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WASHINGTON, DC-The next generation of LEED standards–LEED 2009 or LEED v. 3 as it is sometimes called-–is heading toward the finish line. Final member balloting has been underway for close to a month and is set to end Nov. 14, at 5 PM EDT. Any industry stakeholders that wish to contribute have this week to contact the US Green Building Council here, which administers the standard-setting process and certification activities.

Introduced earlier this year as a concept, LEED 2009 will be a significant evolution of the existing rating systems for commercial buildings. It will incorporate a series of technical advancements in improving energy efficiency, reducing carbon emissions and other environmental and human health benefits. It will also incorporate regional credits–extra points that have been identified as priorities within a project’s given environmental zone–as well as a re-weighting of credits to reflect climate change and energy efficiency as priorities. The current qualification system ranges from a minimum of 26 points for certification to 69 points for Platinum status; LEED 2009, by contrast, will be a 100-point system that integrates life-cycle assessments and various sector-oriented credits into one overall system.

“As we’ve been improving LEED, we’ve been making it more complex,” said Scott Horst, chairman of the LEED Steering Committee in a teleconference with industry participants earlier this summer. “This is about a simplification of the system.” USGBC did not return a phone call to GlobeSt.com in time for publication.

The first public comment period for LEED 2009 opened in May 2008, followed by a second in late August. By Sept. 2, USGBC had received nearly 7,000 comments from members. The Technical Advisory Group reviewed the comments, incorporated changes and then passed along the revised rating system to the LEED Steering Committee. This committee approved the current incarnation of LEED 2009, and then sent it back to member ballot on Oct. 14.

Set to be released at the beginning of the year, USGBC has been prepping for LEED 2009 for several months; in the summer, for instance, it tapped 10 outside certification organizations to facilitate applications for certification to the new standard.

Along with LEED 2009′s January debut, USGBC will also be moving administration of the certification process to the Green Building Certification Institute, a non-profit organization established in 2007 with the support of USGBC. The 10 agencies will certify projects through this apparatus. They are ABS Quality Evaluations, BSI Management Systems America, Bureau Veritas North America, DNV Certification, Intertek, KEMA-Registered Quality, Lloyd’s Register Quality Assurance, NSF-International Strategic Registrations, SRI Quality System Registrar, Underwriters Laboratories-DQS.

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