LEED is the most highly recognized sustainability certification worldwide with over 15.3 billion square feet space in over 160 countries certified. In the United States, 16 states (and growing) require LEED certification for all of their public buildings, making it a necessity for property managers to understand the recent change resulting from the organization’s transition from LEED 2009 to the LEED v4 standard.
Data shows that a LEED certification results in concrete returns for most buildings. In a recent Bentall Kennedy study, properties with LEED certification had a 4% higher occupancy and a 3.7% rent premium compared to non-certified properties. Why? Tenants say they are more satisfied with the indoor air quality, transportation options, and daylighting, among other features.
The US Green Building Council, the non-profit organization overseeing LEED, periodically updates the certification to encourage healthier, greener buildings. Released in 2013, LEED v4 is the newest version of the certification. Up until October 2016, using v4 instead of the 2009 standard was completely optional. However, as of late last year, LEED requires all new projects to register under LEED v4.
With v4, teams will likely find that they’re getting credit for several programs and features they already have in place. For example, is your building is already participating in a demand response program? Have you performed a potable water analysis on your water cooling tower? Extra points for each.
Overall, this version takes a more holistic approach than previous versions. The new scoring system values performance-based verification over building design alone. Since energy is where buildings have the greatest environmental impact, it’s not surprising that energy efficiency standards have risen with v4.
New prerequisites have been added to require whole building level energy and water metering. Collecting historical data and using smart metering systems are proven ways of improving decision making for energy optimization.
To earn further points for Advanced Energy Metering, building teams should:
The good news is that, while some points and standards have changed in the move from LEED 2009, the path to obtaining LEED v4 certification hasn’t changed significantly. More importantly, it remains just as worthwhile as ever!
If you’re preparing to undergo LEED certification for your building, your first stop should be to check out our free guide to the process, LEED Certification 101.
(This post was updated to reflect the changeover to LEED v4 on May 1, 2017.)