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LEED V4 – Next steps in LEED Certification

LEED V4 is identified as the most significant overhaul in LEED certification to date.  It had gone through 6 public comments period from 2010 to 2013 and was approved by 86% of the USGBC body. It is a robust step forward from the 1998 pilot and its release in 2000. The USGBC is challenging industry leaders and is pushing the needle to greener building. LEED V4 is technologically stringent as it seeks alignment of design and performance through expanding commissioning and verifications as well as transparency in production of building materials. It is the next step in the evaluation to sustainable design. USGBC is looking to sift industry thinking from “Do less bad to do more good mentality” which would lead to Net Zero goals to reduce impact of buildings and development on global climate change.

LEED goals:

* Enhance individual human health and well being
* Protect and restore water resources
* Protect, enhance, restore bio-diversity and eco systems services
* Promote sustainable and regenerative material resource cycle
* Build a greener economy
* Enhance social equity, environmental justice, and community quality of life.

In V4 USGBC took these goals and assigned the highest value to the credits that would make the greatest impact to these goals. They placed the credits in priority order to help teams in this process. LEED V4 has addressed these goals and has made some of the following changes:

* Energy is given 20% of the points of certification. In 2009 ASHRAE 2007 plus a 20% increase on that had to be made, in V4 ASHRAE 2010 is to be used plus 5% increase on this standard. For projects located in NYC, ASHRAE 2010 is already a code requirement and should not be difficult to achieve as the design teams have to develop to this standard to date.

* Water efficiency is a priority and with the analysis of over 40,000 case studies USGBC has found changes that needed to be developed in this credit.  Energy consumption and domestic metering is needed. An example is they looked at the duel flushing systems and took to improvements to a one time flush system as they have found that they utilize more water. They changed the term storm water to rain water management and the need to address 95% of rainwater management to be addresses at all times of the year.

*Advanced metering credit was added to address on-going building performance and maintenance

* Plug loads are also addressed as 70% of electric use is accountable to these.

* Building product lifecycle impact categories were added. Here 20 different products have to be chosen from 5 different manufacturers that have the extraction / manufacturing / product use and end of life cycle information supplied. This is not only done for environmental impact but to also help bring smaller manufacturers into the conversation that are already manufacturing to these standards.

* A life cycle assessment credit is given 3 points where a site / building or project will lower impact on global warming and two other areas by 10%.

* Product transparency is a renewed focus and teams can get 6 points for using products that have simplified labels.  There are products that would could be found for this on sites like www.Declareproducts.com, here manufactures that have already declared the ingredients of their products can be found.

* Integrative Process credit is added to help integrate an ongoing design and evaluation process for the project to continue beyond occupancy. This brings on the integrative life cycle approach early into the discussion.

* V4 addresses lighting / new metrics / new lighting controls to a higher level.

* Acoustic design is also addressed and will have to be planed into the design process.

* Demand response is added to the energy management part of LEED. Design will need to be addressed to incorporate a demand response programs.  This is developed to encourage communication between building management and utilities.

* In IEQ where view had to be to the outside, now views are specified that it needs to be substantial views and not brick walls.

* A carbon offset credit was increased – 5 years of green power not 2 only 2 years and has to be 50% of the power.

LEED V4 includes new market sector adaptations for data centers, warehouses and distribution centers, hospitality, existing schools, existing retail and mid-rise residential projects. For more information visit USGBC website at http://www.usgbc.org/v4.