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LEED v4 Brings Big Changes to Building Certification

November 7, 2013 | 0 comments

USGBC’s LEED v4 is set to unveil in just a few weeks … at Greenbuild 2013 in Philadelphia. It’s bringing the biggest changes to LEED’s core requirements since the certification’s inception in 2000.

For thorough information on LEED v4, check out these guidelines from the USGBC. Here are just a few of the LEED v4 changes, and how they might affect your facilities:

  • USGBC is taking a phased approach to LEED v4, giving building owners and facilities professionals time to learn the certification’s new concepts and theories. Projects can still be registered under LEED 2009 until June 1, 2015.
  • Only buildings with an ENERGY STAR score of 75 or higher can qualify for LEED EBOM certification (up from a score of 69 in LEED 2009).
  • Building products can provide projects with a LEED point just by disclosing any information related to their impacts on environmental and health (no matter how good or bad those impacts are).
  • New prerequisites call for buildings to report total water and energy use to USGBC. More credits can be earned by implementing submetering to help recognize and implement green improvements.
  • An expanded LEED v4 Water Efficiency credit addresses the complete picture of water use. Points are available for system-specific monitoring and analysis to facilitate decreases in water use.

LEED v4 is also introducing new credits to the certification program. For example, the Demand Response credit stresses integrated building performance. Automated demand response systems can reduce a building’s energy use in response to congestion and stress signals from the power grid. By demonstrating that the building can reduce or shift energy peak load by 10% when necessary (or can provide permanent shifting of electrical loads), the building earns a LEED credit. The credit can also be earned by putting infrastructure in place to participate in demand response in the future.

The new Enhanced Indoor Air Strategies credit encompasses management strategies for monitoring indoor air quality (IAQ). Along with credits for better ventilation and a ban on smoking, LEED v4 places a premium on improved IAQ for occupants.

Another new credit asks product manufacturers to provide Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs) or third-party-verified product lifecycle assessments.

LEED v4 also requires LEED EBOM projects to recertify every five years. Ongoing data tracking will help document building progress and adherence to operational standards. Data from water and energy metering will be shared with USGBC as part of LEED v4 to encourage ongoing verification and regular performance checks.

Will you be certifying any building projects under LEED v4? Why or why not?


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