Question: Pat asks: We have a study group at our firm preparing to take the LEED Green Associate exam. We are researching the issue of CIRs and are getting conflicting info. We have 2 questions:

#1 – It is our understanding in Version 3.0/2009 – CIR rulings are applicable only to the project in question. One can not assume that a CIR ruling can be applied across the board to all projects. Are we correct in that thinking?

#2 – Is the database of CIRs that was available in earlier versions still available and who can access the database? Registered projects and who else?


Pat, to answer your first question, yes, that is my current understanding as well.

And the short answer to your second question is yes and no… Since the deadline for project registrations under USGBC’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for New Construction version 2.2 was last June, all new project registrations will be under the new LEED rating system, version 3 (aka LEED 2009). This also means that all new project registrations will utilize the new version of LEED Online, which must be accessed with Microsoft Internet Explorer version 6, 7 or 8, versus the old version.architecture-students-tulane-public-relations150

The Credit Interpretation Request and ruling process was established for project applicants seeking technical and administrative guidance on how LEED credits apply to their projects and vice versa. You can review the CIR customer guidelines, but note that this document is dated 2/1/07 and therefore does not include the most up to date information regarding the CIR process.

Credit Interpretation Rulings (CIRs) were available for view and citation under the previous version of LEED Online under the “Public Rulings” tab at the top of the page. Recently a new tab appeared on the existing version called “Project CIR”, which reflects the change implemented last summer, as described below.

“Effective June 26, 2009, credit interpretation requests (CIRs) submitted by any registered project will no longer be vetted by USGBC or its LEED Technical Advisory Groups. As a result, CIR rulings will now be applicable only to the project that submitted them. For LEED version 2 projects, rulings on CIRs submitted prior to June 26, 2009, will be honored until they are retired by USGBC or incorporated into general USGBC-issued project guidance, such as through errata or addenda.”

This means that now, when you get a question ‘officially’ answered, the answer will be only known to you and your project team (unless you decide to share it) and even if you do decide to share the response, the response from GBCI would not set a prescient towards other projects.

So, in the new version of LEED Online, I did a bit of searching around and it would appear that there is not a way to access the searchable database for old CIRs. Which, if you think about it, makes sense since they’re not applicable anyway.

If you’re still interested in researching previous CIRs (before June 26, 2009) for reference, you can find that CIR database on the USGBC website without registering a project at all. Just remember that these interpretations and rulings were supposed to have been incorporated into the new v3 reference guides, so technically, the CIR library wouldn’t be needed and I assume will be phased out altogether eventually.


Vineela Kasi Reddy, LEED AP BD+C

Vineela is an Architect, LEED AP BD+C and a GRIHA (Indian green building rating system) certified evaluator. She is currently working on understanding the financial implications of sustainability.

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