The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is determining if there is need for a third public comment period in the development of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for Healthcare rating system before seeking approval from its membership.

If no additional comment period is required, USGBC will send the final draft to its membership for balloting; delivery of a new rating system is expected in 2010, according to USGBC. The second public comment period closed May 18.

LEED for Healthcare is being developed to meet the unique needs of a 24-hour operational facility, including process water use related to medical equipment, rural facility locations, sensitivity to chemicals and pollutants, patient and staff health, and other issues that are unique to health care facilities.

According to USGBC, the rating system will help a diverse pool of project types achieve LEED certification, from inpatient, outpatient, assisted living and long-term care facilities to medical offices, and education and research centers. LEED for Healthcare addresses issues such as sen­sitivity to chemicals and pollutants, travel distances from parking facilities and access to natural spaces.

The LEED for Healthcare rating system represents a culmination of four years of collaboration between the Green Guide for Healthcare (GGHC) and USGBC. GGHC helped to streamline the LEED for Healthcare's development schedule by aligning with the LEED for New Construction rating system's organizational structure and by conducting public comment periods and a pilot program with more than 100 health care facilities.

During the drafting process, the GGHC and LEED for Healthcare core committees addressed the ability to achieve, certify and verify credits. The draft is at