Commuter Connection: A New Side to LEED

Please welcome Dana Henry, longtime Grid contributor, to The Griddle. We're excited to have Dana on board; she'll be filing bi-weekly posts.

A building is not an island, and LEED ratings might soon be updated to reflect that fact. According to the Center for Neighborhood technologies, an urban sustainability think tank hired by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) to reevaluate energy efficiency ratings, a building's "greeness" must account for commuter-related emissions. Transportation makes up nearly a third of all emissions, and 25 percent of that amount is spent getting to work.

Early next year, the center will release a free online tool that combines transportation and census information to predict energy spent in commutes. The complex equation looks at modes of transport as well as miles. Buildings in dense, bike-and-walk-friendly locations will be "greener" than their suburban, business-park counterparts. So a project like the LEED-certified Comcast Center, located in a central public transportation hub, might see its efficiency scores improve.

The new calculation system could drastically alter the way energy efficiency is measured. For more, check out this Chicago Tribune report.