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USGBC debuts LEED v4.1

At last year’s Greenbuild, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced the newest version of LEED: LEED v4.1. Considered a critical step in the evolution of the rating system, the update builds on lessons learned and is designed to ensure the ability to continuing the vision of green buildings for all.

In a January 18 blog post on the USGBC website, Selina Holmes writes, “It also means that as we work toward this goal, we are paying close attention to ensuring that these buildings perform and that they fulfill the promise of their design. 

LEED v4.1 is expected to make it easier for every type of existing building to achieve LEED certification or to be on a path to do so. In her blog post, Holmes writes that the goals of this update are to:

  • Address market barriers and lessons learned from LEED v4 project teams.
  • Update performance thresholds and reference standards to ensure LEED remains the global leadership standard for green buildings.
  • Expand the marketplace for LEED.
  • Improve performance throughout the life of buildings, reward leaders based on their performance and incorporate performance reporting to enable building owners to track progress towards environmental, social and governance goals.

According to Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO of USGBC, “LEED v4 certification is underperforming where we know it can—and should—be going strong. Since 2013, we have seen 3,300 registrations and 400 projects certified under LEED v4 across the globe. Many of the credits and strategies introduced with LEED v4 New Construction have been a challenge for projects to implement, and thus have not met our expectations. At USGBC, we simply will not settle for less.”

Ramanujam touts more will be possible with this new version, which is updated for today’s market, which is very different than the one in 2009, when LEED v4 was first written. LEED v4.1 will lead the market on energy efficiency and climate change, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and expanding activities that impact human health and well-being. 

The new version was released on March 26, and is considered to be an incremental update to the LEED rating system, one that is the most inclusive and transparent platform to date. It is more inclusive, allowing projects to earn LEED points through building performance monitoring via the Arc platform, while driving performance and developing unique solutions that address unique markets and situations.

The first rating system to be upgraded is LEED v4.1 Operations and Maintenance (O+M), supporting existing buildings and spaces. Building Design and Construction (BD+C), Interior Design and Construction (ID+C), Residential and Neighborhood Development (ND) are expected to be released later this year.

Read the USGBC’s blog post announcing the update here, and read more about the new LEED v4.1 here.


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