LEED Review Frustration?

Those of us who have worked on multiple LEED projects know that one of the most frustrating parts of the LEED process is that LEED reviews of many credits are fairly subjective. This became especially clear to me a couple years back when we submitted two nearly identical submissions for two nearly identical schools and got wildly different review comments back. I suspect that these “subjective” reviews have to do primarily with two things:

  1. Some of the LEED credit language is anything but black and white and the complexity of making very diverse projects meet somewhat gray credits necessitates a little bit of uncertainty that must be navigated by the credit reviewers
  2. USGBC, and now GBCI, farms out reviews to various companies that they contract with, so you will likely get an entirely different group of reviewers with different knowledge bases and preferences from review to review.

This inconsistency in what each reviewer seems to be looking for has become a big sticking point among some projects teams. Consultants don’t like to have to address comments and requests for clarification on documentation that got through review just fine the last time they submitted it. In the last few months, though, I ave started to see a little more consistency among review comments, almost to the point of being sure the reviewers are cutting and pasting the review comments from some sort of central file. For example, I received the following review comment (word for word) on 5 separate projects for Water Efficiency Credit 1: Water Efficient Landscaping:

“Please provide a narrative explaining the temporary irrigation strategy for landscaping, including the length of time that plantings will be watered.”

I’m going to choose to take this repetition as a positive sign, a sign that GBCI is working toward greater consistency between its project review teams. Have you had any similar recent experiences?

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2 thoughts on “LEED Review Frustration?

  1. I recently submitted identical documentation (word for word and same pdf uploads) on two different LEED CI projects. On one project the credit was awarded. On the other it came back with 11 review comments. I think this LEED silliness is a passing fad and no one will remember it in ten years.

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    1. Thanks for the update on your experience- I know how frustrating it is! I agree that LEED has the potential for being left behind and forgotten if they don’t work out some of thee frustrating kinks quickly, but hopefully sustainable design considerations won’t get left behind as well!

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