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Following industry feedback, LEED v4.1 has been unveiled

Russell Hixson
Following industry feedback, LEED v4.1 has been unveiled

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has released its newest version of the LEED green building program, LEED v4.1, for registration for both new construction projects as well as interior spaces.

According to the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC), LEED v4.1 was developed in response to the growing recognition of the critical need to address carbon pollution. Currently there are over are 700 registered LEED v4 projects in Canada. Based on their experiences and thousands of others around the globe, LEED v4.1 was developed.

“The most important change is that requirements are more broadly achievable and accessible by project teams,” said Mark Hutchinson, vice-president of green building programs with the Canada Green Building Council.

“In a lot of cases that means more flexibility and in other cases, thresholds have been adjusted.”

One change that stemmed from feedback, explained Hutchinson, is that the new version encourages teams to look at buildings holistically by performing a life cycle assessment to determine its impact on the environment. While version 4 awarded projects for performing the assessment and then reducing its impact, v4.1 rewards teams for just performing the assessment.

Hutchinson said the council found teams weren’t participating in the assessment at all as the credit was only achieved if it was completed and the team could prove the impact to the environment had been reduced.

“4.1 recognizes that not everyone is ready to achieve that threshold,” said Hutchinson.

One of the major changes that will be particularly relevant in Canada is how energy performance is assessed.

“In Canada we have increasingly, over the past few years, been focused on climate change and reducing carbon pollution to meet climate goals,” said Hutchinson. “LEED 4 addressed that but one thing it didn’t do is it didn’t measure you based on carbon pollution from energy use. Now v4.1 is a metric for carbon emissions from energy and we think that is going to be very appropriate in the Canadian context.”

LEED is developed by the USGBC.

Currently, there are more than 96,200 commercial projects participating in LEED in 167 countries and territories.

“The hallmark of LEED is ‘continuous improvement,’ and that is exactly where we are going with LEED v4.1,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO of the USGBC.

“LEED v4.1 is set to raise the bar. It is the most comprehensive, collaborative, accessible and effective LEED system to date. From improving energy performance to emphasizing human health and integrative building design, LEED is encouraging project teams to operate beyond the status quo.”

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