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LEED 2009 Registration Extended to October 2016

The market needs additional time to prepare for LEED v4, says USGBC, in keeping LEED 2009 registration open longer.
October 29, 2014

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has decided that requiring new LEED projects to register for LEED v4 as of June 2015 was too soon and has shifted that date back to October 31, 2016. In an announcement released this morning, USGBC said that it was giving the market more time to get ready for LEED v4 based on feedback it received during last week's annual Greenbuild conference.

According to USGBC, 61% of respondents to a survey said they are “not ready” or “unsure” if they are ready for LEED v4 and require additional time to prepare. 

USGBC launched LEED v4 in November 2013 as a more rigorous and fresh take on the LEED green building rating system, including new concepts like product transparency, whole building life-cycle analysis, and newer energy standards. The package came with a cushion: leading-edge LEED projects could register for LEED v4 right away, but you could keep registering for LEED 2009 until the window closed in June 2015. Want to play it safe? Register your project now for LEED 2009; upgrade to LEED v4 later when the kinks are worked out.

As of earlier this month, nine LEED v4 projects had been certified (one of which has shared its full documentation with LEEDuser), and 304 had started the process by registering during 2014. That's 15 times fewer than the 4,493 LEED 2009 projects registered to date. Between those numbers, the Greenbuild survey, and other market feedback, USGBC apparently decided it had heard enough and extended the LEED 2009 window another 16 months.

In a press release, Rick Fedrizzi, CEO of USGBC, said, “When USGBC launched LEED v4 last year, we set out with one goal in mind—to raise the bar in a way that challenges the building industry to reach higher than ever before. This is our nature and USGBC and its members’ collective mission. However, the market has requested additional time to prepare for LEED v4, so we are responding. “ 

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Fedrizzi added, "Our international LEED users, which account for some 50% of new LEED registrations, have also indicated they would like to have more time to move onto the new rating system. This extension will be especially helpful to them.”

The LEED v4 Materials and Resources (MR) credits have caused the most angst for LEED users, with many raising questions about whether the new Building Product Disclosure and Optimization credits are too complicated, not workable, or simply not a good idea.

That credit might get an overhaul. Also at Greenbuild last week, USGBC announced a Supply Chain Optimization Working Group, the charter of which is not confined to the vague Option 3 of Building product disclosure and optimization—material ingredients; it's also tasked with "explor[ing] new and innovative ideas to evolve" all three options of that credit, which includes a variety of programs. (Nadav Malin, president of BuildingGreen, which publishes LEEDuser, has been tasked with facilitating the working group, working with Scot Horst, chief product officer at USGBC.) 

USGBC and the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) have not announced whether the change will impact credentialing, which switched over earlier this year to LEED v4 based exams for LEED Green Associates and LEED Accredited Professionals (LEED APs). Our guess is that there will not be a change here.

Mara Baum, vice president and sustainable design leader for healthcare at HOK, reacted positively to the news. She told LEEDuser, "This will help ease the transition to a very different and challenging system for design practitioners, owners, and manufacturers alike. Progressive organizations will continue their shift towards v4 criteria, while others can continue to advance their projects with v2009. USGBC will continue to develop incentives to encourage teams to either switch to v4 or to substitute v4 credit language where appropriate."

Referring to the 18-month cushion included in the LEED v4 launch, Baum noted, "This is the second time that required registration for v4 has been delayed. The first delay allowed USGBC to put more effort into fine-tuning tools such as the online LEED credit library and Web-based reference guide. Ironically the LEED tools are more advanced at this point than they had been at the release of 2009—it’s the market that isn’t ready yet. The roll out of LEED v4 would have been particularly challenging in jurisdictions that require certification for all buildings, or all buildings of a certain size and/or typology."

What's your reaction to the extension of LEED 2009?


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January 26, 2017 - 7:59 am

The USGBC press release says "the last day v3 projects can submit for CERTIFICATION, remains June 30, 2021".
For projects that chose the split review, does it mean that we need to achieve the final certificate by 30 June 2012, or just to submit the Design Review?

January 26, 2017 - 9:34 am

Thanks Marcus. It's clear now.

January 26, 2017 - 9:25 am

You will need to start the review process by that date. So yes that could be the submission of the design preliminary review.

November 19, 2014 - 9:02 am

Hi all, I wanted to update the group that earlier this week, LSC held a vote and voted to keep the original sunset date of LEED 2009 (the last day LEED projects can submit for registration of that system) as June 30, 2021.

USGBC is also working on a plan that will encourage projects to use LEED v4 through incentives and education. An article posted yesterday detailing some of the activities underway: http://www.usgbc.org/articles/new-offerings-leed-v4-projects.

November 19, 2014 - 11:28 am

Thank you Bill, for your correction. Even the Marketing & Communications VP makes errors sometimes!

November 19, 2014 - 10:15 am

USGBC was actually going to *charge* project teams $100 to switch from v3 to v4? Are you kidding? USGBC should offering free registration and a rebate for those willing to move from v3 to v4 given all of the wavering, misinformation, and uncertainty around the new system.

And the web site still has no iOS support. Come on, USGBC. Get with the program!

November 19, 2014 - 10:11 am

Can the USGBC Marketing & Communications VP please use accurate terminology.

"The registration close date for all LEED 2009 rating systems has been extended to October 31, 2016. Please note, while the registration date has been extended, the last day projects can submit for CERTIFICATION, also called the sunset date, remains the same: June 30, 2021. The decision to keep the sunset date in 2021 was voted and approved by the LEED Steering Committee."

November 12, 2014 - 6:30 am

USGBC has announced that LEED 2009 project registration is extended to October 2016. Does anyone knows if the same applies for the LEED GAs and APs exams?

November 12, 2014 - 11:54 am

The v4 exams are here to stay. This was confirmed by USGBC in the comments section of the press release on their website.

November 12, 2014 - 7:46 am

The exams had already switched over in June of this his year. I doubt they are going to roll back those.

November 10, 2014 - 11:35 pm

This extension is most unfortunate as it makes LEED out of sync with ASHRAE’s energy targets for NZE per the ASHRAE 2020 Vision. In 2016 when LEEDv4 is adopted, the ASHRAE 90.1-2016 will be out and is intended to be 30% more efficient than 90.1-2010, but LEED-2009 buildings will still be referencing 90.1-2007. Also how does this timing reflect LEEDv5 whenever that is coming out? How is the USGBC going to push the building industry to higher levels of performance when they are not even keeping up with energy code adoptions across the nation?

November 12, 2014 - 12:10 pm

How about all those single pane glazed, asbestos sided, newspaper (no) insulation farmhouses? What's Iowa code say about them? :)
I think you guys are going a little overboard, if a project wants to go for LBC, v4, or v3 that's what the project team is going to do.
I understand certain people put a lot of effort into improving the system (I did a little bit) and it understandably irritates them but v4 kind of looks like a mess (that's coming from someone who tries to know every detail of the rating systems).
Requiring different energy codes based on registration dates does seem like a really good idea for projects that are going to go on for a long time yet.

November 12, 2014 - 11:47 am

The ASHRAE 90.1 baseline needs to be upgraded for v3.
If the USGBC insists on holding to the delay of v4, v3 will become an embarrassment as it slides further and further behind energy codes. L is meant to stand for leadership.
In Iowa, v3 is already getting a little embarrassing as we discuss implementing ASHRAE 90.1-2013 next year, 2015.

November 11, 2014 - 4:09 pm

I've heard similar that LEED v5 is not yet under development.

November 11, 2014 - 12:32 pm

My impression is that v5 is not even on the radar yet but I could be wrong. I have not heard anything about how the development cycle for LEED will change. There was some discussion a while back about annual updates but I am not sure if this has evolved.

Your second question is certainly fundamental to market transformation.

November 10, 2014 - 5:39 pm

I would suggest that USGBC provide a more in depth explanation for the delay. In my opinion those of us who have invested hundreds of hours and our heart and soul into developing v4 deserve a better explanation. The rationale provided to date are transparently at the surface level. All this does is leaves a major void that potentially gets filled with rumor and innuendo. A simplistic press release just is not enough. Better communication from USGBC would certainly help those of us who have invested a large parts of our lives in helping LEED to transform the market. The few folks commenting in the forum are just the tip of the iceberg.

November 11, 2014 - 1:13 pm

Chris, I think we are the same incremental change needs to come back boat.

If by non-functioning credits you mean credits that did not seem to do anything, that was intentional. If all of the LEED credits were hard to do then you must have fewer credits in LEED.

In terms of VERY urgent global warming, the problem with LEED is that it is based on ASHRAE as the sole determiner of points won.

I managed to keep a LEED project at Platinum, much to the shock of the GBIC who seemed to bet against me that I would only earn Gold for the project after the preliminary LEED review. The energy analyst was forced by remodel the project, and the reviewers knew that several point would be lost. I was not worried as much because I knew the changes would result in points lost, but should not be significant in terms of total energy use. I was correct. The project earned every energy point it originally submitted, and it was able to slightly reduce the amount of on-site renewables that were allocated to the project to earn all of the energy points possible.

So, a project that suddenly loses several LEED energy points somehow documents that it actually uses less total energy than a "more efficient" LEED building. That is a problem with how ASHRAE points are awarded in LEED. That Platinum building is responsive to global warming, LEED energy efficiency notwithstanding.

November 11, 2014 - 12:54 pm


I'll agree and disagree. It's been 15 years since LEED NC v2.0 was introduced. 2.1, 2.2 were very minor changes. Even 3.0 didn't actually eliminate any non-functioning credits. LEED has been overdue for changes in the material and IEQ sections for quite some time. If not now, when?

Having said that, I think the approach going forward should be toward regular, incremental changes, on a predictable schedule. A continuous maintenance approach similar to other standards.

Further, I worry that we've lost sight of the crucial part of our mission. A colleague said it best - "rating systems have taken on more and more social and economic issues – these are all worthy causes, nice-to-have, but compared to the frightening consequences of global warming and need for VERY urgent global action they are of marginal importance."

November 11, 2014 - 12:46 pm

The material credit evolution was discussed for LEED v2009, even during v2 development. The changes were deferred. Because the changes to the materials credits were significant they merited being the sole reason to move LEED one-step forward with minimal changes made elsewhere. In my opinion, moving to a new version of ASHRAE is not a minimal change. ASHRAE updates are necessary changes that could have been included with a revamp of the materials credits.

November 11, 2014 - 12:34 pm

The materials credits clearly needed to evolve but maybe it should have been more incremental.

November 11, 2014 - 12:06 pm

Marcus, the solution to keeping current is what was done with LEED during LEED v2 (2.0, 2.1, 2,2). That worked well. Why did the USGBC decided to go with a wholesale revamp of LEED is what should be explained. A very intelligent group of people figure that going with .x versions were necessary to not overwhelm the market with too many changes made at one time. That hard work people like put "our heart and soul into" has been completely erased.

LEED 2009.1 (v3.1) should have gone out a few years with standards updated to be current--and energy point adjusted to keep some reasonable similarity with 3.0 such that v3 projects are not penalized by new standard version. Changes to credits that were not based on standards would be minimal, and changes made would need to be justified.

LEED v4.0 is where the ratings bar moves upwards--harder to earn points. But once again, wholesale credit requirement changes would be avoided.

November 10, 2014 - 1:27 pm

Gary--I'm interested in your experience with the College that couldn't do EBOM v4 because of the prereqs. Can you say which prereqs were the challenge? And, perhaps more to the point, will the school be in a position to achieve by the original v3 phase-out date of June 2015? Or by the new phase-out date of Oct 2016? Or are they something that will continue to exclude those projects?

November 11, 2014 - 10:30 am

Taryn. The LSC's responsibilities are:
The LEED Steering Committee (LSC) is an integrated group of volunteers and staff charged with developing and maintaining LEED as a leadership tool, preserving the integrity of the LEED rating systems, and ensuring the use of the consensus process to evolve LEED in accordance with the mission, guiding principles, and strategic plan of USGBC. (Taken directly from the USGBC website)
With respect to you and your team it looks like that the LSC might well have failed in those duties, namely : 'maintaining LEED as a leadership tool' and 'preserving the integrity of the LEED rating systems'.
In great mitigation I do believe that these decisions were taken by staff at higher 'pay-grade' levels than those of the hard working staff associated with the day to day running of these committees, however we are all now fighting a rear guard action to mitigate these poor decisions (V4 backslide to V3 and LDP) when LSC should have perhaps provided the opportunity for committees, membership and staff to have better input.
Obviously looking back membership has probably seen this coming for some time and should have requested bigger roles than they currently have, but turning some of these decisions around while allowing a 'saving of face' is going to be an uphill struggle.

November 10, 2014 - 4:48 pm

Hi Glen - the decision to leave LEED 2009 open for the additional time was driven by staff (and not an LSC vote). In the past as well, this has been a staff decision rather than something we've taken to the committee.

November 10, 2014 - 4:35 pm


Thank you USGBC for poking your head back in! Can you confirm that the LEED Steering Committee was engaged on the decision to push back the registration close date?

November 10, 2014 - 4:33 pm

The LEED Steering Committee will be discussing the LEED 2009 sunset date and will have a definitive sunset date in the next week or so, provided there is agreement within the LSC.

November 10, 2014 - 3:54 pm

Apparently policies are meant to be unilaterally changed.

November 10, 2014 - 3:50 pm

USGBC has already indicated that the sunset date will not change for LEEDv2009.

November 10, 2014 - 3:33 pm

USGBC policy is to sunset rating systems 6 years after the date they stop taking registrations.

November 10, 2014 - 3:28 pm

I'm a bit confused about your question. Are we talking about the now new registration close or the sunset of v3? Assuming you meant sunset, that wasn't an issue. (06/30/2021)
The University was registered in 2013 and chose to pursue EB:OM v4 under the pilot program. Prerequisites EA and IEQ were the main issue. Also accruing enough points for the goal of Silver was part of the decision to move back to v3.

EAc2: Min Energy Performance (then gaining any points under EAc4), IEQp1: Min IAQ Performance. We could achieve WEp1, but couldn't get any of the 5 points with WEc2: Indoor Water Use Reduction under budget constraints.

The new 'registration close' date is a good thing. I'm wondering if the sunset date will be pushed to coincide?
Hope this helps.

November 10, 2014 - 11:47 am

One thought that keeps coming into my mind is how this comes on the heals of the recently announced 'partnership' with ACC. My guess is that this has something to do with the delay. In an effort to for ACC to partner in good faith with USGBC, this seems like a likely request 'delay v4' and give us time to work out the 'kinks' with disclosure. The ACC is notorious for delay tactics. This has the air of that for sure.

November 11, 2014 - 8:48 am

I agree with the tight lip confirmation. I see the ACC lobbying on a national level having a huge influence on the 1.5 yr delay. Why 1.5 yr? Why not 6 months? 6 months should have been plenty for anyone needing to catch up. Pretty much everyone was already gearing up for next July's v4 implementation since 2013. Here is an article about the ACC influence in blocking v4 in Ohio:
Sad that USGBC is giving into this politic vs. plowing ahead as we all did 15 years ago. LEED or no LEED, we will continue to move along with HPDs (and ZNE, and health, and resiliency...)

November 10, 2014 - 2:38 pm

I would say their tight lip on this is a point of confirmation.

November 10, 2014 - 2:40 pm

Some are making that same connection re: the delay and the ACC.


November 10, 2014 - 12:00 pm

Thanks. Of course as soon as I wrote it and sent it I figured it out. Very interesting thought. Things that make you go hummmm?

November 10, 2014 - 11:56 am

American Chemistry Council

November 10, 2014 - 11:54 am

Sorry drawing a blank - ACC?

Assuming it is not the Atlantic Coast Conference.

November 10, 2014 - 11:46 am

I was wondering how much of the decision to delay was due to international uptake. A significant portion of LEED projects are from outside the US and I think these projects represent the biggest growth area for LEED in general. Market transformation is certainly subjective and the same action in one market may be very transformative but in another represents the status quo. If this is the reason for the delay why not extend international projects but stick to the original deadline for US projects.

May 14, 2015 - 9:26 am

Thanks for this perspective--it was easy to assume that USGBC was being influenced by the chemical manufacturers. It's nice to add the international perspective to keep in mind that the markets in many countries need to be drawn along at an appropriate pace. V4 takes into account the increase in code standards here in the US, while code elsewhere hasn't yet had as much of the upward the influence of LEED that the US market has had over the past bunch of years.

November 12, 2014 - 9:30 pm

FYI - On the USGBC website today, in a post titled "Our top things to know about Greenbuild 2014 and beyond"

"LEED 2009 extension: Stemming from many conversations with our international friends, USGBC is allowing LEED users to continue registering projects under the LEED 2009 rating system until October 2016."

Seems to confirm the international theory.

I'll tell you one thing - Massachusetts is ready to raise the bar. What will cause a drop in LEED projects here is a failure to maintain a meaningful difference between LEED and standard practice.

November 11, 2014 - 12:14 pm

I was told by a marketing person at the USGBC that international markets where the growth market. That was about one year ago. That has obviously changed. I can state for a fact, in California the drop in LEED projects is incredible. It is a dog-eat-dog consulting world. In my opinion, the market is not coming back. Many owners are expecting LEED to be a free-added service. Free LEED only works financially for the design team for projects with very high A&E fees.

November 10, 2014 - 3:15 pm

I might suggest that some of the international market, particularly parts of Europe, are ahead of the US in sustainable development. As i said transforming markets is relative to the level of the local market practice. Agreed that most countries are relatively new to this and there is much to do here and elsewhere. The question is how can USGBC/LEED best transform those markets. I certainly view market transformation as an ongoing proposition, not something even close to being conquered in the foreseeable future.

November 10, 2014 - 2:30 pm

Please let's slow down the green building saturation discussion as it is entirely not the case. The saturation argument is based on the premise that LEED certified buildings and ENERGY STAR labeled buildings are the same from a sustainability standpoint, which we all know is not reality. ENERGY STAR labeled buildings have no requirements for sustainable water, waste, purchasing, indoor environmental quality, pest control, cleaning (interior and exterior), landscaping, among many other items, thus it is misleading to consider LEED certified and ENERGY STAR labeled buildings as being synonymous.
Additionally, it should not be any surprise to the USGBC that international projects are registering at a higher pace than US projects because for most of the participating countries outside of the US LEED is still relatively new to them and they are several years (at least) behind the US when it comes to sustainable development and building operations.
As a culture we like to believe we can quickly conquer anything so that we can move on to the next newest opportunity, which is troubling in the world of sustainable construction and operations because in reality we have barely scratched the surface of opportunities in the US.

November 10, 2014 - 1:17 pm

Marcus, Strange that you should mention that. If you were at Delos roll out at GreenBuild, Dave Pogue (CBRE) gave a presentation where he was very convincing that USGBC has reach saturation in most metro areas....this would tie well with you comment that the main growth is outside the USA.....but how would that fit in with ACC?...perhaps ACC already knows that selling chemicals in USA is a lost cause but that outside the USA it's a growth field....a lot like the tobacco industry.

November 10, 2014 - 1:08 pm

I second this point!

November 10, 2014 - 11:30 am

Delaying V4 requirement will mean minimal uptake of V4 in the market for 2 years. Unfortunate, because V4 has some great additions.
This will sound "idealistic", but wouldn't it be great if GBCI would allow folks to use V3, but "swap" V4 credits in? Not as innovation credits (too few), but as straight out alternatives to certain credits now in V3......examples
-water submetering
-building envelope Cx
-demand response program participation
- monitoring-based Cx
- product EPDs
Example, a team registered in V3 doesn't have a shot at WEc1 ("water efficient landscaping"), maybe they have no landscaping or gardens, they get to swap this one for V4's water sub-metering credit.
Dream on.....

November 13, 2014 - 9:00 am

This is a good resource (thanks for sharing it), however, that list is not quite "dreamy" to me because it does not include some of the V4 credits that are truly new (like the ones I list). I wish they would append that list and add these.

November 10, 2014 - 11:41 am

Tom - Your dream was granted for some LEED v4 credits to be used in LEED 2009 back in January 2014. See http://www.usgbc.org/articles/use-v4-credits-your-v2009-project for additional information.

November 10, 2014 - 11:39 am

Tom, I agree with you that there are several credits that are easier in V4 than V3 and GBCI have in the past allowed V4 credits to be 'taken' under the alternative compliance path (ACP). However this usually means that teams take the easiest course and some credits, notably the energy credits (as Chris Schaffner notes) which we should be moving forward with are left out...after all who's going to pick the Energy Star requirement in V4 at E* 75, when you can take the easier route with V3 at 69?

November 10, 2014 - 11:10 am

Unfortunately, I have been unable to "convince" a facility manager that LEED EB was worth the cost. Providing the extension, USGBC gave me one more chance to work with the manager eventhough it is still a tough sell. I appreciated the extension for this reason. Thank you USGBC.