On July 2, after many months of delays, USGBC members voted to approve LEED® v4 by a margin of 86 percent. Originally dubbed LEED 2012, the name was changed to LEED v4 after controversy prompted the USGBC to postpone the vote from 2012 to 2013.
Like all versions of LEED, v4 is detailed, (the User Guide alone is nearly 40 pages). It includes criteria for everything from site selection to bike racks to lighting.
To save you some time, we highlighted the new and most notable features. Here’s a breakdown of the most significant changes in categories where our products have traditionally helped earn points.
New and Notable from LEED v4
LEED v4 includes two major developments that will be important to any building going for LEED certification. The first key change is a significant expansion in market sector. LEED v4 addresses 21 different market sector adaptations, much greater than the scant few called out in previous versions of LEED. New sectors include new and existing data centers, new and existing warehouse and distribution centers, hospitality, existing schools, existing retail and multifamily midrise.
Second, LEED v4 includes a new Integrative Process credit. In a category by itself, this credit encourages collaboration across project teams to conduct early analysis of energy and water systems to inform design.
LEED v4 also contains significant updates to the two categories where VRF zoning systems can contribute valuable points.
Changes to the Energy & Atmosphere (EA) Category include the following:
- Prerequisite: Minimum Energy Performance and Credit: Optimize Energy Performance. To meet LEED v4 requirements, all buildings must meet or exceed ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2010 (LEED 2009 required meeting ASHRAE 90.1-2007). The 2010 version of ASHRAE 90.1 calls for a 30 percent energy improvement over the 2004 standard (the 2007 standard improved on the efficiency called for in the 2004 version only by a few percentage points). This requirement will vastly increase the efficiencies of LEED v4-certified buildings.
- Prerequisite: Building-Level Energy Metering Measurement and Verification and Credit: Advanced Metering. These effectively replace the LEED 2009 Measurement and Verification credit and require each building to implement metering to monitor actual energy use.
Changes to the Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) Category include the following:
- Prerequisite: Minimum Indoor Air Quality Performance. LEED v4 includes additional requirements for outside air delivery and incorporates criteria from the LEED 2009 credit for Outdoor Air Delivery Monitoring
- Credit: Thermal Comfort. This replaces the existing Thermal Comfort – Design credit and has been updated to require meeting ASHRAE Standard 55-2010 .
The USGBC will offer education on LEED v4 this summer in the form of webinars and will unveil the full program in November at the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in Philadelphia. You can download the complete User Guide here for a comprehensive review of LEED v4.