If you think LEED certification of a building is a one-time deal, think again.
USGBC’s latest version of LEED (version 3) establishes several new changes to LEED certification. Two of those changes are particularly significant. First, USGBC now requires building owners to submit operational performance data on a recurring basis as part of the LEED certification process. Building owners must provide the data for a period of at least five years. Second, and perhaps more important, LEED v.3 gives USGBC the right to decertify projects.
According to the USGBC, building owners can comply with this new data disclosure requirements in one of three ways:
1. Recertify the project on a two-year cycle using LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance;
2. Provide energy and water usage data on an on-going basis annually; or
3. Sign a release that authorizes USGBC to access the building’s energy and water usage data directly from the building’s utility provider.
As to decertification, LEED v.3 provides that certification "may be revoked" from any LEED project upon the USGBC’s determination that a building does not comply with several minimum requirements, including environmental law and data disclosure requirements.
The impact of USGBC’s new enforcement right is unknown at this time. Indeed, USGBC has not yet decertified a project. However, one thing is clear: this new system of decertification may put your green investment at risk. Owners should have their attorneys draft contract provisions to protect against these risks during the design, construction, and post-construction stages of a project