The world’s most widely used green building rating system, LEED, is getting updated to improve building performance and to integrate the latest reference standards. The current LEED rating system, which is LEED v4, was launched at the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in Philadelphia on November 20, 2013. Over the last years, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) was working on the LEED rating system to integrate the lessons learned from the green building projects. With LEED v4.1, the green building projects will be able to make a bigger contribution to reducing the global climate change, improve building performance, as well as expanding activities that positively impact human health and well-being.
On March 2018, registration for the beta version of the LEED Operations and Maintenance (LEED O+M) rating system was launched. As of January 2019, the registration is open for the LEED Building Design + Construction (LEED BD+C) and the LEED Interior Design + Construction (LEED ID+C) LEED v4.1 beta rating systems. The beta versions will be available throughout 2019 and with the feedback received from the green building projects that pursue LEED v4.1, the updated rating system will be launched after public commenting and the approval phase. People that are planning to take LEED exams are also curious about this change and want to know when the LEED credentialing exams will be effected with this change.
The LEED credentialing exams like LEED Green Associate or LEED AP BD+C, will be untouched throughout the 2019 and continue to be based on LEED v4. Once the beta rating system launches on 2020, the U.S. Green Building Council will start updating the LEED exams to reflect the LEED v4.1 with a prior notice. Even though the exact dates are not yet announced by USGBC, the LEED exams will be based on the LEED 4.1 version by the end of June 2020. The current beta rating systems are not yet finalized and will definitely see some revisions. With those revisions, the USGBC will start updating the LEED reference guides which will include the finalized v4.1 rating system. At that point, the LEED credentialing exams will be updated with a prior notice. USGBC will allow for a specific period of time for test-takers to take the LEED v4 exam as they had started their studies while the LEED v4.1 was still in beta. During this time frame, LEED exam prep providers (like us) will also be able to update their LEED courses, LEED practice tests, and study guides.
What’s New in LEED v4.1?
First of all, LEED v4.1 is not a full version change, rather it is a critical update to reflect the lessons learned from the LEED v4 rating systems. For LEED BD+C projects, there are some revisions on credit requirements to streamline the certification process, and credits like Low-Emitting Materials, Daylight, Rainwater, and Heat Island Reduction are more impacted with this change. The credits that were tested through the LEED Pilot Credit Library are expected to become actual credits in the newer rating system. The performance thresholds of some credits have been updated to be more straightforward. Additionally, with LEED v4.1, the international projects will have easier time achieveing the LEED certification as it will contain more options on complying with the project’s local standards.
From the beta version we can also say that not all of the prerequisites and credits are impacted with this change. Approximately one-third of all the LEED BD+C prerequisites and credits are expected to stay as is. In summary, with these revions we can say that LEED v4.1 will be more performance based and is more focused on implementation.