Introducing the LEED Innovation Catalog | U.S. Green Building Council
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Posted in LEED

In addition to the LEED credit categories we’re all familiar with (Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency…you know the drill), LEED has always reserved a few points for Innovation – things that aren’t part of the rating system but are right at home in a green building certification program. Over the years we’ve seen some really intriguing (and innovative) ideas brought forward by project teams, and these ideas have earned the projects a point in LEED.

But how do we keep these ideas in LEED without changing the rating systems or diluting the number of points? In 2010 USGBC launched the LEED Pilot Credit Library to test new and innovative strategies across a variety of projects before these ideas become part of LEED. Now, four years later, some of these pilot strategies are ready for primetime. Many were incorporated into LEED v4 and are now available to project teams as part of the standard LEED rating system. Others aren’t in LEED v4, but they’ve been tested, and we think any project team should be able to use them to earn Innovation points going forward. So, we’re happy to announce the LEED Innovation Catalog – a place for project teams to find innovative strategies for use on their projects.

Where is it?

The innovation catalog resides in the LEED Credit Library, along with all of the LEED rating systems, pilot credits, credit resources, LEED interpretations, LEEDuser forums and more. Just like credit categories, you’ll find a listing for “innovation catalog” within each of the LEED rating systems for v2009 and newer.

What is in the innovation catalog?

You’ll find a few types of credits in the innovation catalog:

  1. Credits from other rating systems – We frequently accept credits from one LEED rating system for innovation credit in another. Green Cleaning from LEED for Existing Building: Operations and Maintenance is a good example – LEED BD+C projects use this credit with some regularity within the Innovation category. You will now find credits like these under BD+C and ID+C – the title and credit ID will note from which rating system the credit originated.
  2. Retired pilot credits – They had a good run as pilot credits, our project teams liked them, our committees liked them, now they are moving on to the innovation catalog. So, unlike a pilot credit, you don’t need to register for these innovation credits, you don’t need to complete a feedback survey (we already gathered a lot of feedback to get to this stage) and we may have some materials that will help you complete the credit, like a calculator or a documentation form, that will make the credit easier to complete.
  3. Historically accepted innovation strategies – There are a few strategies that have been used by project teams for years – things like green education. A few of these strategies will appear in the innovation catalog as well.

How do I use the innovation catalog?

The catalog is essentially a reference resource. You don’t need to register for these credits individually like you do with pilot credits. Instead, check the innovation catalog for ideas on what to do with your innovation credits. We’ll post additional instructions and resources under these credit entries to help you with the submittal and review process. When it comes time to complete one of your project’s IN credits, simply let us know which one you’re using and complete any documentation you might need just like a standard Innovation credit.

Happy innovating!

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Total 13 commentsLeave a comment

Director for European Market, Sinergi Integrated Building Sciences LLC
Hi, we are currently working on a LEED Italia project; i was wondering if the same rules about ID points and Innovation Catalog are applicable also with projects under this specific rating system. Thank you!
LEED Specialist, U.S. Green Building Council
Hi Francesco, generally ID strategies are applicable across rating system versions. You can check the Credit Library for more information.
BarberMcMurry architects
If my project is in v4 and I wanted to use a credit from another rating system as an innovation credit - Green Cleaning for example - does it have to be according to the same version or am I able to follow another version, say v3 - LEED 2009?
LEED Specialist, U.S. Green Building Council
Hi, Ellen. Yes, credits from one rating system are accepted for innovation credit in another, provided the same subject is not already included in the rating system you are pursuing.
Design /Quality Control/ Marketing, California TrusFrame LLC
I was wondering about eliminating and /or significant downsizing of building systems. We eliminate OSB on single story to 5 story building using a innovation product called Smart Components.
LEED Fellow, Green Building Specialist, USGBC Customer Service
Hi Eric, if your project team can demonstrate measurable, quantifiable and significant benefits from the use of a particular product or strategy, then feel free to document and submit an Innovation credit. You may want to review the credits in the Innovation Catalog, or the credits in the Pilot Credit Library ( as a resource, prior to submittal.
Architect, Owner, ChicagoGreen LLC
Batya, under what circumstance would STARS certification of a college be eligible for an ID credit on a LEED v3 BD&C project? STARS is clearly cross-supportive of sustainability in education goals, but I can't find it listed per se in the ID credit catalog. We already plan to pursue the Green Educational program ID credit and would certainly mention STARS, but given the effort requires it seems to warrant an additional point. Thanks for any feedback, John
LEED Specialist, U.S. Green Building Council
Hi John, There are many ID opportunities possible beyond those already defined. The basic requirements are outlined in the Credit Library so suggest you evaluate STARS as an opportunity. This may be submitted for review with the project or submitted as a CIR if you would rather know how it will be received before submitting the project.
Graduate Energy Engineer, Arup
I noticed that the innovation catalog doesn't exist for LEED ND: Plan v4. Will this be updated? I am assuming that projects targeting that certification can receive innovation credits from other rating systems.
How do I submit a proposal for an innovation in design credit?
Director of LEED Support, U.S. Green Building Council
The Innovation Catalog culls strategies that project teams have implemented and documented in the Innovation category of their LEED Applications. So to "submit a proposal for an innovation in design," one would implement that strategy on a project (as a member of that LEED project team) and document how it meets the intent and requirements of an Innovation credit in the LEED Application. (i.e. One cannot submit an Innovation credit separate from an active LEED Project / Application.) Hope that helps - MRS
The Elbaum Group
As of October 7, 2014 it looks like there's only one entry in the innovation catalogue for LEED BD+C: NC V4. Does the USGBC plan on adding more to this. I'm looking specifically for which credits in other V4 rating systems will apply for our projects.
Technical Director, LEED, U.S. Green Building Council
Hi Meredith - we do plan to add additional credits to the v4 Innovation Catalog in the coming months - please check back in early 2015 for more Innovation options. Of course, there are also quite a few pilot credits available to v4 projects in the meantime.

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