Oct. 24, 2016
Many facility managers, energy managers and building owners aspire to certification in the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) program. On Nov. 1, the fourth version of LEED will take full effect.
It already is in the field. Initially, the registration for the previous version, LEED 2009 (which also is known as LEED v3), was set to close June 27, 2015, reports Energy Manager Today.
In 2014, the USGBC extended LEED 2009 to Oct. 31 of this year. Those dates, the organization said at the time, refer to registration of projects. The last day those projects can be submitted for certification remains the same, however: June 30, 2021. Thus, activity in LEED v4 and LEED 2009 will overlap for years.
Stellar Food for Growth posted a concise review of LEED v4. It points to four basic differences between the new certification and those that came before. It seeks to more flexibly accommodate global growth, address individual market sectors more directly, improve the eventual environmental outcomes and provide more user-friendly interfaces, the organization said. Each of these categories is elaborated upon in the piece.
Commercial Property Executive reports that there are more than 100 LEED v4 test projects and that about the same number have been certified. A story by the website said that LEED v4 will deal with 21 unique market sector issues. The key is efficiency:
LEED v4 is placing more emphasis on energy optimization. Corey Enck, LEED’s vice president of technology development, said the projects must now be at least 14 percent more energy efficient than the previous version, and 20 percent of all points will be centered on energy efficiency. Projects also must have an Energy Star score of at least 75, up from 69, he said, referring to the Environmental Protection Agency-backed rating system that promotes energy efficiency and uses an interactive tool to track buildings’ energy, water and, most recently, waste consumption.
Enck told Energy Manager Today that the new iteration of the program increases efficiency and use of renewables.
“LEED v4 raises the bar on energy and offers new solutions for achieving goals, starting with a focus on reducing energy demand through guidance related to energy usage and efficiency and then also rewarding renewables,” he said. “Specifically within the Energy and Atmosphere (CEA) credit section, LEED v4 has an increased emphasis on energy and the associated impacts, with 30 percent of all points allocated to building energy efficiency. There is also a greater focus on commissioning, by adding an option for envelope commissioning and monitoring based commissioning, as well as the benefits of smart grid through an option that rewards projects for participating in demand response programs.
LEED certification has risen from its introduction in the early 1990s to being one of the main drivers of energy efficient and environmentally sound building practices.