On Monday USGBC announced it will postpone voting on the LEED 2012 rating system (now know as LEED v4) until as late as July 2013. The announcement came in a direct letter to members from USGBC President, CEO and Founding Chairman, Rick Fedrizzi stating “this change is 100% in response to helping our stakeholders fully understand and embrace this next big step.”
The new rating system represents a significant step forward in that there is a focus on performance metrics. Additionally USGBC is working to better the user experience by improving educational and reference materials and streamlining the credit documentation process. The primary differences between LEED 2009 and LEED v4 are:
- New Market Sectors – the new system covers data centers, warehouses and distribution centers, hospitality projects, existing schools, existing retail, and mid-rise residential.
- Increased Technical Rigor – improvements to how credits are calculated and documented based on market data, stakeholder input, and technological advancements.
- Credit Weightings – revised point distribution more closely tied to USGBC priorities.
These changes are intended to raise the bar for performance and transform the market. Still some long-time LEED proponents felt the change was too much, too fast.
By pushing the balloting period back, USGBC lengthens the time for projects to “test drive” LEED v4 with the hope that lessons learned from the beta period will be incorporated into the final version of the rating system. It also ensures LEED 2009 will remain available for registration through 2015, relieving concerns of those just now fully engaged with the current version.
Finally, a fifth public comment period will be opened from Oct. 10 through Dec. 10, 2012 corresponding with Greenbuild 2012 in San Francisco this November, providing an opportunity for more face-to-face discussion and feedback.
The new timeline should allow a more seamless transition to LEED v4 and help designers and manufacturers prepare their businesses for the changes. For our part, Urban Green Council will be hosting a series of sessions covering the changes in LEED v4 and the implications on green building in New York City. Watch our calendar for updates at the end of the summer.
For a more in-depth look at the implications of this decision and the factors behind it, please see Nadiv Malin’s informative piece in BuildingGreen.