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USGBC Releases Retail LEED Rating System

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has released a new retail specific rating system for LEED building certification, which was developed to help retailers better integrate sustainability into their real-estate footprint, reports the Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA).

The LEED for Retail rating system was developed with the support of nearly 100 pilot participants, including RILA members’ Delhaize America, Best Buy, Target, Staples and REI.

“Retail industry leaders recognize the powerful financial and environmental impact to be had through their sustainability activities,” says Adam Siegel, vice president of sustainability & retail operations for RILA, in a statement. “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 two LEED systems — LEED for New Construction and LEED for Commercial Interiors rating systems — with modifications to meet the needs of retail spaces.

More than 650 retail projects have already achieved LEED certification, and more than 4,000 additional retail projects have been registered and are working towards LEED certification, according to RILA.

“We’re thrilled with the USGBC’s announcement of the new LEED for Retail program,” says Lisa R. Miller, vice president of corporate development (North) & corporate responsibility (US) for Delhaize America, which operates seven banners in the U.S., including Hannaford and Food Lion. “Hannaford’s development of the world’s first Platinum LEED supermarket in Augusta, Maine, was a great learning experience and really helped to energize our company to think about how we build and operate stores in a completely new way.”

The LEED for Retail rating system was approved by 92 percent of the USGBC membership in March 2010. USGBC recently created LEED for Retail Reference Guides and a LEED Online documentation tool.

At this week’s Greenbuild 2010 conference, USGBC launched LEED Automation, a new program that is designed to streamline the LEED building certification process. This marks the first time USGBC has opened LEED Online to the software application market and third-party software developers.

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