Tuesday, July 2, 2013

LEED v4 Passes and Comes with Major Changes

USGBC LEED v4 green building rating systemLEED v4, the newest version of USGBC's green building rating system, was passed by USGBC members by an overwhelming majority, with 86% of members supporting the new system. Only 2/3 approval was needed overall. Producers, including contractors and builders, represent 25% of membership and 89% voted "yes." Users, making up 48% of membership had 90% vote "yes," and the General Interest category, including utilities, manufacturers, and organizations represent 26% of membership and had 77% approval.

46 countries and territories, along with the 50 states are represented in the voting pool for LEED changes. The new LEED rating system will launch in November at the Greenbuild conference in Philadelphia, PA. There are currently over 100 projects pursuing LEED v4 certification in its Beta program, and these buildings will seek review as early as this summer.

LEED v4 was open to discussion throughout this year, with the public providing input and invaluable feedback. Some of the major changes from LEED 2009 included:
  • LEED BC+C has new compliance paths for hospitality projects, data centers, warehouses, and distribution centers
  • LEED EB O+M has new compliance paths for schools, retail, data centers, warehouses, and distribution centers
  • "Location and Transportation" has been added as a new credit category
  • New prerequisite for water metering and a new credit for cooling tower water
  • Indoor Environmental Quality, Outdoor Air Delivery Monitoring, and Increased Ventilation are now one new credit called "Enhanced Indoor Air Quality Strategies." 
  • New credits for regional and reused materials including "Material Ingredient Reporting," "Avoidance of Chemicals of Concern," and "Responsible Extraction of Raw Materials." 
LEED v4 came with many more changes that can be viewed on the USGBC website. LEED v4 encourages green building and living to the whole building and products, as LEED v4 emphasizes reduction in materials used in design of building and products. The Materials and Resources section was is still controversial amongst members, with its credits being unclear and undefined still. Many supporters of LEED are against the new changes, such as chemical restrictions, and the chemical and timber industries are allying against it, believing that certain credit changes should be removed. Brendan Owens, the vice president of LEED technical development, described its members as "progressive and willing to move forward," and believes that the new LEED rating system will take LEED to the next level.