"It was mostly out of frustration," McKellar says, of why he started the blog. Since becoming LEED accredited, McKellar says he found the United States Green Building Council's LEED to be very protective of its information and educational resources. His blog's goal is to provide a free, simple, and timely resource for other sustainability professionals who need to work through practical documentation issues. He's no USGBC basher though. McKellar is helping its South Carolina chapter establish a local branch in the Charleston area.
McKellar, who has a BA in architecture, also says that the amount of information available to architects on how to design sustainably dwarfs the amount of information on how to document and claim these credits for LEED. Most bluntly, this means answering questions (as posed in his first entry) like: "Sure, I know I need to know the full-time equivalent occupancy for my restaurant, and also the peak loading, but how the hell do I get those numbers?"
So far, Real Life LEED has reviewed sustainability and building industry Web sites, examined the pros and cons of certifying buildings in a complex together or separately, and sorted through the changes to the upcoming LEED 2009 revision, which will end its public comment period on June 22.
Perhaps the most significant changes to the next iteration of LEED, McKellar says, will be that the percentage of LEED points assigned to energy use will increase from 25 percent to 35 percent, and the amount assigned to transportation will increase from 7 percent to 17 percent. All these changes are based on an Environmental Protection Agency metric that measures the reduction of environmental impacts. McKellar expects that this change will make LEED more responsive to claims that it doesn’t deal with performance-based energy metrics enough. . .and that it'll likely keep his blog busy too.