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Green Building Report: New LEED, Big Changes

Part 1: LEED v4 Requires A New Facility Management Approach To LEED

Part 2: LEED v4: How Energy And Atmosphere, Materials And Resources And Indoor Environmental Quality Requirements Have Changed

Part 3: Lessons Learned From A LEED v4 Beta Project

Part 4: USGBC Releases Top 10 States For LEED


LEED v4: How Energy And Atmosphere, Materials And Resources And Indoor Environmental Quality Requirements Have Changed

By Patrick Leonard and Megan Snyder - March 2014 - Green


In LEED v4, changes in the energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality requirements have led to more stringent requirements for earning those credits.

3. Energy & Atmosphere

As with LEED 2009, which was the last iteration of LEED, all strategies and technologies that reduce a project's energy cost are awarded credit in the Energy and Atmosphere credit category.

  • Whole-project energy metering is required, which again links to monitoring and managing building performance over time. Submetering energy demand and usage with logging at one-hour intervals can capture additional points via Advanced Energy Metering.
  • Project energy performance is compared to an ASHRAE 90.1-2010 baseline building, which is an average of 18 percent more efficient than the LEED 2009 baseline of ASHRAE 90.1-2007, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. However, the percentage energy cost savings required to achieve points is lower than for LEED 2009 rating systems.
  • For ID+C, Optimize Energy Performance has been weighted to encourage a performance-based approach. Over 50 percent more points are available for projects that use energy modeling versus a prescriptive path. Interiors projects can now also earn points for being located in a building with a high-performance envelope or mechanical system.
  • As a consequence of the requirements for whole building energy and water metering, the Measurement & Verification credit has been replaced by an expanded Enhanced Commissioning credit that requires ongoing commissioning and performance verification, with an option for monitoring-based commissioning rather than purely a checklist-based warranty-end tune up.
  • LEED for Retail now requires commercial refrigeration equipment to comply with refrigerant charge limits for HFCs to earn points for Enhanced Refrigerant Management. Looking towards operations, the credit also requires a commitment to leak testing aligned with EPA's GreenChill certification.
  • Participating in or providing infrastructure for automated demand response may earn points under Demand Response (DR). A version of this credit was previously awarded as an Innovation in Design strategy. The change recognizes that DR programs are increasing across the U.S.

4. Materials & Resources

Interestingly, the USGBC stakeholder group with the highest percentage approval rate for LEED v4 was producers (primarily product manufacturers) who, at first pass, are arguably the group most impacted by changes in the rating system. Under Materials and Resources, the combination of new credit vocabulary, new credits and a cap on the contributions from structure and enclosure materials in cost-based calculations will make "planning the plan" even more important.

  • Alternate daily cover (ADC) no longer counts as waste diverted from landfill, which may make 75 percent construction waste diversion more difficult to achieve — especially for projects that include significant demolition waste. Contractors will need to plan ahead to understand how their activities on site link to regionally available waste management options.
  • Individual credits for recycled content, regional materials and certified wood are eliminated in LEED v4. Environmental Product Declarations, Cradle to Cradle certification, and Health Product Declarations from manufacturers or via third-party testing and certification houses will be required to document a number of credits instead.
  • Building Product Disclosure and Optimization credits have options to achieve points based on the cost or quantity of compliant products.

5. Indoor Environmental Quality

Under LEED v4, USGBC has attempted to reward design teams that provide a superior indoor environment across the spectrum of human health and comfort.

  • Minimum Indoor Air Quality Performance requires outdoor air intake monitoring in addition to minimum outdoor air compliance, building on the measured-performance theme evident throughout the rating system.
  • Low-emitting materials credits earned via product selections are combined into a single LEED v4 credit, and projects must demonstrate compliance for at least two product categories to earn points. Designers will need to update their LEED 2009 template specifications to reflect new VOC content and product emissions standards.
  • Interior Lighting Quality is a new credit that combines criteria for fixtures, light sources, and interior surfaces with the previous Lighting Controls credit for a more holistic evaluation of lighting system performance.

6. Innovation / Regional Priority

Innovation and Regional Priority credits follow a similar structure to LEED 2009.

  • Teams still have the opportunity to highlight how design and construction achieved exemplary performance for many credits in the LEED v4 rating system, or demonstrate strategies not yet recognized in the reference material.
  • There is an option to test credits from USGBC's Pilot Credit Library to earn Innovation points.
  • LEED Accredited Professionals with Specialty are now required to earn the LEED AP Innovation credit, incentivizing project teams to update their credentials.



Green Building Report: New LEED, Big Changes

Part 1: LEED v4 Requires A New Facility Management Approach To LEED

Part 2: LEED v4: How Energy And Atmosphere, Materials And Resources And Indoor Environmental Quality Requirements Have Changed

Part 3: Lessons Learned From A LEED v4 Beta Project

Part 4: USGBC Releases Top 10 States For LEED


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