June 21, 2012
LEED 2012—err…LEED v4: Why it’s ok to Wait.
These people are thrilled to have more time to prepare for LEED v4
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) LEED® certification system is still a fairly new program with widespread support, both domestically as well as internationally. The system is constantly evolving to address new scientific knowledge and market realities related to sustainable development, and the USGBC has been hard at work for the past three years to update the current LEED Version 3 rating system.
LEED 2012 was first open to public comment in November 2011, and has been revised and edited three times since its initial release in response to suggestions from stakeholders, USGBC members, and industry professionals. The main concern voiced during these comment periods was a lack of adequate time to prepare for the changes in the new system. Specifically, the tools and resources needed to achieve the credits would not be available by the original release date of August 2012. Furthermore, many respondents articulated that there was limited visibility into the infrastructural improvements that were fundamental for LEED 2012, and that the drastic process changes in several categories required additional refinement. For example, the Materials and Resources Section introduced a completely new approach to material selection, and critics argued that implementing these measures would be too much, too soon..
As a result, the release date for LEED 2012 has been pushed back to June 2013, allowing the market sufficient time to prepare for the proposed changes. The USGBC also plans to change the name of the updated rating system from “LEED 2012” to a simpler “LEED v4” in order to maintain consistency with previous nomenclature and be “more conducive to continuous improvement.”
A beta test release of LEED v4 is scheduled for the end of the summer to allow project management teams to test the system before its market release, followed by a fifth public comment period that runs from October 2 to December 10, 2012. This comment period coincides with the annual Greenbuild conference in November, where public forums will be held to provide a venue for further feedback on LEED v4. The LEED 2009 rating system is available for the next three years while the new system is updated, with an eventual transition to LEED v4.
In general, the LEED v4 release date postponement has evoked a positive response, and many professionals are relieved for the additional time to adjust to the changes from the current system. While it may be frustrating to extend the process, given the significant technological progress that occurred after the release of LEED 2009, introducing an entirely new system without acknowledging its potential issues may degrade the positive brand image that USGBC has worked so hard to create. USGBC has been very attentive to the concerns and suggestions from the public comment periods, emphasizing the importance that every process and credit is thoroughly vetted in order to maintain the high standards and global credibility of the LEED system.
EBS supports this slight delay with the belief that when LEED v4 is released, the product will be a step further toward improved human health and environmental quality in the built environment. After all, isn’t that the end goal?
Do you support the postponement of LEED 2012? Let us know what you think in the comments below or on our Twitter feed @GreenBuildSF