The first of two public comment sessions recently opened on changes proposed for the U.S. Green Building Council's (USGBC) Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) will build upon a 2009 revision. The proposed changes, put together by USGBC's technical advisory committees, include three new credit categories and a variety of reworked and new credits and prerequisites. They touch each of the rating system's sections, including building design and construction, operations and maintenance, and LEED for homes. The draft revision also includes a "pilot credit library" for the first time, or a collection of credits that are being tested for possible inclusion in the final version of the revision, due out in 2012.

One of the biggest changes is a new performance credit category, addressing what has been one of the more controversial issues surrounding LEED. In 2009, when LEED was last revised, it required mandatory disclosure of energy use but did not include it in a separate section. In the revision's performance section, a newly constructed building can gain credit by installing an advanced energy metering system and committing to share energy usage data with USGBC for at least five years from the date of occupancy. Putting these types of credits in their own category highlights their importance, says Brendan Owens, VP of LEED technical development at USGBC. LEED would collect and report this data anonymously through its Building Performance Partnership.

Another significant change is the addition of an "integrated process" category. An integrated approach means that rather than having an architect give drawings to an engineer who then passes the plan to a contractor. The LEED update outlines a specific set of requirements for the process by which a building is built, requiring a certain number of team meetings and stakeholder input events.

The third new section in LEED, called "location and transportation," contains credits that had previously been elsewhere but puts new emphasis on the fact that location plays a role in determining a building's efficiency.