Corps of Engineers Translating LEED for International Projects

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Many federal agencies are applying the LEED rating system to buildings in the United States, but one agencies unique use of the system recently caught my attention.  The Army Corps of Engineers is attempting to modify the LEED rating system for international application: 

"Translating the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver certification into a standard for all international construction—which the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has pledged to do—may be impossible.

Creating high-performance facilities is not the issue, but holding to a LEED rating is problematic. “LEED is a very U.S.-based standard, and trying to take that and apply it overseas is difficult. But the Army mandate is ‘do it,’” says Jeanette Fiess, who represented the Corps’ LEED Sustainability Directorate of Expertise at a November 'LEED Awareness' workshop for Corps staffers in Oberammergau, Germany. The directorate, a virtual entity with experts in many Corps districts, is trying to figure out how to comply."
When I recently told someone about the Army's mandate to the Corps of Engineers, the immediate response from the individual was that other countries have LEED rating systems that can be used.  Apparently, though, applying different LEED rating systems depending on the country is too confusing: 
"Part of the problem is many countries in which the Corps builds have their own versions of LEED, and they don’t line up well enough in philosophy or detail to map from one to another. The Japanese have the Comprehensive Assessment System for Built Environment Efficiency (CASBEE), South Korea has its mandatory Green Building Certification Program, and Germany has the DGNB, or Deutsche Gesellschaft für nachhaltiges Bauen e.V, from the German Sustainable Building Council."

What do you think of the Corps of Engineers’ attempts to modify the USGBC’s LEED rating system for other countries?

Related Links:

Building To LEED-Silver May Not Survive First Encounter (ENR)

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Comments (1) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Nicholas Klank - January 18, 2010 6:49 PM

I imagine that there is a systematization that they're trying to use and keep things easy on the design end. The amount of further education, time and effort that it would take to learn additional rating systems seems like a pretty large feat. It's like Jet Blue buying a second type of jet a few years ago that then required an additional training program, training staff, time away from flying for pilots, etc. Sticking to one rating system in a way reduces cost.

However, getting American contractors and consultants to comply with American standards is hard enough. I can only imagine how hard it would be to get information and verification from different marketplaces with possibly different reporting mechanisms and levels of transparency.

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