LEARNING OBJECTIVES 

 

Reading this article provides professional education in green building, including Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) and Health, Safety and Wellness (HSW) credits. Upon finishing, the reader should be able to:

  • Identify the underlying principles guiding v4’s new prequisites and credits.
  • Appreciate the fact that designers will have to be more resourceful and innovative to meet more stringent energy and water efficiency requirements.
  • Describe how v4 seeks to promote product transparency and its ramifications on the building products industry moving forward.
  • Explain the intent and goals of utilizing an integrative project process.

This course has been approved by GBCI for 1 CE hour. LEED Professionals may submit their hours to Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) under the “Education” delivery method at www.gbci.org. For those who pass the quiz with a minimum score of 80 percent, a certificate of completion will be available for immediate download.

EDC is a registered provider with The American Institute of Architects Continuing Education Systems. To earn 1.0 AIA LU, attendees must read this article in its entirety and take the 10-question quiz at the end of the article or atwww.TheCECampus.com/January14EDCQuiz and pass with a score of 80 percent or better.

 

Considered to be the most significant revamping of the LEED credit system, although not without its critics, many are applauding the new and improved LEED v4 (v4) as raising the sustainable building bar and continuing to drive market transformation.

“This new version of LEED raises the thresholds in categories that truly needed change to maintain LEED’s role as a leader in sustainability standards, as well as current reference standards,” states Jeffery Saad, AIA, LEED AP, vice president, director of design, HKS, Chicago.

“While it has been a long time in development, including an unprecedented six comment periods, the end result is a robust, challenging and widely agreed upon step forward,” agrees Courtney Lorenz, director of environmental management, Skanska USA, Durham, N.C.

By increasing energy and water efficiency thresholds and introducing a new Demand Response (DR) credit, for example, Saad sees LEED’s overall focus as evolving from reducing negative environmental impacts to targeting zero impact.

In fact, LEED’s underpinning structure has shifted from avoiding negative impact categories to improved environmental outcomes. Essentially, v4 will now evaluate building projects based upon their ability to: reduce contribution of carbon emissions; enhance human health and well-being; protect water and biodiversity; promote regenerative resource cycles; build a green economy; and support improved community-level quality of life.

Considered to be more technically rigorous, v4 has rebalanced its point structure, assigning the highest values to credits that will most significantly further one or more of these aforementioned goals.

Other significant broad-scale changes include new market-specific rating systems, more simplified submittal requirements, enhanced reference materials and online tools, and more intuitive documentation forms. Now providing rating systems for 21 different building types, the USGBC has added data centers, warehouses and distribution centers, hospitality, existing schools, existing retail and mid-rise residential buildings to its LEED portfolio.

“I think the approaches of standardization, updating of credit weightings and increased building information management add up to a system that makes sense and makes a difference. It is a well-balanced step forward, with a mixture of familiar approaches and new ‘reach goals,’” says Lorenz. 

“That being said, this has been the most highly contested version yet, so the speed at which all members of the green building community start to use this program will be an indicator of its success,” she adds.

Perhaps one of the more controversial changes has been the inclusion of Life-Cycle Assessment (LCA) data, as verified by Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs). Intended to significantly drive building product disclosure and transparency, specifiers and contractors are enthusiastically applauding this move, although many are nervous about the extent to which the building products industry will have to scramble to assemble, verify and publish the required data.

“Rather than relying on single attributes of products—such as recycled content, biobased content or reused material—v4 encourages manufacturers and consumers to consider the product of material from the perspective of understanding life-cycle impacts, i.e. environmental, human and ecological impacts of production,” explains Chrissy Macken, v4 assistant project manager, USGBC, Washington, D.C.

Life-cycle cost of a system is an important part of the equation when considering mechanicals, like a heating and cooling system. A geothermal heat pump system, while more expensive upfront, can more than pay for itself through reduced energy consumption, reduced maintenance, the ability to generate all or part of  a building’s hot water requirements and long system life. Add to that the available 10 percent federal tax credits and modified accelerated depreciation, and payback calculation can really be swift.

 

Market Consensus

As noted, the USGBC took its time with the development of v4 in order to solicit and consider a significant level of industry feedback. In particular, more than 23,000 public comments were registered from November 2010 to March 2013. Furthermore, the introduction of this most recent version, originally slated for 2012, was pushed back a year so that v4 could incorporate some of this important feedback.

“The process was completed in a consensus-building and transparent way that anyone in the building industry could follow,” explains Andrew Zumwalt-Hathaway, USGBC LEED Faculty, LEED AP BD+C, director, sustainability consulting services, Steven Winter Associates, Norwalk, Conn.

In addition, a number of Technical Advisory Groups were established to seek input from a variety of industry professionals.

“I would say there are many who are not happy with v4 as it is, but the fact that people have been forthright in sharing their thoughts through the numerous commenting periods and getting their voices heard is a success story on how the building industry has been engaged in the entire process,” states Judhajit Chakraborty, LEED AP BD+C, built ecology, WSP, San Francisco.

In a similar vein, Russell Perry, AIA, LEED AP, co-director, sustainable design, SmithGroupJJR, Washington, D.C., relates, “Many people certainly found that their concerns were not fully addressed, and I find myself among those. But on the whole, the dialog was rich and comprehensive. Nowhere in the industry were these issues more thoroughly vetted than in the various forums around v4. No other organization in the sustainable design world has the reach of the USGBC, and none can curate a dialog that is quite so lively.”

Yet another tool which the USGBC deployed was the establishment of a Beta program where a couple hundred building projects tested out v4 and then the project teams provided feedback on how to make the new system more usable. USGBC then responded with corresponding revisions to reference guide.

Of course, v4 also taps into insights garnered from thousands of projects dating all the way back to LEED’s inception.

“I think at the heart of it is more than 40,000 case studies of lessons learned that we’ve married with better understanding of interconnections of the built environment and the natural environment, a better understanding of the way that people engage with their physical environment, and a better understanding of the way that technology has emerged to produce a rating system that ups the bar and encourages project teams to focus on and capitalize on the market transformation that we have brought to this point, but also encourages them to go further and faster and higher and deeper and broader,” states Brenda Morawa, P.E., vice president, Integrated Environmental Solutions-North American Division, Atlanta, and LEED Implementation Advisory Committee Chair in a USGBC webinar, “Key Concepts & Strategies: Introduction to v4.” 

Ultimately, v4 was approved by 86 percent of the consensus body, so the USGBC is confident that market adoption will be broad.

 

A Closer Look

Before delving into more details regarding v4’s changes and how they will impact projects seeking LEED certification moving forward, it’s important to note that the USGBC has opted for a gradual phase-in so that project teams have ample time to get up to speed on the new requirements. Consequently, projects will still be given the option to register under LEED 2009 until as late as June 2015.

At the same time, the USGBC anticipates that building owners will embrace v4 sooner as opposed to later.

“Organizations that want to differentiate themselves as continuing to advance the evolution of the green building industry are going to gravitate toward v4 because it’s going to be a significant market differentiator,” explains Brendan Owens, vice president, LEED technical development, USGBC, Washington, D.C., in the “Key Concepts & Strategies” webinar.

While a number of credits have been moved, renamed or combined, v4 does maintain the same structure and should be familiar to LEED users. At the same time, the new version places much more of an emphasis on accountability and performance verification.

Consequently, v4 directs the creation of feedback loops to make sure that the building is actually performing in line with the original design intent. For example, building-level energy and water metering have been upgraded to a prerequisite, and a new Advanced Energy Metering credit requires metering of all energy end-uses representing 10 percent or more the building’s total energy consumption.

“While in the past, project teams simply aimed to ‘check the box’ to obtain points, the changes to LEED in version 4 indicate movement toward more performance-based criteria,” explains Mark Rossolo, global director of public affairs, UL Environment, Portland. “It’s focusing on the ‘why’ as opposed to the ‘how.’”

 

Tougher Energy Requirements

Perhaps one of the most ambitious changes in the Energy & Atmosphere categories is the inclusion of ASHRAE 90.1-2010, in place of the previous 2007 version, and the fact that close to 20 percent of the system’s credits are centered around energy-efficiency levels. And although the minimum energy cost savings threshold has been reduced from 10 percent to 5 percent better than 90.1-2010, in response to concerns that the originally proposed 10 percent was too aggressive, the new energy efficiency levels are still quite high.

“That’s probably the single biggest question I get from my clients,” relates Chris Schaffner, P.E., LEED Fellow, founder, principal, The Green Engineer, Concord, Mass., in part II of the USGBC’s Introduction to v4 webinar, “Performance: Measuring for Success.”

“On average it’s about a 20 percent difference in energy performance,” he continues, “and people wonder how hard it’s going to be to do this. I think the short answer is it’s hard, but it’s not impossible. Previously, the engineer could do a lot of the work and get you there, but now it really takes the whole team…everyone working together from the beginning.”

Mara Baum, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, senior associate, sustainable design leader, healthcare, HOK, San Francisco, agrees that reaching this level of energy efficiency will require more innovation, but the building technologies capable of achieving these goals are not new or untested. For example, Baum anticipates seeing more systems that decouple heating and cooling from ventilation requirements as they tend to keep occupants more comfortable while using considerably less energy than equivalent all-air systems.

Incorporating a geothermal heat pump system is one way buildings can realize a 30 to 40 percent energy reduction versus the standard ASHRAE 90.1 building by allowing the natural and consistent temperature of the earth to do a large portion of the heating and cooling required.

Generally speaking, HKS’s LEED Green Associate Branden Clements anticipates that designers will have to place a greater focus on systems working synergistically. For example, capturing waste heat with airside energy recovery systems and then reusing that heat. As a side note, he mentions that ASHRAE 90.1-2010 provides economizer exemptions if specific efficiencies are reached, which offers greater flexibility to the designer.

“The HVAC systems are in for a major makeover under ASHRAE 90.1-2010,” reports Chakraborty. “Reduced fan power, mandating economizers for almost all climate zones; energy recovery with as little as 30 percent outside air; limitations in reheat; increased chiller and boiler performance requirements; and mandating HVAC commissioning are a few of the new requirements. ASHRAE also calls for innovative ways to reduce fan power, encourages use of dedicated outside air systems and decreased reliance on constant volume systems, which are normally used in labs and hospitals.”

In addition, under the LEED O+M rating systems, existing buildings seeking v4 certification will be required to achieve an ENERGY STAR score of at least 75.

Recognizing the limited opportunities that existing buildings have in the arena of energy efficiency improvements, a new pilot credit called Energy Jumpstart offers and alternative path of basic certification for buildings which can demonstrate a 20 percent reduction over an established baselines during a 12-month period.

The increased energy performance requirements offered by LEED v4 can be accomplished by using a water source heat pump system. The inherent recycling of energy through a water source system allows heat from one part of a building to be recycled and used in a different part of the building. For instance, often times the core of a building needs constant cooling even in winter months; the heat extracted from the core of the building can be transferred to the perimeter of the building and used to heat those spaces.

Some other HVAC technologies which designers expect to see more of include chilled beams, variable refrigerant systems, solar hot water heating, mechanical units and refrigeration equipment with higher SEER ratings, according to Lorenz.

 

On the Meter

As noted, metering and submetering technology will play a significant role in v4-rated buildings.

Emphasizing the very key role that metering plays in indicating if a building is actually performing in line with projections, Chakraborty points to an eye-opening New Buildings Institute study, “Energy Performance of LEED for New Construction Buildings,” conducted back in 2008 and commissioned by the USGBC with help from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

In charting the measured versus modeled energy use intensity (EUI) of LEED-certified buildings, NBI discovered that LEED-certified buildings were performing 25 to 30 percent better than the national average. But on the other hand, a decent percentage of certified buildings were not performing at the level to which they were designed.

In particular, measured EUIs for a quarter of the sampled projects were significantly worse than design projections with a number of those buildings even coming in below the energy code baseline.

With v4 buildings being held much more accountable for measured energy consumption, plug loads are going to become much more of an issue. In fact, according to the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, plugged-in equipment such as computers and copy machines can account for as much as 30 percent of the building’s total energy use. Consequently, any technology or best practice that helps reduce plug loads is sure to gain traction.

Another significant change to v4 is the promotion of Demand Response from a pilot program to a full-fledged credit. To earn this credit, a project must shed at least 10 percent of its estimated peak electricity demand through a DR program. And now that building automation systems and submetering technology has matured to a certain point, there are much fewer technological hurdles to reckon with.

Although DR has become fairly common for industrial and manufacturing facilities to help relieve electrical grid demand during peak hours, it has yet to be widely adopted by commercial buildings in dense urban settings. In addition, the utility company still holds many of the cards in determining whether a particular facility qualifies for its program and whether it’s willing to offer any incentives for enrolling.

“In my opinion, it is a credit which needs careful research and study, and a mandatory consultation with the respective utility company before pursuing,” says Chakraborty.

Although Chakraborty anticipates that enrolling in DR programs will not be without hiccups, particularly in smaller cities, he applauds the new credit and is hopeful that it will drive DR programs.

To better inform specifiers and end-users about DR, the Demand Response Partnership Program between the USGBC and Environmental Defense Fund can be very helpful.2

 

A Look at Lighting

Clements also explains that the majority of ASHRAE 90.1-2010 energy savings, as compared to 2007, are centered around lighting. In particular, a 17 percent reduction in lighting power density will be required in tandem with increased implementation of lighting controls. Furthermore, bi-level switching—where alternate rows, fixtures or lamps are separately circuited and independently controlled—has also become a new LEED requirement.

“There will have to be more emphasis on building siting, orientation and its effect on lighting systems,” says Saad. “Lighting uses a lot of energy and also creates waste heat which drives HVAC sizing and use, so design teams will have to be innovative at communicating the synergistic effects of daylighting—such as reduced heating load and improved indoor environment—whose value is not always readily apparent in value engineering discussions.”

Another noted change is an updated daylighting credit prioritizing spatial daylight autonomy (sDA), which reflects advancements in daylighting modeling. Although the more simplistic illuminance calculations for specific points within a year-long cycle can still be applied, designs which utilize sDA will be in a position to receive more points. Defined as the percentage of the work plane that is higher than 300 lux, or 28 footcandles, at least 50 percent of occupied hours, sDA is considered to be a more accurate assessment of quality daylighting. That being said, the metric does have a tendency to encourage overglazing, so to counter this, v4 also requires glare simulations. 

In the Light Pollution category, v4 has an updated performance-based option drawing from the International Dark Sky Association’s Model Lighting Ordinance in addition to a new Illuminating Engineering Society of North America Backlight, Uplight, and Glare (BUG) rating and calculation method. For v4’s new prescriptive option, specifiers can match the BUG ratings for assorted fixtures with the needs of their lighting zone.

 

Every Drop Counts

Moving on to updated water conservation requirements, Chakraborty relates, “I am particularly impressed with the new water efficiency requirements in LEED v4, especially mandating outdoor water use reduction, whole-building level water metering and sharing the data with USGBC for five years, as well as the inclusion of cooling tower process water savings within the indoor water use prerequisite.”

Chakraborty likes the fact that the Cooling Tower credit encourages projects to perform a chemical analysis of the blowdown water and maximize water cycles to the cooling tower. By analyzing and cycling back blowdown water below certain chemical levels, as opposed to immediately draining it from the cooling tower, he says that thousands of gallons of water can be saved.

Expanding way beyond low-flow fixtures, which incidentally will have to be WaterSense labeled, v4 also takes into account process water use from other equipment such as dishwashers, washing machines, commercial kitchen equipment, and laboratory and medical equipment.

By evaluating a project’s overall water budget, Lorenz anticipates that this will require more of a more holistic design strategy in place of point chasing.

As with energy, water metering will play a key role as a new prerequisite. “Building occupants and facilities management are rarely connected with the water impacts of their actions and management,” says Lorenz. “When the reality is ‘what gets measured gets managed,’ this prerequisite will arm building users and managers with the information they need to reduce their water use.”

Another interesting semantic change is the fact that the term stormwater has been replaced with rainwater. As Schaffner explains in USGBC’s webinar, “rainwater is viewed more as a resource, whereas stormwater connotes something dirty that one must get rid of.”

Although Baum is encouraged by the water efficiency updates, she is concerned that some of the changes won’t be favorable to healthcare facilities. “My primary criticism is that there are five points available for domestic plumbing fixture water reduction in hospitals, but healthcare projects today typically can achieve no more than two to three of those points, based on code requirements and plumbing fixtures available on the market. I would have liked to have seen those extra points be put to something more worthwhile.”

 

Full Disclosure

“The topic that has the entire building materials industry shaken,” as Chakraborty describes it, is unprecedented Building Product Disclosure and Optimization credits, essentially requiring building product manufacturers to tell all.

While project teams are very pleased about the prospect of knowing exactly what kinds of substances they are potentially putting into their buildings, manufacturers and suppliers have traditionally been hesitant about furnishing such information.

“The reality in our marketplace is that most construction products are not patented or patentable, so most manufacturers live in a world of trade secrets,” explains Lucas Hamilton, manager, building science applications, CertainTeed, Philadelphia. “It’s hard to open up your books to LEED and trust that they will guard the secrets of where the product comes from, who your suppliers are, how the product is made and how far it had to travel.”

Recognizing this quandary, the USGBC made a big effort to work together with the manufacturing community to come up with a mutually agreeable approach to transparency. The answer, says Hamilton, is the idea of using independent, trusted, third-party organizations to perform the product evaluations and report the results in a way that provides the necessary information while protecting manufacturers’ privacy.

Because this new EPD requirement is a groundbreaking move toward driving product disclosure, the USGBC felt it necessary to reward the specification of building products with EPDs, regardless of what those EPDs reveal. In other words, the credit does not judge the actual material and chemical make-up of a building product and therefore, many are concerned that this may spur greenwashing.

Clarifying the credit’s intent, USGBC Media Associate Jacob Kriss explains, “The purpose of this is to accelerate the availability of environmental impact data in the market for consumers to use when selecting products.”

Kriss also points out that a second option within the EPD credit does award an additional point for specifying products that have a demonstrated an environmental impact below industry average for that particular product type.

Another industry concern has been the lack of standardization amongst the assorted industry standards and tools available for product transparency reporting. To address this, the USGBC recently sponsored a task force to harmonize the different tools and assessment systems, drawing funds from a $3 million Google grant.

“Their work is already helping to sort out the relationships between several organizations in this space whose work is very complementary,” reports Perry. “From where I sit, it looks like the industry is rallying around transparency as an idea whose time has come.”

While many in the building products industry are still grumbling about this daunting task—which involves things like assembling detailed product ingredient data, reporting material extraction information and assessing the environmental impacts of all aspects of product manufacturing and transport from cradle to grave—others are encouraging.

“It will be difficult for manufacturers initially, but it is achievable,” assures Ronald Collis, AIA, LEED AP, senior associate, KPS Group, Birmingham, Ala. “It wasn’t that long ago that reporting VOCs and recycled content was a big deal. In time, LCAs and EPDs will become the norm, and manufacturers will be using them to market their products; a few already do.”

In a similar vein, UL Environment Product Manager Paul Firth asserts that manufacturers have been researching their product life cycle and business supply chains for years, and should have the necessary data on hand to begin an LCA.

One of the initial steps of this process already underway is the development of Product Category Rules (PCR) for manufacturers within each building materials industry to adhere to as they develop EPDs. For example, the concrete industry has already gotten a jump start on this with the National Ready Mixed Concrete Association providing third-party validation services for various concrete related products.

Ultimately, Lorenz envisions a sink-or-swim type of scenario where the companies adapting the most rapidly to meet growing market demand will thrive, while those who hesitate will be left behind.

Taking a look at how some manufacturers are handling this new reality, CertainTeed has benefitted from the experience of its parent company, Saint-Gobain, which is headquartered in Europe where EPDs are already much more established, according to Hamilton.

Meanwhile, Construction Specialties (C/S) has been actively working toward product transparency with McDonough Braungart Design Chemistry and an ISO 14001 certifier. Credited as the first building materials company to produce an on-product ingredient label, C/S has also been working with the Cradle-to-Cradle Products Innovation Institute for several years.

“I’m personally happy to see the needle in the materials category moving away from single attributes and toward both environmental and human health,” says Curt Fessler, LEED AP BD+C, marketing director, Construction Specialties, Muncy, Penn.

While product disclosure is a strong step in the right direction, Lorenz cautions that time, expense and effort required to develop LCAs and EPDs will likely trickle down to the price of production and require product changes across many companies and suppliers. 

Architects and designers should also anticipate getting hit with a flood of information as manufacturers start releasing more detailed product data. 

“Much education will be needed for the A&D community to understand the data that will be available to help specifiers not view it out of context,” explains Josh Jacobs, manager, UL Environment Technical Information and Public Affairs.

Integrated to Integrative

In promoting a higher level of building team collaboration during a project’s early stages, v4 has thoughtfully changed its language from “integrated” to “integrative” with a new Integrative Process Credit.

As Holley Henderson, LEED Fellow, founder of H2 Ecodesign and member of the LEED Steering Committee, explains in the “Key Concepts & Strategies” webinar, that “integrated” implies something has an end, whereas the idea of “integrative” connotes an iterative, ongoing process which continues all the way through to building occupancy.

As opposed to painfully value engineering things out of a project, v4 prefers the language, “continuous value optimization” to communicate the idea of optimizing the building design in a more positive light.

“This is a much needed change,” says Saad. “While IPD increases onsite commitment from multiple disciplines, it also helps reinforce the overall goal and success of the project.”

One of the ideas behind the integrative process is soliciting input from folks who actually use the building, not just the owner. In addition to building occupants, facility managers are often an untapped resource and can offer valuable post-occupancy insights to better inform the design and construction process.

However, the key is to bring all the players in early. “By applying the integrative process, it allows teams to make early decisions about the design of the project that affect not only the energy use, but how you site the building, orientation, massing, the envelope, the sun angles, etc.,” explains Simon in the USGBC webinar.

Ultimately, it’s all about shifting the way that design teams view building projects from a piece-meal type of approach toward a much more holistic view. It’s a matter of systems thinking and understanding how all the parts and pieces work together, says Schaffner.

 

Moving Forward

Despite the concerns that v4 is raising the bar too far and too fast, overall, the industry is applauding the USGBC’s bold upgrade of the rating system and commending the organization for its industry leadership.

“Each new version of LEED builds on the lessons learned from previous experience and uses those lessons to inform the next iteration and raise the bar. LEED v4 is no different and is the next step in the evolution of sustainable design,” observes Collis. 

“Albeit, there will be some initial frustrations and drawbacks, but with time it will all prove to be worth the effort,” adds Chakroaborty. “We are in for some exciting times ahead.”

 

A Little History

Looking back at a decade and a half of LEED, pilot Version 1.0 was originally launched back in 1998. Significant modifications were then made to create Version 2.0, which was introduced in 2000.

Slowly but surely, building teams began trying out the rating system as the number of LEED-certified buildings began to grow.

Version 2.1, with minor tweaks and changes came out in 2002, following by 2.2 in 2005. That year also marked the introduction of LEED for Existing Buildings and LEED for Commercial Interiors.

LEED’s next iteration occurred in 2009 with the release of 3.0. Although this version rebalanced the point system with 100 basic credits, offered bonus points for innovation and regional priority, and harmonized the template for the various market-specific rating systems, the actual credit requirements didn’t change much.

Concurrently, as the sustainable building movement has taken off, the market has gotten quite good at delivering LEED buildings. In fact, more and more buildings are now certifying at the higher Gold and Platinum levels. And while the U.S. Green Building Council is thrilled about this, it also sees this as a clear indication that it is high time to raise the bar and continue pushing the envelope.

As such, “v4 represents the largest change in LEED since we moved from the pilot to v2, back in 2000,” states Mara Baum, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, senior associate, sustainable design leader, healthcare, HOK, San Francisco.

“I think this latest evolution of LEED is positioned very well to do what LEED always has strived for and succeeded at doing, turning best-in-class into status quo” adds Curt Fessler, LEED AP BD+C, marketing director, Construction Specialties, Muncy, Penn.

To date, the U.S. Green Building Council has 77 chapters, 13,000 member companies and organizations and has been used in 145 different countries. In addition, more than 181,000 professionals hold LEED credentials.

 

Getting Up to Speed

 Although v4 has incorporated significant changes, for folks already quite familiar with LEED 2009, this latest version won’t be too big of a stretch.

Also, with the USGBC making such an effort to engage the building industry with half a dozen rounds of comments, for those following the cycles, the forum was a great way to learn about where v4 was headed.

In terms of getting up to speed with the actual changes, a good place to start is a complimentary v4 User Guide offered by the U.S. Green Building Council. In addition to describing the underpinnings of v4’s philosophical shift, the guide offers an at-a-glance listing of all the changed and new credits.

“At the risk of sounding simplistic, it’s all about education on the new set of standards. We recommend attending CEUs and webinars, reading articles, the reference manual and supporting documents,” suggests Mark Rossolo, global director of public affairs, UL Environment, Portland.

In addition, the USGBC has released a free “Introduction to v4” two-part webinar.

The first session, “Key Concepts and Strategies in v4,” describes the foundations of v4, explains the most significant improvements and delves into LEED’s vision of the integrative process.

In the second webinar, “Performance: Measuring for Success in v4,” the presentation demonstrates how metering will be used as a key metric to measure actual building performance, addresses select performance-based credits within each of the six v4 categories and defines newer terminology.

Available for purchase, the USGBC has also furnished two different five-part series on the D+C and the O+M Rating Systems.

Overall, Ronald Collis, AIA, LEED AP, senior associate, KPS Group, Birmingham, Ala., recommends that the quickest way to learn is to jump right in. In addition, he advises, “Make use of the resources, interpretations and forum in the Online Credit Library. Folks can also learn from those who participated in the LEED v4 Beta program or have recently begun a v4 project. Most everyone is willing to share their lessons learned.”

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