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LEED v4.1 for Design and Construction is here! The latest version of the rating system is available as a beta for project teams to start using today. When developing LEED version 4.1, we had four main goals:
Ensure that LEED means leadership. LEED’s continuous improvement process ensures that those utilizing the latest version of the rating system are leading the market.
We simplified requirements and changed them if we saw that, in practice, they were not working.
LEED version 4.1 was made possible by the many lessons we learned from users and is set up to meet the needs of everyone in the green building community.
Every building is unique, and LEED version 4.1 offers flexible ways for projects to demonstrate compliance. Making LEED more accessible than ever to diverse building types in diverse locations!
And of course, tracking and improving performance of certified buildings is at the core of all the work that we do.
LEED v4.1 addresses spaces in two ways. Existing spaces (in LEED v4.1 O+M) and the design and construction of new spaces (in LEED ID+C). In the LEED v4.1 ID+C beta, you will find many of the updates made to LEED v4.1 BD+C plus a greater flexibility that acknowledges the realities interiors projects face as they interact with their base building.
LEED v4.1 updated credits like acoustic comfort, rainwater management, and material selection if the credits were underutilized. Knowing that these strategies have positive impacts on people and the environment, we worked to modify the credits for greater uptake.
LEED’s system goals explain what LEED aims to achieve. Each credit in LEED ties back to one or more of these goals.
The Location & Transportation credit category in LEED version 4.1 rewards thoughtful decisions about building location, with credits that encourage compact development, alternative transportation, and connection with amenities. This category considers the existing features of the surrounding community and how this infrastructure affects occupants’ behavior and environmental performance.
Here is the full list of prerequisites and credits in the Location & transportation credit category in LEED version 4.1 for design and construction..
Highlights in LT category within LEED v4.1 for BD+C and ID+C: Reduced Parking Footprint recognizes variations in consumer behavior; preferred parking requirements were removed and reduction is now an option along with three new credit options rewarding projects for no off-street parking, providing carshare parking, or unbundling parking. Green Vehicles has been renamed Electric Vehicles; the credit now refers to electric vehicles only and offers a new option rewarding the installation of electric vehicle infrastructure. Bicycle Facilities requirements better accommodate diverse project-types; storage requirements are more representative of common site conditions and differing requirements for shower amounts were added for large-occupancy projects.
The Sustainable Sites credit category in LEED v4.1 rewards decisions about the environment surrounding the building. It emphasizes the vital relationships among buildings, ecosystems, and ecosystem services.
Here is the full list of prerequisites and credits in the Sustainable Sites credit category in LEED version 4.1 for building design and construction. There are several additional credits for specific building types, but we’ll focus on the credits that apply across the board to all rating systems. This credit category does not apply to ID+C.
Highlights in SS category within LEED v4.1 for BD+C and ID+C: Protect or Restore Habitat is more accessible for projects: the restoration threshold has been reduced; soil and vegetation guidance has been added; and financial requirements for funding offsite land preservation have been lowered. Rainwater Management requirements are more applicable and achievable due to lower minimum percentile storm events and more guidance for zero-lot-line projects. Site Assessment is more relevant to international project teams; the US specific TR-55 standard is no longer required
The Water Efficiency credit category addresses water holistically. It covers indoor use, outdoor use, specialized uses, and metering. LEED encourages an “efficiency first” approach to water conservation. In other words, first try to use less water, then, look for alternate sources for the water you do need.
Here is the full list of prerequisites and credits in the water efficiency credit category in LEED version 4.1 for design and construction.
Highlights in WE category within LEED v4.1 for BD+C and ID+C: Updates to Indoor Water Use Reduction recognize variations in standard supply pressure across the globe and the European product labeling program. Cooling Tower and Process Water Use requirements have been adjusted to be more relevant and achievable for projects; two new credit options incorporate a previous pilot credit and reward the use of alternative recycled water to meet process water demand. Core and Shell (C+S) only: Re-allocated points from Indoor Water Use Reduction to Outdoor Water Use Reduction and Cooling Tower and Process Water Use to better align with C+S scope of work.
The Energy and Atmosphere category approaches energy management and from a holistic perspective, addressing energy use reduction, energy-efficient design strategies, renewable energy sources, refrigerant management, and peak load management.
Here is the full list of prerequisites and credits in the Energy & Atmosphere credit category in LEED version 4.1 for design and construction.
Highlights in EA category within LEED v4.1 for BD+C and ID+C: The referenced standard for energy performance has been updated to ASHRAE 90.1-2016; and for the first time a carbon metric is included: projects are now required to demonstrate performance against two metrics: cost and greenhouse gas emissions. The credit category includes new options for diverse project types, including data centers, and a new prescriptive option for individual systems optimization in BD+C. Renewable Energy Production and Green Power and Carbon Offsets are combined into a new credit, Renewable Energy, to better address diverse methods of renewables procurement and evolving global renewables markets. Demand Response is updated to Grid Harmonization to recognize role of buildings in supporting grid-scale decarbonization; the new credit option rewards technologies and strategies for building load flexibility and management.
The decisions that a project team makes related to the materials that make up the building and that are used within it, have a huge impact on the overall resource use of the building.
LEED takes a holistic approach to evaluating the attributes of building products and materials. The credits encourage strategies that prevent waste, foster materials reuse, and followed by making best informed choices for new materials
Here is the list of prerequisites and credits in LEED version 4.1 for design and construction. There are several additional credits for specific building types, but we’ll focus on the credits that apply across the board to all rating systems.
Highlights in MR category within LEED v4.1 for BD+C and ID+C: To encourage greater uptake of all Materials and Resources credits, additional credit pathways have been introduced and credit achievement thresholds have been updated for several credits, including building life-cycle impact reduction and building product disclosure and optimization (BPDO) credits. The credit category fine-tunes requirements with revised credit achievement thresholds to acknowledge variations for different project types and scopes of work. These updates include revised thresholds for number of products, cost, and number of separate manufacturers in the building product disclosure and optimization credits. This includes a specific focus on accommodating smaller and/or less material intensive projects and project types such as Warehouses and CS to make credits more achievable. The Construction and Demolition Waste credit is revised for challenging project sites and features updated total waste reduction thresholds. Greater emphasis and weighting is given to embodied carbon reductions through building reuse, salvage, whole building LCA, and EPDs.
Green buildings with good indoor environmental quality protect the health and comfort of building occupants. High-quality indoor environments also enhance productivity, decrease absenteeism, improve the building’s value, and reduce liability for building designers and owners. This category addresses the myriad design strategies and environmental factors—air quality, lighting quality, acoustic design, control over one’s surroundings—that influence the way people learn, work, and live.
Here is the full list of prerequisites and credits in the indoor environmental credit category in LEED version 4.1 for design and construction.
Highlights in EQ category within LEED v4.1 for BD+C and ID+C: The compliance methodology in the Low-Emitting Materials credit is restructured to be more straightforward while still promoting holistic consideration of the wide range of products installed in the building and how those products impact indoor air quality. Greater focus is placed on improving indoor air quality through more approachable air testing options in the indoor air quality assessment credit and use of the latest standards for ventilation in the minimum indoor air quality performance prerequisite and enhanced indoor air quality strategies credit. The entry points for both the Daylight and Acoustic Performance credits are lowered to encourage more projects to consider daylight and acoustic performance during design. Both credits also give more flexibility to the designer to appropriately address important design considerations: including excessive sunlight (for daylight) and sound transmission between spaces (for acoustics).
Using an integrative design process is a cornerstone of green building in general, and LEED specifically. In LEED version 4.1 we enhanced the integrative process credit. Highlights include: The credit has a more balanced approach for project teams to understand, improve, and document both the process and outcomes of integrated design through a new documentation approach of a project team letter. Project teams have greater flexibility to tell the story of their integrative process and earn more points for exemplary performance for new areas of interdisciplinary analysis at the frontier of green building, including social equity and public health. Projects can also demonstrate their thoughtful site selection decisions.
The Innovation category in LEED recognizes projects for innovative building features and sustainable building practices and strategies. Highlights include: We’ve clarified that pilot alternative compliance paths (or pilot ACPs) may substitute for pilot credits when projects attempt to earn all five points, given that pilot ACPs play a similar role in helping USGBC test new options for the rating system. Finally, in LEED version 4.1 for Interior Design and Construction, we now allow project participants who are LEED Accredited Professionals with either a Building Design and Construction specialty or an Interior Design and Construction specialty to count towards the LEED Accredited Professional credit
We’re launching LEED version 4.1 for Building Design and Construction and Interior Design and Construction as betas, so that you can try them out today. As a part of this beta, we will continue to gather feedback, to ensure that together, we are able to truly transform the market through LEED version 4.1. Register your project under LEED v4.1 through LEED Online to start using the beta today.
View https://new.usgbc.org/leed-v41 for all resources.