LEED v4 is Now Official

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It was out with the old and in with the new on Monday June 30, 2014. Out: LEED 2009; In: LEED v4. LEED v4 was three years in the making, so it seems as if it has been around for a very long time. Especially given the fact v4 went through an unprecedented six public comment reviews.

The first order of business is, well, business. Available today in the e-store are updated Green Associate exam study materials: the Studio4 LEED v4 Green Associate Study Guide First Edition and the Studio4 LEED v4 Green Associate 101 Questions and 101 Answers First Edition.

Now back to LEED v4. The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) promotes LEED v4 as being about transparency. While that is an accurate assessment, v4 sheds a lot of its previous baggage and is much more streamlined and leaner. Gone are the endless credits with their companion sub-credits.

LEED v4 has eight (8) credit categories:

Location and Transportation (LT)

Sustainable Sites (SS)

Water Efficiency (WE)

Energy and Atmosphere (EA)

Materials and Resources (MR)

Indoor Environmental Quality (EQ)

Innovation (IN)

Regional Priority (RP)

There is also another credit category, although LEED v4 doesn’t recognize it as a credit category:

Integrative Process (IP)

Those familiar with LEED 2009 will recognize a few differences:

The Innovation (IN) credit was Innovation in Design (ID); the Indoor Environmental Quality (EQ) credit was Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ); and the Location and Transportation (LT) credit category is a new addition.

In their continuing efforts to align LEED rating systems, v4 draws upon LEED BD+C: ND and LEED BD+C: Homes by adding the Location and Transportation (LT) credit category. In essence, what this means is v4 has transferred sections of the Sustainable Sites (SS) credit category. The new Location and Transportation (LT) credit category addresses the location of the site, while the new Sustainable Sites (SS) credit category addresses the construction activities on the site. Most of LEED v4’s credit categories eliminates sub-credits and relocates everything previously addressed by these sub-credits into a single credit. This is much easier to follow as it is more logical to understand.

LEED 2009 included three (3) rating systems:

New Construction and Major Renovations (NC)

Core and Shell (CS)


LEED v4 includes eight (8) BD+C rating systems:

LEED BD+C: New Construction

LEED BD+C: Core and Shell

LEED BD+C: Schools

LEED BD+C: Retail

LEED BD+C: Healthcare

LEED BD+C: Data Centers

LEED BD+C: Hospitality

LEED BD+C: Warehouses and Distribution Centers

Ten (10) if you include:

LEED BD+C: Homes

LEED BD+C: Multifamily Midrise

In summary, there’s a lot of LEED 2009 that crossed over to LEED v4, but there has also been significant changes to most every credit category.

Not to forget an important option now available for purchasing any of the LEED Reference Guides, there is now available a web version that currently sells as a $99/annual subscription fee. The web version is pretty nice (if you are comfortable maneuvering via computer vs the hardbound or pdf versions). Time will tell if the web version will be updated in real time.

These are just a few broad comparisons between LEED 2009 and LEED v4.

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