LEED v4: Lessons From LEED v4 Beta Test


By Sherry Bonelli

EDC Magazine has an amazing article on LEED v4 beta testers. It’s definitely worth a read…

The backlight, uplight and glare (BUG) rating method in LEED’s light pollution reduction credit may sound strange to experienced LEED professionals, but it’s proving to be a winner for teams that are taking LEED v4 out for a spin. Even though this new option is more rigorous in terms of its actual impact, designers are finding it more straightforward and predictable, according to Chrissy Macken, manager of LEED at USGBC. For example, on an elementary school in Lake Mills, Wis., that credit has been solidly in the “yes” column from early in the design process; teams have rarely had that much confidence that early that they could achieve the light pollution reduction credit in previous versions of LEED. That’s just one example of how USGBC is simultaneously raising the bar on performance and simplifying documentation requirements in the new rating systems.

LEED v4 Higher Standard, More Practical Documentation

“It’s not nearly as scary as one is led to believe through the rumor mill,” noted Theresa Lehman, director of sustainable services at Miron Construction, the firm building the new Lake Mills Elementary through a design-build contract. “The credits might seem more stringent because we are raising the bar and pushing sustainability to the next level, but meeting the requirements is actually more practical.”

LEED v4 does reset the bar, however. Lehman was challenged during the project interview about whether the team could make this school greener than the middle school, which earned LEED Platinum in 2009. In response to that challenge, she proposed participating in the v4 beta, and explained that based on her analysis, even if they succeeded in creating a higher-performing building, it might only achieve LEED Gold.

The bar is also going up in LEED for Existing Buildings (EB:O&M). Gavin Gardi had already done an EB:O&M analysis of the Michigan State Housing Development Authority office building in Lansing based on LEED v2009, and determined that the team was “going to be able to achieve Silver fairly easily.” After deciding instead to take the project through the v4 beta, they’re finding that, “with the same level of effort we will achieve LEED Certified,” according to Gardi.

Read more about LEED v4 Beta Testers…

NOTE: You must first register your email address at EDC Magazine in order to read the article — but it’s totally worth it!




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