LEED v4 Changes: Exams and Deadline

Claire Moloney's picture
Claire Moloney
Consultant
June 26, 2014

As promised, LEED v4, the newest version of the green building rating system, launched at the US Green Building Council’s annual Greenbuild conference on November 20, 2013.

LEED is primed for major advances in environmental design with LEED v4.
LEED is primed for major advances in environmental design with LEED v4.
Credit: Poplar

The new rating system, which has already been tested by 122 beta projects, is now available to project teams. However, project teams will be able to choose to use LEED v2009, rather than the new rating system, until October 2016. After that deadline, LEED v4 will become mandatory for new projects.

Key Changes in LEED v4

When USGBC announced LEED v4, the organization described some key improvements: LEED v4 will include new market sectors, time saving support tools and resources, a stronger focus on building performance management, and new impact categories.

New market sectors. LEED v4 will address new market sectors by introducing rating systems for a wider selection of building types including: data centers, warehouses and distribution centers, hospitality, existing schools and retail, and mid-rise residential projects.

Tools and resources. The new LEED Online, which will be simpler and easier to use, will be released on December 9, 2013. All of the forms for LEED v4 are now in the Credit Library, rather than in LEED Online, which makes them more accessible to project teams who have not yet signed up on LEED Online. USGBC has also issued a revised certification policy manual and new reference guides (in web and print format) with videos and tutorials. USGBC will offer customer account management in addition to “LEED Coach” and “Proven Provider” programs, which will help to improve customer service.

Stronger focus on performance. In the past, LEED has gotten criticism for its strategy of certifying a building based on its design rather than its performance, because in many cases the buildings perform differently than anticipated (which can mean more energy and water use, etc., than expected). LEED will soon release a “Dynamic Plaque”, which will change to reflect a building’s real-time performance. LEED v4’s credits also encourage water and energy metering.

New impact categories. LEED has updated its credits to take climate change, health, water resources, biodiversity, the green economy, community and natural resources into account. It has added a new credit category, Location & Transportation, and added “Integrative Process Credits” that reflect the important of integrated project design with strong communication between all project team members.

For more detailed, category by category changes, read our follow up on changes to the LEED v4 categories.

Deadline Prior to LEED v4 Exams

The LEED Green Associate and LEED AP exams will change to reflect the improvements and adjustments to the new LEED v4 rating system. The current exams, which will be in place until May 31st, 2014, focus on the 2009 version of the rating system.

USGBC had originally announced that it would launch the new version of the LEED exams at Greenbuild, and that professionals would have the choice of taking either the old or new exams until at least the end of the first quarter of 2014. However, USGBC did not release the new exams last week - instead, they will release them in June 2014. The deadline to take the old LEED exam is May 31, 2014. After that date, professionals will be required to take the new exams. All exam preparation materials for the LEED 2009 exams for LEED AP BD+C, LEED AP ID+C and LEED AP O+M, as well as LEED Green Associate exams for LEED 2009 will remain valid until the changeover date of May 31st, 2014. New v4 materials will be announced as the LEED v4 exam approaches.

The new LEED exams are expected to be more challenging because it will include new credits and a new credit category, so many professionals are rushing to take the exams before the sunset date in 2014. However, the structure of the credentials - the Green Associate and the LEED AP - is expected to remain unchanged.

For more information on passing the new LEED v4 Green Associate exam, see this article.

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