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The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has released a new retail-specific rating system for LEED building certification. The LEED for Retail rating system was developed with the support of nearly 100 pilot participants, including members of the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA) such as Delhaize America, Best Buy, Target, Staples and REI. The program will enable retailers to better integrate sustainability into their real estate footprint, according to the Arlington, Va.-based trade group.
“Retail industry leaders recognize the powerful financial and environmental impact to be had through their sustainability activities,” said Adam Siegel, VP of sustainability and retail operations for RILA. “The increasing emphasis on building LEED is emblematic of the industry’s expanding and ever-evolving sustainability efforts.”
The new retail rating system builds on the long-established LEED for New Construction and LEED for Commercial Interiors rating systems, with adjustments and modifications made to accommodate the distinct needs of retail space. Key considerations include occupancy, waste streams, energy consumption and water use, said Scot Horst, SVP of LEED.
As natural resources grow more precious and environmental concerns become more immediate, many retail organizations are working to ensure their actions are part of the solution that consumers and governments are demanding. Building to LEED criteria -- with its rigorous standards, and requirements for precise documentation -- enables retailers to tangibly quantify the results of their efforts, RILA noted. Third-party inspection verifies building performance across relevant metrics and adds credibility to green building achievements.
More than 650 retail projects have already achieved LEED certification, and more than 4,000 additional projects have been registered and are working towards LEED certification.
The LEED for Retail rating system was voted on and approved by 92 percent of USGBC’s membership in March 2010. The Washington-based council recently created LEED for Retail reference guides and a LEED online documentation tool, both of which are available at www.usgbc.org/leed/retail.