Latest LEED version premiers against Greenbuild backdrop

The U.S. Green Building Council has marked a turning point in its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design green building program, unveiling LEED v4 last month in Philadelphia, host city for the 2013 Greenbuild International Conference and Expo. Council officials cite among new LEED version highlights:

• Market sector adaptations including data centers, warehouses and distribution centers, hospitality, existing schools, existing retail and mid-rise residential projects.
• Time-saving support tools and resources to simplify credit submittal requirements; descriptive step-by-step reference guide materials with videos and tutorials; and, intuitive technology platform. 
Building performance management focus, affording owners better understanding of how to manage their facilities to meet full potential.
• New impact categories, from climate change, human health, water resources and biodiversity to green economy, community and natural resources.

“LEED v4 is a quantum leap,” says USGBC CEO Rick Fedrizzi. “Over the past 15 years, LEED has fundamentally revolutionized how we design, construct, operate and maintain our buildings and communities, [and] created a completely new industry of business enterprise committed to energy savings and efficiency.” 

“LEED v4, at its core, provides insight into the synergies within the building system, providing solutions for optimizing performance, and ultimately achieving better environmental, economic and social outcomes in our buildings,” adds Senior Vice President, LEED Scot Horst. “LEED v4 is the LEED of the future, where we challenge the marketplace to go further, to make the next great leap toward better, cleaner, healthier buildings where people live and work.”

In tandem with the rollout of LEED v4 and new requirements in the rating system’s Materials section, USGBC and Underwriter Laboratories’ UL Environment announced an industry-first partnership targeting increased disclosure, awareness and transparency of building product composition and manufacturing processes. The partners aim to accelerate market transformation and buildings’ overall quality and performance, beginning with creation of a joint Environmental Product Declaration. EPDs are a standardized way of quantifying the environmental impact of a product or system, and provide a credit achievement path in LEED v4.

“This partnership will help businesses, individuals and project teams better understand the products they are including in their building projects, and have greater clarity about how those products can contribute to LEED credits,” says UL Environment and Information and Insights Business Unit President Sara Greenstein.

“Buyers are demanding to know the full extent of a productʼs environmental and health impacts. Transparency into the impacts of a product at each stage of its lifecycle has become a critical driver of purchases and specifications. Since this market is still evolving, and because the quality and consistency of data can vary greatly, we are working diligently to ensure that buyers and LEED users can trust the information on which they rely is accurate and complies with the new credit requirements.”