It’s official: After years in the development and pilot phases, LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Retail has been approved. At press time, the U.S. Green Building Council was expected to announce an official launch of late 2010.
“Once it launches, all retailers seeking LEED certification will be required to build according to this new rating system,” said Justin Doak, founder and CEO, Ecoxera, Austin, Texas. “In the meantime, retail projects can continue to register under LEED 2009 for New Construction or LEED 2009 for Commercial Interiors.”
The new certification actually consists of two separate rating-system tracks—LEED for Retail: New Construction and Major Renovation and LEED for Retail: Commercial Interiors. The difference between the two is all based on control, according to Doak.
“New construction is for retailers that control the shell of the building and influence over the site,” he explained. “Commercial Interiors is a green benchmark for the tenant improvement market, where site or shell of building is typically out of control, so mall and lifestyle retail tenants should use this path.”
LEED for Retail was developed specifically to address the unique needs and issues of a retail facility (including supermarkets, freestanding stores, in-line mall tenants, restaurants and banks). It took many of the existing credits in other LEED ratings systems and tailored them to meet the specific needs of retail outlets. LEED for Retail captures both a building’s physical systems (design, equipment, land use, etc.) as well as its operation.
“The pilot project teams provided real market feedback on how to apply LEED for New Construction and LEED for Commercial Interiors to retail spaces,” Doak explained.
The retailers that took part in the process and achieved certification through the LEED Retail pilot program are a diverse group and include Office Depot, Kohl’s, Chipotle, Wachovia, Coldwater Creek, Safeway, Bank of America, REI, McDonald’s and Whole Foods Market, to name a few.
As far as volume certification, a process whereby the USGBC would streamline the certification process for the same building type but a different site, it is still in development.
“But essentially volume will work with any LEED platform,” Doak said.
The original USGBC Rating Sy