Will LEED v4 Push Sustainability to a New Level?

November 5th, 2013 - By

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is working hard to eventually work itself out of a job. Despite the naysayers who once thought the organization’s LEED® rating system was nothing more than a fad, I can tell you after 14 years of being involved with USGBC that LEED isn’t going away, at least not anytime soon. Since its introduction, LEED has influenced everything from building code standards to how materials are produced, essentially changing the way the world does business. There is no denying the ripple effect LEED has caused throughout the AEC industry, where its effects can be seen at many different levels of the building process. One of the most significant outcomes for our industry thus far has been the increase in collaboration and communication among project teams. In order to keep that momentum going, USGBC is now taking LEED–and possibly the global marketplace–to a whole new level with the recent introduction of LEED v4.

In this article from, authors Mikhail Davis and Melissa Vernon explore how the re-vamped materials and resources credits in LEED v4 could have a big impact on business. Even if you aren’t very familiar with the details of the credits, the authors do a good job of clearly laying out how the new standards will be a catalyst for change, bolstered by the competitive nature of the marketplace. Davis and Vernon argue that LEED v4 will accelerate four existing trends by incentivizing manufacturers to satisfy the new transparency and reporting requirements in order to keep up the demands of their LEED-credit-seeking clientele. These trends include increases in transparency, the use of Life Cycle Assessments (LCAs), responsible raw-materials sourcing, and hazard-based ingredients reporting, all of which reinforce USGBC’s goal of taking building projects and the marketplace as a whole to a new level of sustainability through the adoption of LEED v4.

What do you think, will the new standards keep USGBC’s momentum rolling or will the industry resist the latest changes and lead owners to begin seeking alternatives to LEED?

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