The New LEED for Retail is Set to Transmogrify the Built Environment
The LEED® for Retail rating systems will launch, at long last, on November 17th.
LEED for Retail is two new rating systems, LEED 2009 for Retail: Commercial Interiors and LEED 2009 for Retail: New Construction.
Today and prior to the launch, retail projects are registered under LEED for Commercial Interiors or LEED for New Construction. Retail projects represent over 10% of all LEED registrations, even in advance of these new industry specific rating systems. Retail is among the fastest growing sectors in LEED and with these two new rating systems it is not only expected to continue to grow, but to change completely the nature and appearance of retail stores across the country.
The U.S. Green Building Council definition of what is a retail project is quite broad: “A space or building is appropriate for LEED for Retail: New Construction or LEED for Retail: Commercial Interiors if it is dedicated to the sale of goods or commodities directly to consumers who come onto the premises for the purpose of obtaining those goods or commodities. Retail includes (but is not limited to) banking, restaurants, stores of any kind, spas, etc. This also includes direct customer service areas (e.g., a showroom) and preparation or storage areas that support customer service.”
14 billion square feet of retail
There are more than 14 billion square feet of retail space in the U.S. today spread across more than 1.1 million retail establishments. Retail space is not only renovated more frequently than other real estate, but it is also fast growing, from new leases for tenant spaces in regional malls to newly constructed free standing pad sites, presenting huge opportunities for greening.
LEED for Retail has been in the works since 2004 and experience with more than 100 pilot projects since 2006, has resulted in rating systems that address the specific differences and opportunities for retail projects. The pilots have been as diverse as large box office supply and bank branches to sporting goods and fast food.
Without risking offending owners of other pilot projects, Chipotle Mexican Grill is particularly proud that their Gurnee Mills, Illinois location was the first stand alone restaurant to achieve LEED for Retail: New Construction Pilot Platinum certification. The print media quoted a Chipotle official describing how the company was able to achieve LEED Platinum certification while incorporating practical cost neutral strategies such that they “did not incur any additional project costs.” (For those attending the Greenbuild® conference in Chicago this year, the Gurnee Mills is a short car ride from the convention and the Platinum project is worth the drive.)
After multiple rounds of public comment, the new rating systems passed the USGBC consensus body balloting with a 91% approval rate.
LEED for Retail is mandatory
Once launched, LEED for Retail will be mandatory for uses that are within the definition of retail for projects that fall within certain square foot thresholds. That is, using the LEED Online registration wizard, as square footages are entered, if less than 40% of a project by square feet measurement is retail that project is not eligible. If more than 60% of a projects by square feet is retail that project must pursue the appropriate LEED for Retail rating system. And if between 40% and 60% of a project by square feet is retail the applicant may analyze the efficacy of alternative rating systems and choose whether or not to use Retail.
The new rating systems address the differences and opportunities unique to retail projects with more than a score of major credit changes from Commercial Interiors to Retail Commercial Interiors and likewise, from New Construction to Retail New Construction. The major credit changes are similar in the two new standards and include for Retail Commercial Interiors:
Within the category of Materials & Resources there is a new prerequisite for the storage and collection of recyclables. Recognizing the great diversity of recyclables between a fast food restaurant and a sports apparel retailer, the prerequisite requires a waste stream audit to identify the top 5 recyclable waste streams and collection and storage must be provided for the top 3 indentified, in close proximity to the source of recyclable waste in both the front and back of house.
The Indoor Environmental Quality prerequisite for minimizing exposure of non-smokers to tobacco smoke, recognizes the nature of shopping centers and includes an option if the 25 foot (distance from doors and windows) requirement cannot be met due to landlord rules. Smoking must be prohibited in all outdoor areas used by the applicant for retail purposes.
The last new prerequisite is a Water Efficiency water use reduction mandate that both building water use and process water use must both meet the thresholds. For a small retailer this was likely easily satisfied in pre-retail standards, but now restaurants baselines are included for equipment from ice machines to dishwashers.
While most credits are variations of existing credits, there are a host of new credits, including new Sustainable Sites credit, providing a delivery service for purchases made from a retail establishment.
Possibly the most significant new credit is an Energy & Atmosphere credit recognizing the benefits of energy conservation through improvements to the building envelope. There are optional paths to demonstrate at least 15% improvement compared with ASHRAE 90.1.2007.
The Sustainable Sites credit encouraging bicycle commuting has been changed requiring the number of bicycle storage spaces be based on the square footage of the project. Additionally a distinction is made between employee and customer bicyclists, altering the need for showers and changing rooms (now only intended for employees).
There are new Regional Priority Credits of Retail and they are in large measure substantially the same for each Zip Code as for the existing Commercial Interiors and New Construction standards.
The details of all of the new prerequisites, credits and more will all be available in two new supplements, each about 160 pages, to the existing Commercial Interiors and New Construction reference guides. The member price when hard copies are available in November will be $70 each supplement.
The USGBC has promised a full launch on LEED Online so that projects can be registered and certified from day one. The November 17th date may vary slightly, but no doubt will be that week, during Greenbuild 2010.
LEED Volume Program
Retailers planning 25 or more new or renovated locations will want to investigate the quietly released (i.e., available since September 29, 2010, but not yet posted on the USGBC website) LEED Volume Program®. The program provides a streamlined approach through the use of prototype standards, simplifying LEED certification for multiple buildings or spaces of similar types, achieving certification faster and at a lower cost than with individual project reviews.
We can assist you
Retailers who have previously utilized the Commercial Interiors and New Construction standards will find the new rating systems a very positive step forward. Restaurants will be further incentivized with energy and water reduction standards that can now be realistically met.
The LEED for Retail rating systems will change and greatly alter the face of retail in America. And given the prevalence of shopping venues, it is not an overstatement to suggest LEED for Retail will transform our built environment.
We have the experience and skill set to provide complete representation in the green retail arena. If we can assist you please contact Stuart Kaplow.
Thank you to the USGBC staff who provided much of the information above, in advance of the launch of the LEED for Retail standards.
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