USGBC Laying Foundation For Next Changes In LEED Program

By Scott Kriner, Green Metal Consulting

In 2013, the USGBC launched LEED version 4 to eventually replace LEED9. In 2016, LEEDv4 became mandatory for new projects. The change from LEED9 to LEEDv4 was significant. The new version moved away from single attributes and replaced them with systematic approaches toward credit points. LEEDv4 was also much more complex than previous versions. With the new version in place for four years, USGBC announced at the 2017 Greenbuild conference in Boston they will be fast-tracking development of a new iteration, LEEDv4.1. This iteration will take into account  the comments from several pilot programs that are now being evaluated.

USGBC strives to keep their LEED programs relevant. One way to accomplish that is to use a pilot program where feedback from users provides comments to USGBC for consideration toward LEED Credits. This process is especially used when existing credits have been found to be very difficult, if not unachievable to gain points.

A look at the LEED BD+Cv4 Credit Achievement Rates shows that the Materials & Resourses (MR) credits are relatively very low compared to other credit sections in that version of LEED.

Sometimes standards such as ASHRAE, that have been updated, need to be updated in LEEDv4.

Sometimes credits need to be more challenging by raising the bar. A recent example is an issue on climate change being considered as a new credit. The existing credit on low-emitting materials could be affected by that change.

Other reasons for Pilot Credit analysis can include format changes or consolidation of different LEED programs. For example, USGBC is considering combining the various LEED for Homes rating systems or linking LEED for Neighborhood Development with LEED for Cities/Communities

The buzz at GreenBuild was that the LEEDv4.1 iteration would be evaluated for a year before the pilot credits would be approved.

Stay tuned.

Scott Kriner is the president and founder of Green Metal Consulting Inc. He is a LEED Accredited Professional who began his career in the metal construction industry in 1981. His company is a member of the U.S. Green Building Council, the California Association of Building Energy Consultants and the Residential Energy Services Network (RESNET). Scott can be reached by email at or by phone at (610) 966-2430. You can also visit him on the web at

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