The U.S. Green Building Council trumpets LEED v4 as “the future of green building,” and Canadian builders are about to find out all about it for themselves.
The Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) will continue to deliver and administer LEED in Canada. To help speed the change-over to LEED v4, the CaGBC is initiating the development of Alternative Compliance Paths (ACPs).
ACPs are a streamlined process for Canadian projects to show compliance with credit requirements for certification. The ACPs will help speed up delivery of the new system to market and make all LEED rating systems available in Canada, including those designed for new entrants such as data centres.
LEED v4 and the ACPs will officially be launched in early June at the CaGBC’s national conference in Toronto.
A next-generation rating system
“LEED v4 presents the next generation of building rating systems with increased emphasis on energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions, building performance and material lifecycle assessment,” Thomas Mueller, president and CEO of CaGBC, said in a statement.
On of the most significant inclusions in LEED v4 are Environmental Product Declarations, which Mueller called an important first step toward reducing environmental impacts from materials and enhancing public health.
An environmental product declaration (EPD) is a standardized means of conducting a life cycle assessment that quantifies the environmental impact of a product or system. Declarations include information on the environmental impact of raw material acquisition, energy use and efficiency, content of materials and chemical substances, emissions to air, soil and water and waste generation.
In Europe, EPDs are requested for every material and component intended to be used in green buildings.
Building performance is also enhanced with new water- and energy-metering requirements, and aspects such as integrative design, envelope commissioning and acoustics are now addressed in LEED v4.
Canadian builders given time to adapt
To assist the transition to LEED v4, Canadian projects can still register under the current rating system, LEED Canada 2009, until June 1, 2015. This will provide time for builders, owners and others to learn about and prepare for the new requirements.
In time, LEED v4 will add further improvements, such as web-based reference guides and simplification of documentation and submission requirements.
LEED v4 has already undergone substantial beta testing with nearly 100 building projects globally. The beta project teams helped the U.S. Green Building Council validate and improve aspects of the program such as reference guide content and online forms.
The world’s first building to achieve LEED v4 status is a 224,000-square-foot office edifice owned by Deutsche Asset & Wealth Management in Washington, D.C., that was certified under Operations and Maintenance: Existing Building rating system. The building achieved its LEED V4 status in November 2013, according to PR Newswire.
Canada came aboard in 2002
Mueller said that LEED is now the world’s most widely used green building program. Canada became the first international user in 2002.
“Canada’s commercial real estate sector has embraced LEED as the best standard to meet tenant demand for green office space and increase the environmental performance of buildings,” Andrew McAllan, senior vice-president and managing director for Real Estate Management at Oxford Properties Group and chair of the CaGBC board, said in a statement.
McAllan said Oxford anticipates LEED v4 will not only drive the market to achieve better requirements for building performance, but will set higher standards in materials and design that will improve tenant health and employee productivity.
In Canada, more than 1,000 LEED buildings have been certified and 4,000 registered, trailing only the U.S.