When is LEEDv4 required and what are the major changes?

LEEDv4 is the USGBC’s newest version of the LEED Rating System. As with each of the previous incarnations of the program, LEEDv4 brings many new changes to the program but still maintains many of the core credit strategies of the previous versions. Originally released November 2013, at the annual Greenbuild Conference, the USGBC chose to delay the mandatory adoption of date of LEEDv4 due to industry push back. Since then, projects have had the option to pursue either the 2009 version or v4. LEED v4 will be mandatory as of October 31, 2016. With only a few months away from the official day when all projects must use the v4 rating system in order to achieve certification, many are wondering: What are the new requirements for LEEDv4? and What is different about LEEDv4?

In order not to bore you with the details, we’ll stick to the major credit changes and not dive too deeply into the specifics, which you’ll be able to easily research on your own once you have a clearer idea of where to start. Many credits have been renamed or combined into new credits, we’ll just list the brand new credits for BD+C to keep it simple for now.

New Credits:

  • Integrative Design: (1 point) looks at early and collaborative project discussions and models to find opportunities for synergies between disciplines to achieve greater efficiencies throughout the project in energy and water.
  • Location and Transportation:
    • LEED for Neighborhood Development: encourages the pursuit of the LEED ND rating system and a streamlined path for pursuing Location and Transportation points.
  • Sustainable Sites:
    • Site Assessment: an early site analysis to evaluate Topography, Hydrology, Climate, Vegetation, Soils, Human use and Human health effects.
  • Water Efficiency:
    • Outdoor Water Use Reduction: PREREQUISITE – requirement for landscape water use reduction by 30% through EPA’s WaterSense Water Budget tool or no irrigation.
    • Building-Level Water Metering: PREREQUISITE – requirement for measuring whole building water use.
    • Cooling Tower Water Use: additional analysis of water sources and maximization of water cycles.
    • Water Metering: must submeter a minimum of two water end uses.
  • Energy & Atmosphere:
    • Building Level Energy Metering: PREREQUISITE – additional metering of whole building energy uses
    • Advanced Energy Metering: meter any end uses that are 10% or more of total building energy, must connect meters to BAS with data loging
    • Demand Response: (building reducing or shifting the electricity demand during peak periods in response to time-based rates or other forms of financial incentives)
      • Incorporate systems into the design to allow for demand response integration
      • Include demand response in commissioning scope
  • Materials and Resources:
    • Construction and Demolition Waste Management Planning: projects must set target percentage for waste reduction and reporting of diversion rates
    • Building Product Disclosure and Optimization: Environmental Product Declarations
      • Creates transparency of environmental life cycle impacts of products and selection of products with less environmentally harmful life cycles
      • Products must provide EPDs (Environmental Product Declaration) from manufacturer
      • Local production
    • Building Product Disclosure and Optimization: Sourcing of Raw Materials
      • Creates transparency of in sourcing of raw materials and selection of materials that are more appropriately sourced
      • Products can earn credit for manufacturers that provide information on land use practices, extraction locations and labor practices etc.
      • Local production
    • Building Product Disclosure and Optimization: Material Ingredient Reporting
      • Creates transparency in material composition and selection of products with optimized ingredients
      • Products can earn credit for meeting programs such as Health Product Declaration, Cradle2Cradle, etc.
      • Local production
      • Supply chain optimization
  • Indoor Environmental Quality:
    • Interior Lighting: Addresses lighting quality and controls requirements (from previous 2009 credit “Controllability of Systems – Lighting”)
    • Acoustic Performance: (previously available in Schools and Healtcare)
      • Room noise levels
      • Speech privacy
      • Sound isolation
      • Reverberation time
      • Paging, masking and sound reinforcement systems

Major Changes:

  • Minimum Energy Performance: ASHRAE 90.1-2010 now required – Demonstrate an improvement of 5% for new construction, 3% for major renovations, or 2% for core and shell projects in the proposed building performance rating compared with the baseline building performance rating.
  • EPDs: Environmental Product Declarations: are now required in order to earn credits as some of the major material credits in LEEDv4. The Materials Reuse, Recycled, Regional, Rapidly Renewable and Certified Wood material credits are gone and are now incorporated into parts of the three Building Product Disclosure and Optimization credits.
  1. Building Product Disclosure and Optimization: Environmental Product Declarations
  2. Building Product Disclosure and Optimization: Sourcing of Raw Material
  3. Building Product Disclosure and Optimization: Material Ingredient Reporting