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The Cost of LEED v4

PDF Report

The Cost of LEED v4

How much will it cost to achieve LEED v4 certification?

“We’d love a green building, but can we afford it?”

“We’re required to be LEED Silver, but we’re not sure how to get there under the new rating system.”

“Sure, we’re interested in LEED, as long as it doesn’t cost extra.”

LEED v4 and cost uncertainty

With LEED v4, the U.S. Green Building Council did a “reboot” of the LEED rating system. Every credit category is filled with reinvented or completely new credits and prerequisites. The new LEED emphasizes an integrated process over checking easy credit boxes.

Even though LEED v4 represents a step forward in how we think about green buildings—something we should applaud—the market has been slow to embrace it, especially with the more familiar LEED 2009 system still fully available through most of 2016.

Why the hesitancy? There are some uncertainties in LEED v4 about how to earn credits (the Materials & Resources credits have a lot of people flustered) but the requirements aren’t that complicated. The main drag on LEED v4 adoption is cost uncertainty. (The higher bar for energy points is also a drag, but that’s more or less a cost issue as well.)

Project teams haven’t yet gotten familiar with what strategies they’ll need to earn credits, and what those will cost. And once you’ve picked strategies… what certification level will you achieve?

We’ve heard anecdotally that projects can expect to see the same project bumped down a level—from Gold to Silver, or Silver to Certified—under LEED v4. Is that true? And what will it cost to bump the project back up?

A team of experts specifies exact LEED v4 costs

In response to these questions, BuildingGreen, publisher of LEEDuser, assembled a team of professionals with hundreds of certified LEED projects between them. We gathered architects, engineers, cost estimators, and LEED experts to not only analyze the sustainable design strategies associated with each LEED credit, but also to assign actual costs to those strategies.

Our new report, The Cost of LEED v4, is structured to enable project teams to systematically address the complexity of evaluating sustainable design strategies on a LEED for New Construction (LEED-NC) project.

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