The USGBC has made changes to LEED to make buildings healthier places in which to live, learn, work and play. As of Oct. 31, 2016, LEED v4 will be the only version of LEED in which to register your new project (LEED 2009 will no longer be accepted), so it’s time to brush up on what’s different about this enhanced version.
1. Adaptations for global growth
Today, LEED projects can be found in more than 150 countries and territories, representing every continent except Antarctica. According to the USGBC, it has become “a common language of best practices in buildings around the world.” This new LEED version caters to that growing global reach by being more flexible in recognizing regional context. For example, it now features regional and local equivalent standards so a project can achieve the same credit regardless of where it is located. LEED v4 also integrates metric units into all tools and resources.
2. Market sector improvements
LEED v4 expands the rating system to include more building and renovation types. The goal is to remove barriers so more facilities can participate in LEED. The expansion features 21 different market sector adaptations to address the unique needs of specific types of buildings. The new version provides solutions for the following sectors: Existing schools; Existing retail; Data centers (new and existing); Warehouses and distribution centers (new and existing); Hospitality; Mid-rise residential.
3. Improved environmental outcomes
A central question drove the development of LEED v4: “What should LEED projects accomplish?” The new version establishes seven “impact categories” or goals for LEED projects moving forward: Reverse contribution to global climate change; Enhance individual human health and wellbeing; Protect and restore water resources; Protect, enhance and restore biodiversity and ecosystem services; Promote sustainable and regenerative material resources cycles; Build a greener economy; Enhance Social Equity; Environmental Justice and Community Quality of Life. The new version also increases thresholds in energy, water, waste and indoor environmental quality to “ensure LEED v4 projects are driving the goals of green building farther than ever.”
4. More user-friendly interface
A number of the improvements in LEED v4 come in the form of its online user interface. Key updates to online elements and workflow processes are aimed at saving you time. The new LEED online portal is now easier to use, and it simplifies the requirements and process for submitting credits. This latest version also includes the option for the LEED Dynamic Plaque, which allows you to track a project’s LEED performance in real time. The platform measures building performance across five categories: energy, water, waste, transportation and human experience, and it generates a current performance score that is updated whenever new building data enters the platform.