So I'm playing around on the USGBC site as part of my study prep for the LEEDv3.0 exam, and I find the Regional Priority Credits lookup tables.
Oooh. These are the extra points your project can get by making sure to address generally good issues that the experts think need special attention in your project's location. Since I'm a "think global, act local" sort of person, I'm particularly intrigued. Let's plug in some places that I know pretty well, or am curious about, and see what needs fixing.
Fort Walton Beach, Florida. 32548. I graduated from high school here, did my internship and ran my own architectural practice here.
SSc3 - Sustainable Sites, Brownfield Redevelopment. Somebody thinks that FWB has industrial pollution...which it does, being a low-density, car-dependent, minimally-managed-until-recently sort of place, with serious military munitions testing.
SSc5.1 - Sustainable Sites, Habitat. FWB has a sound, and a beautiful bay, with lots of wildlife...but they are threatened by everyone wanting to have lawns and pools and azaleas.
WEc1 Option 2 - Water Efficient Landscaping, No Potable Water Use or Irrigation. In a place that primarily uses shallow wells that draw down the aquifer for most landscape irrigation, to keep lawns planted in nutrient-poor sand green and pretty, despite scorching solar incidence....yeah.
EAc1 28% - Optimize Energy Performance (28% Improvement Over Baseline Modeling). Most energy in FWB is used for air conditioning, and there is unfortunately NOT a culture of white roofs. Or enough attic insulation. Winter conditions are ideal for passive solar, except that buildings usually aren't designed for it. This 28% is pretty low-hanging fruit.
EAc2 13% - On-Site Renewable Energy. At a place with the solar incidence of Cairo, Egypt, this probably means solar. Which again, almost nobody has, and only five years ago I was begging the utility to not hang up on me as I re-pronounced "photo-voltaic".
WEc2 - Innovative Wastewater Technologies. Again, it's a beach, there's a huge number of pools and other tourist facilities...why aren't there waterless urinals everywhere? And rainwater cisterns? I was so impressed when I went to Australia with the rainwater collection cisterns everywhere one turned.
Just for contrast, let's try same latitude, same state, different soil condition, history, and market:
Tallahassee, Florida. 32301. I attended graduate school here, and have family living here.
SSc2 - Community Density Development. Tally has about 50,000 students, and then there's the state legislature and workers, in a fairly small city, that suffers from no natural density limits.
SS4.1 - Public Transportation. I actually know a couple who have two cars, and don't use them on a regular basis. But they are the exception. I've never ridden the bus here.
WEc2 - Innovative Wastewater Technologies. Lots of dorms, lots of restaurants...again, nice to see the toilets, urinals and showers go low-flow. Tally gets significant rainfall, so rainwater cistern design would be driven by success, rather than scarcity.
EAc1 (28%) - Optimize Energy Performance (28% Improvement Over Baseline Modeling). It's an air conditioning climate, with good passive solar potential (though still needing some humidity control at nearly all times). Many buildings are not well-insulated, and there's no culture of white roofs here, either.
EAc2 (13%) - On-Site Renewable Energy. Same latitude as Fort Walton, so sun is a great resource.
MRc5 (20%) - Regionally Produced Materials. This piques my curiosity - I know that Tally is in the middle of an agricultural area, but I wonder what other than timber is made locally.EAc4(3%/25%) - Enhanced Refrigerant Management. Well, it's an air-conditioning climate, not just for temperature, but also humidity, and there are a lot of restaurants...am I missing something?
And finally, a place I'd like to know more about, since I'd really like to move there...
Huntsville, Alabama. 35801.
SSc4 (25%) - Alternative Transportation (in general, reduce by 25%). There must be lots of single-person commuters.
SSc6 - Stormwater Design (quantity and quality). Much rain, and nowhere for it to go? Also a river basin to protect.
WEc2(20%) - Innovative Wastewater Technologies. Again, this sounds like population density, and old plumbing that needs replacement.EAc1 (75 rating/25 percentile) Optimize Energy Performance. This 'rating' seems to be from Appendix G, in ASHRAE's 90.1-2007, but I don't have that in the LEED Reference Guide. I'd like to get my hands on this, to understand it better.
EAc4(3%/25%) Enhanced Refrigerant Management. I'm wondering if every zipcode south of the Mason-Dixon line with any population density has this listed. I'd like to be more educated on the horrible things happening because we haven't been properly managing refrigerant.
IEQc2.3 - Increased Ventilation. Bit of a puzzle here, since c2 doesn't have a c2.1 or a c2.2, let alone a ~.3 showing in my copy of the LEED Reference Guide...but let's see. Is this commentary on goverment and other buildings that have no way to operate windows?
I'm really grateful that USGBC chapters have added this feature, because it's impossible for each of us to know every place intimately enough to make good design decisions about it.