U.S. Green Building Council opens six-week LEED v5 comment period

Sources: U.S. Green Building Council, Washington, D.C.; CP staff

The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design green building program developer has launched the first public comment period for its draft rating system LEED v5, written to provide “a comprehensive framework for creating sustainable, efficient, and resilient built environments that promote environmental responsibility, economic viability, and social equity.” The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED v5 spans Building Design and Construction (BD+C): New Construction or Core and Shell; Interior Design and Construction; and, Operations and Maintenance rating systems, drafts of which are posted here and open to stakeholder feedback provided here through May 20.

USGBC and LEED v5 draft authors view all new rating system credits and prerequisites as driving improvement toward three areas of impact: decarbonization, quality of life, and ecological conservation and restoration. Decarbonization entails reduction of carbon dioxide emissions from all significant sources of the greenhouse gas across a building’s life cycle: embodied, operational, refrigerants and transportation. The BD+C New Construction and Core and Shell’s Materials and Resources (MR) scorecard prerequisites include a comparison of structural, enclosure and hardscape materials’ embodied carbon impacts—typically derived from Environmental Product Declaration Global Warming Potential metrics—against thresholds for concrete, cement, steel, asphalt, glass, gypsum and insulation. Under the BD+C MR Credit: Reduce Embodied Carbon, LEED v5 offers one to six points for project teams abiding terms of four options: Whole Building Life-Cycle Assessment, Procurement of Low-Embodied Carbon Construction Materials, Environmental Product Declaration Analysis, and Track Carbon Emissions from Construction Activities.


The LEED v5 MR Credit: Reduce Embodied Carbon section’s Option 3: EPD Analysis charts points available to project teams procuring materials whose Global Warming Potential metrics match or best Tier 1, 2 or 3 thresholds. Environmental Product Declarations are the prevailing sources of GWP metrics.

Source: U.S. Green Building Council

The LEED v5 BD+C rating system charts a path for new buildings to reach near-zero carbon emissions operationally by 2050, on a decarbonized grid, and, at the Platinum level, for buildings to achieve near-zero carbon operationally and embodied carbon reductions today. For the first time, project teams will be equipped with key information to guide goal setting and project delivery, including assessment methodologies for climate resilience and carbon emissions through 2050.

“Buildings offer immediate opportunities for addressing climate change, biodiversity loss, equity, health, and so much more when they are designed, built, and operated with intent,” says U.S. Green Building Council CEO Peter Templeton. “This is the architecture behind LEED v5, which targets areas where accelerated progress is most needed while creating pathways that are accessible and applicable.”

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