Log in

A New, More Accessible LEED Online for LEED v4

Has USGBC finally cracked the code to an easy, accessible LEED Online experience? LEED v4 projects will experience a simpler, more integrated website when they get to work on their LEED documentation.
December 3, 2013

The new LEED Online integrates into USGBC.org, according to screen captures provided by USGBC.

Following months of speculation by LEED users, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has announced that LEED version 4 (LEED v4) will be supported by a new LEED Online documentation platform. In contrast with the maligned LEED Online version 3 (LOv3) platform that supports LEED 2009 projects, the new LEED Online will be faster, accessible to more browsers, and more integrated with other USGBC resources, according to USGBC.

"It’s built on html, css, and Javascript," Andrew Glaros, a user interface designer at USGBC, told LEEDuser. Cutting through the programming jargon, Glaros explained, "It’s going to work exactly like the USGBC website, or 99% of the websites you see on the Internet."

Whereas LOv3 was built on a SAP interface, a custom application that hasn't worked well on many common browsers and that has been particularly hard on Mac users, the new LEED Online is built more like a regular website. According to Glaros, it is designed to integrate smoothly with the USGBC.org experience. "It should feel more or less like the same environment," he said. Integration of LEED Online into USGBC.org follows recent trends, with LEED credential maintenance having been pulled into USGBC.org (from GBCI.org) this fall.

According to Glaros, using a single log-in, users will be able to click from the LEED credit library on USGBC.org, including its credit language, online reference guides, and LEEDuser forum, over to LEED Online.

You rely on LEEDuser. Can we rely on you?

LEEDuser is supported by our premium members, not by advertisers.

Go premium for  »

Getting there

The new LEED Online is set to open for business December 9th, according to USGBC.

The existing LOv3 will continue to operate for LEED 2009 projects, just as the earlier LEED Online v2 continues to support LEED v2 projects. But if you're tempted to call the new LEED Online "LOv4," don't, says Chrissy Macken, manager of LEED technical development for USGBC. According to Macken, the new platform is simply "LEED Online." (And for those keeping track of all the LEED Onlines, there is also a separate LEED Online for campuses platform that is more like the new platform than the old, but which is separate from both.)

LEED 2009 projects will be able to upgrade to LEED v4, according to Macken, but because the platforms are so different, projects in LOv3 will not be able to port their data over to LEED Online. 

Macken said that there is no increase in fees for registration or certification for either platform, and that projects that move quickly to upgrade to LEED v4 would not face a new registration fee. (She advised projects to contact USGBC directly to start this process.)

A screen capture from the new LEED Online.

Reduction in number of forms

Leading up to the launch of LEED v4 at Greenbuild in November 2013, rumor spread that the number of LEED Online forms had been reduced by 80% compared with LEED 2009. Macken clarified for LEEDuser that while that might be true, it's more about the LEED Online universe of forms rather than the number of forms that an individual project might face. Because LEED 2009 was launched incrementally, with systems like Healthcare, Retail, and ND being added after the initial 2009 launch, Macken explained, a lot of duplicative forms entered the LEED Online system—thousands of them. Because LEED v4 has been developed more cohesively, Macken says there are more like 130 forms overall.

Even though the story here is more about streamlining the overall system, "We expect that people will spend less time on documentation for a wide range of credits," says Macken, pointing to light pollution reduction, indoor water use reduction, and energy efficiency as forms that have become more focused to good reviews from LEED v4 beta users. Having fewer forms will benefit LEED users juggling multiple rating systems, and reviewers should also be responsible for a more manageable set of documents. Macken also notes that fewer forms means less maintenance for the LEED technical staff.

Your comments 

What do you hope to see in the new LEED Online? Do you think it will deliver on that, or are you going to wait and see? Please post your comments below, and also attend the new LEEDuser webcast, What Can We Learn from LEED's Critics?, to explore problems and fixes with the LEED certification process in more detail.


Add new comment

To post a comment, you need to register for a LEEDuser Basic membership (free) or login to your existing profile.


June 21, 2014 - 9:36 am

I am trying to figure out which are design and which are construction credits in the new LEED online. I also looked at the website. Anyone knows how to find out which credits in LEED V4 can be submitted in design phase and which ones in construction phase?

June 23, 2016 - 2:33 am

Emily, I think we have a solution which gives you the scorecards with the information you are looking for and it might help you with the issues you are facing. If interested please send me a message.

June 22, 2016 - 1:43 pm

Well, that was part of the problem above; we don't have a v4 project in LEEDOnline yet. We're at the stage where we're trying to organize a proposal response, estimate hours within phases, etc.
I was able to use the chart in the Guide after all that searching; luckily we had already purchased the full Guide.
The designations are such basic info, that it does seem like USGBC is trying to make simple tasks more difficult for the users, like Eric said. To that list, I'd add that you cannot open the Reference Guide and tell whether you're looking at a prerequisite or a credit at a glance. We could always previously pick up a Guide, open it in the middle, and know where we were; every prerequisite and credit had a small summary table at the top/outside of each page telling you the category and whether it was a prereq or a credit (and number, though I know that's a lost cause in v4). It's very unfortunate that this feature was removed, as it is much more time consuming to now have to either go to the TOC every time, or thumb back and forth trying to figure out exactly where you are in the book. I've had to manually add physical tab stickers so that I can actually have quicker access.
I have also tried using the built-in bookmarks in the PDF version of the Guide, but many of them were not properly labeled, so I had to manually correct those, too.

June 22, 2016 - 1:30 pm

HI Emily- In LEED Online, hover over the credit name to see whether it is a design or construction credit. The design/construction designation is also listed in the Quick Reference Table in the getting started section of the Reference Guide. Good luck!

June 22, 2016 - 12:57 pm

I'm with Eric. I looked through the LEEDUser pages, the USGBC Credit Library, the Reference Guide Summary PDF, all versions of the checklists that are out, and straight up Googled it, and couldn't find the very basic D/C info. Also, the checklists need a great deal of work, as they don't show this info, nor do they show any of the options or point thresholds under each credit. I'm having to manually create our own working versions of every rating system in order to even be able to get started with a useable file. We don't have a v4 project registered yet (trying to prepare for one now), so we wouldn't have been able to see the D/C designation if I hadn't stumbled across it on this forum post. Luckily, we had already purchased the full Reference Guide and found it there per the above comments.
There are also a significant number of serious typos in the Reference Guide that, given the amount of time it took to release this version, should have been caught. The most obvious example I've found so far is the point chart for Optimize Energy Performance...it repeats half of the point thresholds! Pretty major oversight there, considering it's probably the most important credit in the NC rating system.
Sorry for the rant; as a pretty experienced LEED Admin, I'm having a very frustrating start to the v4 projects. If I didn't have the knowledge to manually navigate the intricacies of USGBC that comes with having done so many projects, there's no way I'd be able to make sense of this mess as a new user.

October 27, 2015 - 1:50 pm

These still don't really appear on LEED Online as far as I can tell. The only way we can see them is if you hover over the credit, but how would you know to do that? (I discovered it by accident). There is the chart in the Reference Guide mentioned above, but if there is something in the credits themselves that tells you that, I've missed it. It's also not on the checklist as far as I can tell (the new v4 checklist does not have the very useful "detailed" tab which included the design/construction designation). It almost seems like the USGBC is trying to hide this info...

February 23, 2015 - 4:44 am

Megan, am I not reading the credits quick reference table on page 20 of the v4 reference guide correctly or does it really have glitches? For instance, I am reading some points shown to the Fundamental Refrigerant Management Prerequisite across all rating systems. Also, unreasonable amount of points for the Cooling Tower Water Use (18 points). What am I missing?

July 23, 2014 - 10:10 am

The design vs. construction designations are not currently viewable in the credits page interface in new LEED Online, but will be coming soon. In the meantime, the v4 Reference Guides include quick reference tables with an easy look up for the design/construction designation for each credit. Check out page 20 of the BD+C v4 Reference Guide (overview section: http://www.usgbc.org/sites/all/assets/section/files/v4-guide-excerpts/Ex...) or page 17 of the ID+C v4 Reference Guide (overview section: http://www.usgbc.org/sites/all/assets/section/files/v4-guide-excerpts/Ex...) for the quick reference tables.

June 9, 2014 - 4:23 am

Hi there! Do you know how you can assign specific people to specific credits in the new LEED Online? I've worked out how to add project members but how do you link them to a specific credit? Also i have heard that you can assign 'tasks' but I cannot work out where to do that....any help much appreciated!

July 23, 2014 - 10:10 am

In new LEED Online, all project team members have access to all of the credits, so there is no need to assign team members to credits. We don’t currently have task assignments, but we’re exploring different project management tools to include in the system.

May 15, 2014 - 3:40 am

Is there a way to review the new system without officially registering a new project (and completing the certification agreement)?

July 23, 2014 - 10:10 am

Not currently, although you can preview forms here: http://www.usgbc.org/sampleforms, and you can preview the certification agreement here: www.usgbc.org/resources/leed-certification-agreement.

February 26, 2014 - 2:08 pm

Hi, can anyone tell me how to make the LOV3 work on any current browser? I have tried on a Mac and on a Windows machine. I can't register a project. We were all told that we could register 2009 projects through 2015 but it seems that this technology barrier is making it impossible. Please advise!

February 26, 2014 - 3:04 pm

Katherine, we have an active forum devoted to folks troubleshooting issues just like this, and sharing their solutions. I would post your question there, and/or read the posts. See LEED Online forum.

December 12, 2013 - 11:02 pm

It is Dec. 13 now and I still cannot find the webpage of LEED online V4. Can anyone provide the link?


December 20, 2013 - 6:13 pm

Yes, it is http://new.leedonline.com, or https://www.usgbc.org/leedonline.new