Are You Ready for LEED v4?


All new projects seeking LEED certification are now required to register under LEED v4, as registrations for new LEED v2009 (aka LEED v3) projects ended October 31st. Any project registered for LEED v2009 prior to that date is under those requirements until LEED v2009 “sunsets” in 2021 and can be upgraded to LEED v4 at a later date, for free.

LEED v4 is hardly new – it has been available for new project registrations since 2013, but has not been widely adopted. Why? Simply put, it’s more stringent, as are all new editions of codes and standards. And let’s not forget, LEED is a leadership standard…that’s what the “L” stands for!

So what does this mean to you and your projects? Here are some of the highlights of LEED v4:

  1. First and foremost, LEED v4 focuses on PERFORMANCE. Older versions of LEED focused on strategies that we hoped would produce results. This version, and future versions of LEED, focuses much more on the results and performance.

  2. There are new category-less prerequisites and credits for Integrative Design Process, which include requirements for early energy modeling and water analysis during pre-design.

  3. What you previously knew as the Sustainable Sites category has been split in two: Sustainable Sites and Location and Transportation.

  4. LEED v4’s energy performance standard is ASHRAE 90.1 2010. This is about a 15-20% increase in performance requirements over LEED 2009’s 2007 edition of ASHRAE 90.1. For a given design, expect to earn 4-6 fewer points in LEED v4 than you would have in LEED v2009. But also remember that many building codes across the country already have energy code requirements that are at least as stringent as ASHRAE 90.1 2010, including Florida. The “game-changer” automatic receptacle control requirement in 90.1-2010 is now also the law in Florida (although in most other states it is not, yet).

  5. Commissioning requirements now include the building envelope and items previously found in the measurement & verification credit. Be sure to review the prerequisite and credit in detail.

  6. Forget everything you knew about the Materials & Resources credits. The section has been completely reworked and focuses on the lifecycle performance of the materials. You’ll be talking about Environmental and Health Product Declarations (EPDs and HPDs). Many product manufacturers are struggling to develop this documentation.

TLC’s sustainability team is well versed in LEED v4 and TLC’s Mark Gelfo, PE, LEED Fellow, CxA, EMPis Vice-Chair of USGBC’s Implementation Advisory Committee. We can help you and your team through this process and towards successful LEED certification!

LEED® is the preeminent program for the design, construction, maintenance and operations of high-performance green buildings.