Every region has its own environmental issues. In arid climates, for instance, reducing the burden on local water supplies by increasing a building’s water efficiency is an important strategy. Regional Priority Credits (RPCs) encourage projects to focus on achieving the most important LEED credits for their region.
RPCs aren’t new LEED credits, instead they’re like “bonus” points for achieving existing LEED credits deemed important to your location. (Think of RPCs like extra credit points you earned on tests in high school.)
There are six Regional Priority Credits available per region and your project can achieve a max of four credits. Since many of the RPCs are credits you’d probably be going for anyway, there’s usually no extra effort (or costs to the owner) to achieve these extra points – plus every point gets you closer to certification. If you find that SSC 2 Site Selection: Development Density & Community Connectivity is one of your regional priorities, as a team you should do whatever (within reason, of course) you can to get this credit. If you achieve SSC 2, instead of getting 5 points, you’ll receive 6 points!
The best strategy is to take a look at the Regional Priority Credits for your region early in your project – preferably as soon as you learn about the project. (In an ideal world, the owner should know what the regional priority credits – and other LEED credit requirements – are for their project before they even purchase the property.)
You can find your Priority Regional Credits here: http://www.usgbc.org/DisplayPage.aspx?CMSPageID=1984
Once you’ve identified the LEED RPCs for your project, get together with your team and hash out how many RPCs you think you can achieve. Then make those credits a priority for your project. (When it comes to LEED certification, every extra point counts!)