Update: Precedence Setting LEED CIRs Reconsidered

If you participate on building projects that are seeking LEED certification, this news may come as a relief to you.  According to Marian Keeler of Simon & Associates, the United States Green Building Council (USGBC) is reconsidering its decision to stop making Credit Interpretation Requests (CIRs) public.  

I have previously described a CIR as follows:  
"To achieve LEED certification, a project must achieve a certain number of credits.  But the requirements for each credit are often open to interpretation.  To resolve this uncertainty, a technical advisory board evaluates each CIR to determine whether or not a credit should be granted.  Historically, USGBC has published these credit  interpretations to inform other builders and designers in future projects."

In June 2009, I reported that the USGBC had announced that, effective June 26, 2009, a CIR would only be applicable to the project that submitted it.  At the time, I suggested that "[w]ithout public CIRs, architects, engineers and contractors are going to have more trouble interpreting credits and determining strategies that will successfully achieve a LEED credit."

It appears that the USGBC is now reconsidering its decision and plans to implement a new CIR system:

"USGBC is currently developing a new process by which any LEED stakeholder (whether part of a registered project team or not) may submit a request or highly technical inquiry directly to USGBC. Unlike Project CIRs that are only applicable to a specific project, these inquiries will be processed and issued by USGBC and will set precedent across all applicable LEED programs.  Fees and turn-around times associated with submitting these inquiries is to be determined. More information on this process will be made available in the coming weeks."

I will reach out to the USGBC for further information.  Why do you think the USGBC is reconsidering?

Related Links:

Why Do Non-Public CIRs Mean LEEDigation? (GBLU)

CIRs and Precedence Policy (LEEDuser)

Photo credit: eddiewls

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Comments (3) Read through and enter the discussion with the form at the end
Peter Moonen - February 18, 2010 11:46 AM

This is good news. For many years, projects in Canada have been able to use 'equivalencies' for code compliance. For the most part, these are specific to a building, but they do provide an excellent opportunity for designers and contractors to stretch their capabilities and move their sector forward with innovation. I hope this has the same effect with green solutions.

Jerome Garciano - February 24, 2010 10:48 AM

CIRs are useful to advance and promote green building technology and practices. This type of information sharing is critical if the long term goal having sustainable buildings be the standard practice is achieved (which I hope USGBC would agree with). While sharing information may give away IP from a business point of view, I feel it's the cost you have to pay to be certified as "green". If you want the benefit of being "green" in the eyes of the world, you have to show the world why you should be entitled to that status.

One related thing that this whole CIR issue brings up is the quasi-public nature that the USGBC seems to be creeping toward (intentionally or not). If they were a public agency, no doubt that the CIRs would be publicly available.

Jason Kasparek - February 25, 2010 12:54 PM

USGBC's decision to stop publishing the CIRs generated huge complaints in our firm, and I imagine there was similar backlash elsewhere. Maybe the USGBC is trying to figure out a way they can bring back a very in-demand service without tying themselves down to decisions they've made before about certain credits on certain projects.

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