In October of 2014, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced that it will allow LEED users to register projects under the LEED 2009 rating system until Oct. 31, 2016. The original date for LEED 2009 registration to close was June 27, 2015. According to USGBC, extending to October 2016 gives LEED users and members of the green building industry additional time to prepare for LEED v4, the latest version of LEED, which features increased rigor and multiple updates. While the registration date has been extended, the last day projects can submit for certification, also called the sunset date, remains the same: June 30, 2021. The decision to keep the sunset date in 2021 was voted and approved by the LEED Steering Committee.
LEED v4: Is the Industry Ready Yet?
LEED 2009 or LEED v3 is the older version of the rating system which was established by USBGC and there are several reasons for its extended life period. Namely, the new version LEED v4 which was launched in November 2013 is still waiting to be properly accepted by the international market because of its rigor updates.
As the CEO of USGBC has stated, with the launching of the new version, new goals are set which would raise the bar even higher and the building industry would have new challenges that would need to be faced and overcome. But the new updates are something that the market is still not prepared for so they have requested for some additional time for LEED v4 and the USGBC has responded to their needs. The implementation of the v4 is prolonged until October 2016. Around 50% of the LEED registrations made recently are from international LEED users so the expanded time period will be helpful for them and will provide them with enough time to move to the new version of the rating system.
Hurdles and impediments to LEED v4 implementation
The LEED references to the ASHRAE 90.1.and its newer versions make it one of the challenges that all need to face with. The ASHRAE 2010 version had newer standard which required a 30% energy improvement over the version of 2004, so the market is not acclimated to the newer standard yet as the authoring committees and designers are increasing the performance requirements even more fighting for every single kilowatt hour. ASHRAE 90.1 demands much more efficiency with every newer version, so the building must have better efficiency in every way, architecturally, better aesthetics and modified human consumption.
Having all that in mind, it is easy to note that there will be new credits and new credit documentation needed for the same. Another obstacle for the projects going for LEED v4 are the requirements for the construction materials especially the Environmental Product Declaration (EPD) and the other new concept Life Cycle Analysis (LCA).
Who needs to get upto speed with LEED v4 to successfully implement it- Designers? Engineers? Contractors?
LEED recognizes the best building strategies and practices in more than 140 countries around the world so the implementation of the new version, LEED v4, will be beneficial for all including designers, engineers, architects, real-estate brokers, project managers, building owners etc. Even though there are lots of challenges that come with the updates, all of them must be overcome for the primary goal to be achieved.
How to get ready for LEED v4
In order for some new system to be accessible to the world, it should be backed up with proper education and training as necessary. GBRI is a USGBC and AIA education provider and currently, GBRI is all set with it’s newest series of LEED v4 courses and training materials for the building industry. LEED Construction Management, LEED v4 Project Implementation, LEED v4 Exam Prep, How to videos are some of GBRI’s LEED v4 resources. For those of you who are interested in LEED v4 courses- visit the learning hub at GBRI. gbrionline.org/learning-hub
Where do you think LEED v4 is headed? Are You Ready for LEED v4? Will the updates be accepted and implemented internationally by 2016?