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Paris-aligned decarbonization and resilience are half the weight. Cross-credit integration and new prereqs weave in equity, biodiversity, and more.

by Paula Melton

LEED v5 could change everything. But will it?

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) soft-launched a radical structural overhaul to all the LEED rating systems at Greenbuild 2023 in Washington, D.C. The organization has also released a full draft of LEED v5 for Operations and Maintenance: Existing Buildings (O+M).

Share your views with GBCI reviewers! No, not your ideas. We mean sample documentation that helps you show your work for the v4 Quality Views credit.

by Paula Melton

Everyone wants a window.

But the design strategies for ensuring everyone gets one—particularly in a shared open office—are far from straightforward. Plus, that extra glazing is hardly worth it if people see nothing but a brick wall or an acre of parked cars. Human beings who find themselves stuck in buildings all day long typically want a connection to something restorative or inspiring. 

Our guests reply to the Qs we didn’t get to during our July 26 event. Plus, here’s the recording if you missed it, and USGBC will host several v5 update sessions at Greenbuild.

by Paula Melton

What a pleasure it was hosting Sarah Talkington (LEED Steering Committee chair) and Keith Amann (past chair of the LEED Advisory Committee, past member of the LEED Steering Committee) for our recent LEEDuser coffee talk, What’s up with LEED v5?

Multifamily developers are embracing green building certifications, leading to greater energy efficiency, cost savings, healthier places to live, and more environmental awareness among tenants.

by Brittny Castillo

Buildings produce about 40% of annual CO2 emissions globally, according to an Architecture 2030 analysis of International Energy Agency data. With awareness of this fact growing in both the real estate industry and the general public, developers are becoming increasingly attracted to the idea of “going green” because they can tackle carbon emissions while also conserving energy and water and improving the marketability of their buildings. 

The Cool Roof Rating Council also vets wall materials. Their database of third-party-tested products can help teams earn Pilot Credit SSpc154, Heat Island Mitigation with Cool Walls.

by Paula Melton

Climate change is searing us with localized heat waves, and the planet recently reached its highest-ever average temperature—a record that was immediately broken and is sure to be broken again and again in the near future.

A fresh online platform for BIT, which targets low-performing existing buildings, draws users through simple, low-cost, step-by-step improvements.

by Paula Melton

LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance (O+M) is designed to make pretty good buildings even better. But O+M has never really gone after low-performing buildings.

LEED for Homes project teams should take notice, and there’s a new path for maximizing innovation points under v4.1.

by Claudia Mezey

This quarter’s LEED Addenda were released by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) on April 21, 2023.   

The one-liner: no major changes, but LEED for Homes projects should review the new interpretations and international tips.  

The new, more streamlined process allows teams to use LEED v4 or v4.1 credit documentation to earn WELL v2 features and vice versa. Users will only need to submit proof once.

by Paula Melton

How do you like reinventing the wheel?

In the green building world, there are dozens of strategies and approaches that have to be figured out project by project, team by team, over and over again. 

Sometimes this makes sense: every building is different.

Sometimes it doesn’t.

USGBC has tweaked proposed changes to credit language that would introduce harder energy (and new carbon) requirements for v4 BD+C and ID+C.

by Paula Melton

It’s time to bring LEED v4—first released a decade ago and still very much in use—up to speed on current code expectations for energy performance. Proposed new metrics for the Optimize Energy Performance credit would also require project teams to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from operations in tandem with reductions in energy consumption.

A life-science developer and WSP have shared detailed WBLCA documentation, providing insight into the v4.1 process and submittal requirements.

by Paula Melton

When LEED v4 first arrived on the scene in 2013, it newly incentivized whole-building life-cycle assessment (WBLCA) that could demonstrate significant reductions in the project’s carbon footprint.

Green cleaning updates help ease the use of the O+M rating system, while new pilot credits for electrification, decarbonization, and other issues offer new pathways for project teams.

by Axel Jeremie

This quarter’s LEED Addenda were released on Wednesday, February 8. USGBC posted the official update here.   Our hot take is…. 

Conducting whole-building life-cycle assessments for LEED is part art, part science. Here are 5 tips and tricks.

by Sarah Buffaloe

As embodied carbon gains more attention, more project teams are pursuing the Building Life-Cycle Impact Reduction credit in LEED v4.0 and v4.1 and choosing option 4, Whole-Building Life-Cycle Assessment. If you are in that boat but wondering where to start, we would like to offer a simple equation.

To conduct a whole-building life-cycle assessment (WBLCA), you need two pieces of information: the quantity of each material and the embodied environmental factor for that material.

Quantity of material x Environmental factor = Embodied environmental impact

In LEED and elsewhere, we need to take decisive and measurable action on social justice issues.

by Mohammad Abbasi and Hala Alfalih

It’s been more than two years since EDI (short for equity, diversity, and inclusion) has become a trend and buzz word, and many organizations have issued a statement to address the EDI challenges within their industries. But through LEED, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has been pioneering social equity in many ways for more than a decade.

Come spring, USGBC will ballot updates to Optimize Energy Performance and Minimum Energy Performance in v4 BD+C and ID+C. Now is your chance to offer feedback on the draft language.

by Paula Melton

NOTE: We closed comments on this post because the public comment period ended January 13, 2023.

The shift in existing building decarbonization under LEED v5 could be a complete 180 from what happened in v4.

by Paula Melton

I’m just home from Greenbuild 2022 in San Francisco. I’ve never felt such a palpable sense of urgency—some might say rising panic—at Greenbuild regarding the scale of the challenges before us as an industry when it comes to decarbonization, social justice, and climate adaptation.