LEED 2012 taking a longer view of sustainability

April 17, 2012 |
Lynne Simnick

The US Green Building Council (USGBC) is revamping the LEED rating system this year with significant changes to boost sustainability over the long haul. LEED 2012 is going through a third public comment period now, with a proposed October launch.

One notable update involves making sure that performance of key equipment and energy-saving procedures remain robust for many years after certification. There are separate sections for establishment and performance. Building owners will need to periodically perform audits and measure energy use. The new emphasis will be to ensure that LEED-certified buildings are really achieving the performance that USGBC wants.

Another change is a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) to determine environmental impacts of material usage and waste disposal. LCA, an analytical tool, is used to assess environmental impacts associated with all stages of a product’s life, including the processing of the product’s raw materials, its manufacture, its distribution, its end use, and recycling, reuse, and final disposal.

For example, a product that is beneficial for a building but requires a lot of energy in its production or cannot be recycled may be considered an environmental liability. This could open the door to another product that may appear less beneficial at first view, but is recyclable, lightweight, or have other positive impacts.


Thermal insulation for pipes can conserve water as well as energy

Cost justification for DHW piping insulation has been based on energy savings associated with reduced heat loss from piping systems. Often overlooked is the contribution of thermal insulation to conserving water. Water is routinely wasted as users wait for water at fixtures to become hot enough to use. A study to quantify the potential energy and water savings associated with typical hot water usage events will be explored at the Third International Emerging Technology Symposium by IAPMO and the World Plumbing Council. The symposium will be held May 1-2 in Bethesda, Md. Other topics to be covered:

·       Research Paves Way for High-Performing Water-Saving Spray Valves

·       Potential Health Risks from Reclaimed Water: What to Know and Avoid

·       Measuring Sustainability – Credibility and Accountability

·       Technologies for Industrial/Municipal Water Reuse

For more information, visit:



NOTE:This information is the opinion of the author/blogger and not the official position of IAPMO.

Lynne Simnick | Codes and Standards

Lynne Simnick is the Director of Code Development for the International Association of Plumbing and Mechanical Officials (IAPMO) and is responsible for the supervision and oversight of the creation and maintenance of all IAPMO codes and code supporting documents. Ms. Simnick has more than twenty-eight years experience in the plumbing industry including code development, education and training, plan review and evaluation services. Prior to joining IAPMO, Simnick worked as technical staff in engineering services, educator, inspector and plumber. She has a Bachelors of Science Degree in Education and Mechanical Engineering Technology. Simnick has authored many technical articles, participated in numerous standards committees with an expertise in code and standards development.

Ms. Simnick may be contacted at IAPMO, 909-472-4110 or email lynne.simnick@IAPMO.org

Related Blogs

Overlay Init