USGBC opens two-month comment period for LEED v4

Source: U.S. Green Building Council, Washington, D.C.

USGBC is accepting comments through December 10 on a draft of its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design Version 4 (LEED v4) rating system. The draft includes about 35 credits open for comment, and has been revised in response to feedback from previous public comment periods to further improve clarity, increase flexibility and options for project teams, and remove unsuitable requirements from previous drafts.

LEED v4 continues to push the envelope on energy efficiency, allocating nearly 20 percent of all points to optimizing energy performance over the stringent ASHRAE 90.1-2010, which would do more to help curb CO2 emissions than any LEED rating system in its 12-year history. In addition to bringing green building solutions to more market sectors, including data centers, warehouses and distribution centers, hospitality, mid-rise residential, and existing schools and retail, the next version includes more options for projects outside of the U.S., making LEED the common language for worldwide sustainability.

The LEED v4 draft further encourages innovative thinking and decision making about building materials and design. In this draft, using fewer, better materials will result in up to nine LEED points, incentivizing product manufacturers that voluntarily report about their product makeup and those who reduce the negative impacts—from extraction of raw materials through the manufacturing process.

“Engaging people is at the core of the LEED development process, and this draft reflects the thoughtful comments and recommendations we’ve received from over 21,500 stakeholders,” said Scot Horst, senior vice president, LEED, USGBC. “LEED v4 raises the expectations for what LEED project teams are being asked to deliver. We will launch the beta testing period in November, which will provide an additional opportunity to explore the new program inside and out, and help refine support tools and resource.”

When fully launched in 2013, LEED v4 will offer an improved user experience that will make the certification review and documentation process more intuitive and efficient. The simplified reporting requirements will be thoroughly refined and tested by the LEED v4 beta testing group—the first crop of projects to pursue LEED V4 certification. The beta process enables project teams to engage with a pre-ballot version of LEED v4 with guided support from USGBC.