Posted in education on May 23, 2014 4:24 pm EDT

LEED v4: Six Key Changes Designers Need To Know

The latest version of LEED is geared to help broaden the impact of sustainable measures.











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TAGS: business, design, designers, green,


By Church Designer Staff

Since it was launched in 2000, LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) has been a catalyst. From code changes to advances in design practices, LEED’s impact has rippled throughout the architecture, engineering and construction community. The latest version—LEED v4—is changing the game again, expanding its reach into a wider variety of markets and even beyond our AEC ecosystem.

"LEED v4 is the LEED of the future, where we challenge the marketplace to go further, to make the next great leap toward better, cleaner, healthier buildings where people live and work."

—Scot Horst Senior Vice President of LEED at the USGBC

1. More Support For A Wider Variety of Building Types

LEED v4 acknowledges a much wider variety of buildings types with 21 different market sector adaptations. When developing the specializations, the US Green Building Council (USGBC) had each reviewed by market leaders who either owned, designed or operated the space type to identify the unique needs of each market. LEED v4 has added support for the following market sectors:

• existing schools

• existing retail

• data centers—both new and existing

• warehouses and distribution centers—both new and existing

• hospitality

• mid-rise residential

“The mission of LEED remains the beneficial transformation of design, construction, operations and maintenance of buildings, not just for some, but for all. To that end, a critical part of LEED v4 has been making sure that it is flexible enough to be applicable on a wide scale that is not limited by location or building type,” explains Scot Horst, Senior Vice President of LEED at the USGBC.

2. Increased Focus Beyond Opening Day

“LEED v4 is even more focused on performance outcomes than its previous versions,” explains Elaine Aye, LEED Fellow and President of Green Building Services in Portland. “Added requirements prepare the building operators for the intended operation of building systems shifting the focus from design alone to design through operations.”

For LEED v4, USGBC started by developing new impact categories:

• Reverse contribution to global climate change

• Enhance individual human health and well-being

• Protect and restore water resources

• Protect, enhance and restore biodiversity and ecosystem services

• Promote sustainable and regenerative material resources cycles

• Build a greener economy

• Enhance social equity, environmental justice, community health and quality of life

LEED v4 puts emphasis on rewarding buildings that reach and report certain performance requirements, changing the focus from “do less bad” to “do more good.”

One area this is touching is that of demand response in EA Pilot Credit 8. “Demand response encourages two-way communication between buildings and electric utilities and supports sophisticated load management on both sides of the meter,” shares Aye. Buildings can receive credit by participating in an existing demand response program or providing infrastructure to take advantage of future response programs once they become available.  continued >>