The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), developer of the LEED green-building program, has introduced the new program LEED Automation, which will streamline the LEED certification process and advance data-tracking capabilities. Developed through collaboration with leading technology companies, the program promises to propel LEED certification from a point-to-point interaction to multi-party status.
This marks the first time USGBC has opened LEED Online to third-party software developers. Third-party applications will be integrated to increase users’ business agility. Specifically, LEED Automation will automate much of the LEED documentation processes, deliver users a unified view of their LEED projects, and standardize content while distributing it across multiple technology platforms.
Mahesh Ramanujam, USGBC senior vice president of business technology transformation, says that a big part of this breakthrough comes in encouraging the community to become more open. “Today, if I went to a project member and asked for their project data, they would say, ‘It’s confidential.’” But once those members see the value addition of an open platform, there will be a shift to a transparent, interconnected web of data, one where systems can benefit from talking with one another.
“All these parties collect data, but it is not centrally available. The power of data is very important,” Ramanujam tells MHN. [It can be used] “for benchmarking purposes, finding locations of LEED buildings, finding the best practices.
“The fact that we connect and link and show the data, it is already creating a buzz,” Ramanujam says. “People are busy. Their job is not to focus on getting data in to LEED, [but on] working the LEED process, so the LEED itself should become second nature to the execution, rather than becoming a second project or additional burden.”
USGBC invested approximately $10 million on its technology platform last year, and the LEED Automation program is expected to become the area where that rubber meets the road, giving users solutions for more extended automation. “You complete the loop,” Ramanujam says, “by linking all these data elements, all these connections, all these partners, all these interactions, and create this big network.”
The program is built using Internet standards like HTTP, XML and Simple Object Access Protocol, which makes for a common language so that enhancements can be made in the future. As project teams begin to implement the program, the advantages and further possibilities will start to take shape.