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USGBC Announces Updates to LEED v4 to Better Address Carbon Emissions, Climate Change

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SAN FRANCISCO—The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced updates to the primary version of the LEED green building certification program, LEED v4, to more directly address carbon emissions and climate change. The updates will raise the threshold of LEED v4 to encourage greater energy performance, aligning LEED v4 with the rigor of LEED v4.1, which raised the bar on energy and climate upon its release in 2018.

“From day one, USGBC has been committed to the continuous improvements and advancement of green buildings standards. The new updates to LEED v4 affirm that climate is core to LEED,” said Peter Templeton, President and CEO, USGBC. “LEED certification has been a critical tool to help empower organizations to build and improve the conditions of buildings today that address climate change.”

With the change, Building Design and Construction (BD+C) and Interior Design and Construction (ID+C) projects will be able to demonstrate improvement in energy performance with LEED v4.1’s metric of energy cost or greenhouse gas emissions in addition to LEED v4’s original source energy metric.

For the last nine years, LEED v4 has been the primary and balloted version of LEED green building certification. However, its guidelines on reducing energy demand focused first on usage and efficiency. Meanwhile, LEED v4.1, introduced energy metrics on cost and greenhouse gas emissions, a first for LEED. Together, both LEED v4 and LEED v4.1 take on the evolving needs of the market and build on previous versions of the LEED ratings system.

The next version of the LEED rating system will enter the development phase in January 2023. It will be guided by the Future of LEED Principles, which were developed after months of conversations that engaged the global LEED community. LEED is powered by a community of volunteers that represent a spectrum of industries and professional expertise working groups and consensus committees. These volunteer groups will ensure that there are no gaps in knowledge or capacity as the work moves forward on LEED v5. The call for volunteers will open in December 2022.

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