USGBC Launches LEED Interpretations

Green Building

USGBC Launches LEED Interpretations

Those who have been through a LEED project recognize the convenience and clarity provided by a Credit Interpretation Ruling (CIR) from the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI). Prior to LEED 2009, registered project teams could sift through an entire database of previous CIRs through the old version of LEED Online.

However, with the launch of LEED 2009 – and the new version of LEED Online – project teams could no longer consider CIRs to be precedent-setting. Put simply, in recent years LEED had become so successful that it became unfeasible for GBCI to evaluate every project for LEED certification. So, leading up to the launch of LEED 2009, GBCI started utilizing third-party Certification Bodies (CBs) to evaluate projects submitting for LEED certification. GBCI well understood the possibility that there could be some inconsistency in LEED credit interpretation across the various CBs. Thus, GBCI decided to make all new CIRs project-specific (e.g. they would no longer be precedent-setting).

Late last year, GBCI discontinued using CBs and today the USGBC has launched the beta version of a long-awaited online resource through which CIRs reviewed by GBCI could now be further scrutinized and evaluated by USGBC and, if deemed appropriate, issued as formal precedent-setting interpretations/clarifications of the LEED Rating System. That resource is called LEED Interpretations (or simply “LI”).

Considered a “soft launch,” USGBC will respond to user feedback to make sure that LI is as useful as possible. Unlike the old CIR database, one does not have to be registered with LEED Online to access LEED Interpretations. The database will update quarterly and contain all future corrections to LEED (e.g. errata), Alternative Compliance Paths (ACPs), and LEED Interpretations (GBCI-reviewed CIRs that have been evaluated and then issued by USGBC).

LEED Interpretations can be accessed at:

For further insight into LEED Interpretations, please read this great article posted by Tristan Roberts on

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