy efficiency and sustainability in the built environment. 

Other noteworthy findings:

  • The Energy Star program expanded slightly in 2016, with 10.3 percent of all commercial office buildings in the largest markets now certified, up from 9.9 percent. This represents 31.7 percent of total commercial office space, up from 29.9 percent.
  • At the end of 2016, LEED certifications represented 4.7 percent of the total number of commercial office buildings across the 30 largest U.S. office markets, up from 4.6 percent the year before.
  • Large geographic variation in the adoption of LEED and Energy Star certification remains. Counting both LEED and Energy Star certification, the top three markets for green building adoption by percentage of square footage are 1) Chicago, 2) San Francisco and 3) Atlanta, with Chicago taking the top position for the first time.

Over the past 10 years, 22 cities, the District of Columbia, two counties and two states have passed laws requiring privately owned buildings to annually benchmark their energy consumption, as well as to publish the resulting metric. The CBRE study states the evidence "suggests that these benchmarking and transparency laws may contribute to increased adoption of environmental building certification." Digging a little deeper into these policies, 20 of these policies had not reached their full phase-in of reporting by January 2016. In other words, the vast majority of polices saw new buildings reporting for the first time in 2016 or later.

The report shares that a city that enacts a benchmarking ordinance is correlated with a 9 percent increase in Energy Star and LEED-certified buildings, and a 21 percent increase in such square footage. Several cities experienced an increase in the adoption of environmental building certification after the passage of benchmarking and transparency laws.

See the interactive map of green building adoption.

Read the full report

Icehouse demonstration day shows need for new energy codes (USGBC Central Pennsylvania)

July 19, 2017
Feature image: 

Early in 2017, USGBC Central Pennsylvania embarked on an advocacy initiative unlike any other they had before. Dubbed “Icehouse Demonstration Day: Unfreeze Pennsylvania Energy Codes,” the event's goal was to raise awareness about the importance of updating our Pennsylvania energy codes, which are still stuck in 2009 International Energy Conservation Code (IECC).

An icehouse task force included the neighboring USGBC-aligned communities in Pennsylvania, the Green Building Alliance and the Delaware Valley Green Building Council. For the event itself, two small sheds were designed and constructed, one to 2009 IECC standards and the other to above-code standards, and they were placed just outside of the main Capitol rotunda in Harrisburg. An equal amount of block ice was placed inside each structure on June 5. The experiment: Which would melt first in the intense daylight of summer? 

About the codes

The IECC are a series of building codes created by the International Code Council that are updated in a three-year cycle with the intention of optimizing fossil fuel and renewable resource usage in communities all across the world. These codes have been enacted in almost all of the United States and its territories, but as individual states have the liberty to adopt the codes at their own pace, some are lagging behind others.

Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Louisiana, for example, are still using the 2009 IECC codes, while Delaware, Maryland, New York and New Jersey have moved on to higher standards. Overall, 14 states have adopted more modern energy codes than Pennsylvania for their commercial buildings, and 27 states require more modern energy codes for their residential buildings. 

According to the U.S. Department of Energy, the cost increase to construct to the 2015 IECC vs 2009 is only $1,715 for a 2400-square-foot house in climate zone 5 (the majority of Pennsylvania is in climate zone 5). The homeowner will then see a return on investment rather quickly through the resulting savings on their electricity and heating bills. 

Raising awareness, melting ice

On June 6, USGBC Central Pennsylvania held a press conference to publicly unveil the Icehouses, and all state legislators were invited. Rep. Leanne Krueger-Braneky made remarks, along with USGBC Central Pennsylvania Director Heidi Kunka, and our three major sponsors of Icehouse: Pennsylvania Housing Finance Agency, 7group and Reynolds Construction, LLC. The press conference was used as a kickoff for a green building advocacy day by various members of the three USGBC communities in Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania State Capitol

During the remainder of that day, volunteers and staff met with state legislators to discuss the need to update our building codes in Pennsylvania, as well as other related issues. During the three weeks of the Icehouse Demonstration, USGBC Central Pennsylvania representatives met with senators and representatives, as well as citizens who were  interested in the project, to promote the idea of speeding up the IECC adoption process in the state.

When the blocks of ice were placed into into the sheds on June 5, they both measured 40 inches tall. One day later, the most observable difference was the internal temperature difference between the two icehouses: The 2009 one was 10 degrees warmer than the above-code one. Throughout the rest of the experiment, the temperature difference averaged 15 degrees.

The rate of ice melt was significantly faster in the 2009 code house. At the press conference, the 2009 house measured 34 inches tall and 58 degrees, versus 34.5 inches and 48 degrees in the above-standard house. Six days later, the 2009 house's ice was at 24.5 inches and 63 degrees, versus 50 degrees and 29.5 inches of ice in the above-standard house. Two days after that, the 2009 house was simply a puddle of water, and it took another five days for the ice in the above-standard house to fully melt.

To sum up, it took 15 days at an average temperate of 84 degrees Fahrenheit for a block of ice to melt in a house in direct sunlight without any air conditioning—evidence of the advantages of high levels of insulation, adequate air sealing and triple-paned windows.

USGBC Pennsylvania installing the icehouse

The importance of new codes

Building a house above the current Pennsylvania codes is not a difficult or expensive task, only coming in $1,700 more than a code-standard house, with quick savings on your electricity and heating bills. The icehouse initiative provided a visible demonstration of the often invisible benefits of energy efficiency and the need to update our energy codes in Pennsylvania. It was the first time that USGBC Central Pennsylvania has embarked on such a massive advocacy project. We look forward to working on green building advocacy issues in the future, and hope you will join us. 

USGBC Central Pennsylvania would like to thank our Icehouse sponsors: PA Housing Finance Agency, Reynolds, 7group, Ciesco Inc., Formatech, Intertek, Klearwall, Purpose1, Stealth Insulation, Steven Winter Associates and their partners: the Delaware Valley Green Building Council and the Green Building Alliance.

Currently, the Pennsylvania government is in recess, but we encourage everyone to write to or call their senators and representatives to encourage them to oppose Senate Bill 269, which extends the IECC adoption period in Pennsylvania from 12 months to 54, at which point a whole new set of codes would have been produced. 

Contact your legislator

Register for the EDGE Technical Workshop at Greenbuild India

July 19, 2017
Feature image: 

Registration is now open for Greenbuild India. Held annually in the United States since 2002, the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo is the world’s largest conference and expo dedicated to green building. This November, the award-winning event will be held for the first time in Mumbai, India.

EDGE and resource efficiency in buildings will be front and center at Greenbuild India, where GBCI is offering its full-day EDGE Technical Workshop. This workshop helps EDGE project teams understand the EDGE standard, use the software application and navigate the certification process. It also prepares EDGE Expert candidates to take the EDGE exam. 

This is the last in-person EDGE Technical Workshop that GBCI will be offering in India this year, so register now to claim your seat.

EDGE Technical Workshop

Date: November 1, 2016, 9 a.m.–6 p.m.
GBCI continuing education credit: 8 hours
Cost: 7,500 INR (early bird price, for registrations before Sept. 8)

Please email GBCI with any questions.

Register to attend the workshop

LEED for Neighborhood Development: Pathways to certification

July 18, 2017
Feature image: 

If you have questions about the different options within LEED for Neighborhood Development, take a look at our helpful table below. A project can enter the LEED ND certification process at any point, from the early conceptual phase up until three years after project completion.

When designing a road map for your project, consider the current development status, timeline and how the different review options will align with your project goals. To capitalize on integrating strategies for early site assessments or community outreach efforts, incorporate LEED into the development process as early as possible. 

Take a look at our pathways breakdown:

LEED ND process

Get started with LEED ND

LEED Link: LEED committees

July 18, 2017
Feature image: 

Are you an innovative sustainability professional or building expert? Would you like to become more involved in LEED by volunteering that expertise?

LEED committee volunteers perform research and collaborate with industry professionals and subject matter experts to help develop, implement and revise the LEED rating systems. They are architects, planners, engineers, manufacturers, developers, educators, scientists and policy professionals who share a common goal of advancing sustainable market transformation.

Eight committees and advisory groups are currently accepting applications.

Learn more and apply to join a LEED committee

Legislative update: USGBC Hawaii

July 17, 2017
Feature image: 

2017 has been another landmark year for energy and environmental policy in the Hawaii state legislature. At the end of legislative session, a new set of bills raised the bar even higher for clean and efficient energy in buildings statewide. Also, in June, the state became the first in the union to commit to the Paris Climate Accords after the president announced his intent to withdraw the United States from the agreement.  

Legislative progress

At the close of Hawaii’s legislative session, the legislature passed a flurry of bills that keep the state on the forefront of green policy. Gov. David Ige signed HB 1578 into law, creating a task force to promote agricultural carbon sequestration and combat climate change. The legislature also passed two more bills that await signatures from the governor: HB 637, requiring building codes to be automatically updated to account for efficiency, and HB 794, establishing a Green Special Fund for the University of Hawaii. The UH Green Fund bill would support energy efficiency, renewable energy and sustainability projects to help the university system save money and educate students about sustainable construction.

It makes sense that the legislature would continue to invest because, in Hawaii, green construction is major business. Research estimates that green development in the state will account for a cumulative $5.13 billion in state GDP from 2015–2018, sustaining over 60,000 jobs. Additionally, in 2015, the state adopted a new policy establishing a 100 percent renewables portfolio standard (RPS), making it the first in the country to do so.

Cooling the schools

Governor Ige’s “Cool the Schools” campaign has also continued Hawaii’s energy efficiency commitment. The governor began his initiative last year after Hawaii experienced an unprecedented heat wave during the El Niño season, with classroom conditions growing dangerously hot. In response, Gov. Ige signed a 2016 bill appropriating $100 million to address the problem. In the year since, the Hawaii Department of Education has installed nearly 500 air conditioners in the state’s public schools—many of them powered by solar—with another 500 on the way. The state also deployed green building strategies in a further effort to lower school temperatures, installing reflective roof coatings, awnings, trees, tinted windows and solar panels.

This year, in order to expand these efforts, State Rep. Chris Lee wrote and promoted HB 957 to allow schools to borrow $46.4 million from the state green infrastructure fund, interest-free. Rep. Lee was awarded “Best of Green Schools: Policymaker” by the Center for Green Schools at USGBC in 2015, and has grown his green schools commitment in the years since. HB 957 passed unanimously through both houses of the legislature and received Gov. Ige’s signature soon after. New investment will include more solar panels and air conditioning units, but will also focus on the instillation of efficient LED lighting systems. According to the Hawaii Green Infrastructure Authority, these energy efficiency investments will save its Department of Education $114.9 million over 20 years.

USGBC Hawaii will continue to work with state and local authorities to implement these new policies and programs and to achieve a more efficient and sustainable state.

To get involved, please contact USGBC Hawaii, which has several exciting events coming up—including Build and Buy Green 2017, an event focusing on green schools, taking place October 13.


U.S. Green Building Council - Long Island Chapter
150 Motor Parkway - Suite LL80
Hauppauge, NY 11788