New LEED Pricing

GBCI, the certification review organization for all LEED projects, announced last week that as of December 1st, 2016 the cost of registering and certifying LEED projects will increase. The price increase coincides with the launch of CGBI’s new technology platform called arc.

Arc is a state of the art platform that will allow any building to participate and immediately start measuring performance, make improvements and benchmark against itself. The goal of arc is to support the missions of USGBC and GBCI. The green building community is still waiting on more details on arc, but it promises to be a useful tool to help streamline benchmarking and tracking of building energy and water performance data. Arc will be fully integrated with LEED Online, and all projects (both LEED 2009 and LEED V4) will have access to the platform.

Here is a breakdown of the fee increases: Project registration for Silver, Gold, and Platinum members will increase 33%, or $300, from $900 to $1200 (Spiezle is a Silver level member of USGBC). Registration fees for organizational or non-members increase from $1200 to $1500.

Here is a representative table of fee increases for a typical split review new construction project under LEED BD+C:

OLD pricing design review:

<50,000sf:  $2,000 flat fee

50,000-500,000sf: $.04/sf

>500,000sf:  $20,000 flat fee

NEW pricing design review:

<250,000sf: $.047/sf ($2,350 min)

250,000-499,999sf: $045/sf ($11,625 min)

>500,000sf:  $.041/sf ($22,500 min)

OLD pricing construction review:

<50,000sf:  $500 flat fee

50,000-500,000sf: $.01/sf

>500,000sf: $5,000 flat fee

NEW Pricing construction review:

<250,000: $.016/sf ($775 min)

250,000-499,999sf: $0.15/sf (3,875 min)

>500,000sf: $.014/sf ($7,500 min)

It’s a little confusing because they have changed square footage thresholds. So let’s break it down another way; here is the cost to register and certify:

Building size                                                                      Price Increase

15,000sf building:             OLD – $3,400,      NEW – $4,300     +26.5%

65,000sf building:             OLD – $4,150,      NEW – $5,295     +27.5%

125,000sf building:           OLD – $7,150,      NEW – $9,075     +26.9%

400,000sf building:           OLD – $20,936,   NEW – $23,600   +12.7%

Clearly, Fee schedule increases impact smaller projects more than larger projects, and many of our projects fall below the 250,000sf threshold.

It remains to be seen how clients will react in a climate where many clients already question the cost and value of LEED certification. I am optimistic that arc will add value to the certification process and incentivize clients to continue to improve building performance. The devil though is in the details and the impact of both arc and higher fees remains to be seen.

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