LEEDv4.1 To Begin Beta Testing

By Scott Kriner, Green Metal Consulting

While I was attending the GreenBuild Conference and Expo in Boston last fall there was conversation just about everywhere about the potential of yet another version of LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design) in the near future. The buzz was filled with speculation, rumors, fake news and even leaked information. For a moment I thought I was in Washington, DC!

The most credible explanation was that a suite of pilot credits running in parallel with LEEDv4 were getting ready for prime time exposure, which could merge into the next major update of LEEDv4.

After Greenbuild 2017 there was little information about what was coming next for LEEDv4 but that silence was broken earlier this year with several articles on what was to be the next step in the changes to LEEDv4.

LEEDv4 had been launched just four years earlier with radical changes compared to previous changes to LEED programs. The intent was to challenge the building industry to emphasize more transparency, and sustainability while evolving to changes in technology. It took a new approach to building design, construction and operations. It had pushed practitioners to create spaces that support health and well being of occupants and the surrounding environment.

Now USGBC is unveiling their latest version: LEEDv4.1. This new iteration will roll out as a beta evaluation running concurrently with an approval process that includes public comment and balloting of the members. The first beta version will be for Operations and Maintenance, which applies to existing buildings such as Schools, Retail, Hospitality, Data Centers and Warehouses & Distribution Centers. That first wave will be followed by Building & Construction, then Homes and finally Neighborhood Development. 

LEEDv4.1 is focusing on existing buildings more than any other LEED program in the history of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).

By launching LEEDv4.1 now, it allows LEEDv4.1 to include many updated and adjusted referenced standards such as ASHRAE 189.1-2018 and IGCC, soon to be released.

It is focusing on measuring building performance. Teams will work with projects to track energy, water, waste, transportation and indoor environmental quality.

The USGBC’s President and CEO, Mahesh Ramanujam, stated,” The fact is that we now live in a very different world than we did in 2009, when LEEDv4 was first written; but we are encouraged that with LEEDv4.1 the system is updated for today’s market where so much more will be possible.”

LEEDv4.1 is not a full-version change of the rating system, but rather is what is being described as the next evolution of the rating system, hence the nomenclature of moving from LEEDv4 to LEEDv4.1 and not to go from LEEDv4 to LEEDv5.

As LEEDv4.1 rolls out it will exist on parallel tracks with LEEDv4 at least until balloting of the members begins in 2019.

It should be an interesting two years, with both versions in the marketplace at the same time.

More information is available at LEEDv4.1 O+M beta guide -

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).

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