Please upgrade your browser. This site requires a newer version to work correctly. Read more

How to match LEED 2009 rating systems to LEED v4

Published on Written by Posted in LEED

With the launch of LEED v4, you may have noticed that we changed how we talk about the rating systems. While it can seem a little confusing, we're here to help. Let's take a look at the 2009 rating systems on the left and then filter them through our special v4 lens. Here's what we get:

How LEED 2009 matches up to LEED v4 

Ok, so that was neat! But let's get into specifics:

How many rating systems are there?

There are five rating systems: LEED for Building Design and Construction (BD+C), LEED for Interior Design and Construction (ID+C), LEED for Building Operations and Maintenance (O+M), LEED for Neighborhood Development (ND), LEED for Homes Design and Construction.

Wait, what? Aren't there over ten?

Yes and no. There are still many variations of LEED for different project types, but we've organized them into these five larger areas that reflect the different markets and phases of building life: Building Design and Construction, Interior Design and Construction, Operations and Maintenance, Neighborhood Development, and Homes Design and Construction. Each of the rating systems you were familiar with in LEED 2009 fit into one of these pretty nicely. In fact, you might already be familiar with this structure because it's how GBCI has been organizing certification information for years.

Then did you get rid of rating systems?

No. We just organized LEED to better adapt as the right solution for your project. For instance, in v4 there are two options for school projects: one for Building Design and Construction (BD+C), and one for Operations and Maintenance (O+M). This better addresses the scope of the project and the use of the project.

How do I know whether to use Homes or BD+C: New Construction?

Good question! Here's what the decision tree looks like for this very question:

If your project is a single family home or a multi-family building with LESS THAN 8 floors, you should use Homes or Multifamily Midrise. If your project is a multi-family building with more than 8 floors, you should use LEED BD+C: New Construction.

Is this better?

We think so. We hope this makes it easier for you to figure out which rating system to use. Narrowing it down from five to one seems easier than 15 to one. But we're also trying to make LEED a more streamlined process across projects since they often share the same valuable resources (no more looking for the supplement to the supplement of the reference guide!)

What if I'm still confused?

If you're ever in doubt about which rating system to use, please talk to one of our customer service representatives. They're there to help you in situations just like these. Visit our help section, or contact us.

Do you need a cheat sheet to keep track of all the names and acronyms? (Fun fact: we did.) Here's a version for you to keep.


  • 10
    Tiffany Coyle made 10 contributions in the last 6 months

Tiffany Coyle

U.S. Green Building Council
USGBC Articles can be accessed in the USGBC app for iOS or Android on your iPhone, iPad or Android device.
iOS App on App StoreAndroid app on Google Play

21 commentsLeave a comment

Sustainable Design Engineer / Greening Specialist, EcoConsulting
Hello Nora, This new system is pretty much simpler, however i have the following questions: In case i have a 5 story multifamily residential building, do i have the choice to either pursue LEED for Homes - Multifamily midrise, or LEED BD+C, or i am obliged to pursue the LEED for homes? LEED for Homes requires the assessment of a LEED for Homes green rater, only available in the US. If a 5-story multifamily residential building is being built out of the US, like the case of many projects, they will no longer be able to pursue LEED certification? Thanks:)
Director of Residential Business Development, U.S. Green Building Council
Hi William, I'm happy to answer your question and thank you for your interest in LEED for Homes. With LEED v4 a 5-story multifamily project can only use the LEED for Homes program. This is the case for any residential project up to 8-stories. At 9-stories a residential project can use LEED BD&C New Construction. We have many LEED for Homes (including multifamily) projects in international markets that have successfully certified while using the Green Rater verification method. Thank you for your questions, Kelsey Mullen
Student, USGBC Collin College
I am unsure of which LEED for Homes I can take at this moment and which reference guide I should be using...2009 v3 or the latest v4 version? Which one will be valid in three to four years or longer?
Digital Marketing Manager, U.S. Green Building Council
Hi Aida, at this time the LEED AP Homes will feature LEED 2009 content, and you should use the LEED 2009 Reference Guide or Study Bundle. We expect the Homes exam to feature LEED v4 content in 2015, at which point the LEED 2009 Reference Guide will no longer be relevant for the exam.
Mechanical Engineer, Contrack Cyprus Limited
I attend LEED GA (Ver-3) exam on 3rd June,But i could not succeeded. I am planing to re appear before end of June -2014,Could you please confirm me on which version i have to re appear for the exam? Your prompt response is highly appreciated. Thanks Mohamed
Digital Marketing Manager, U.S. Green Building Council
Hi Mohamed, If you take the exam before June 15, 2014, it will feature LEED 2009 content, and if you take the exam after June 30, 2014, it will feature LEED v4 content. Learn more.
Project Assistant, R&O Construction
I just want to verify that if I test for LEED AP BD+C on June 13th I'm still testing on the 2009 version.
Digital Marketing Manager, U.S. Green Building Council
Yes, you are correct Jennifer. If you take the LEED AP BD+C exam on June 13, 2014, you will be tested on LEED 2009.
Hi Nora I have an existing building that I want to certify for LEED. Do I need to have LEED credentials . Is it the green associate or the LEED AP V4.
Digital Marketing Manager, U.S. Green Building Council
Hi Fahd, you do not need to be a LEED professional to certify your building.
  • of
  • 3

Leave a comment Don't have an account? Create one

You must be signed in to leave a comment.

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • Share on LinkedIn
In LEED 11.19.2015

Harvard breaks LEED record

In LEED 11.19.2015

LEED v4 O+M: Multifamily approved by USGBC membership

In LEED 11.17.2015

Live. Learn. Work. Play. LEED. [video]

In LEED 11.16.2015

LEED v4 education suites: Sign up today