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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.


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    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.
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21 commentsLeave a comment

Thank you Very much Nora, one Last Question, if i want to take the LEED exam, do I need to registrer a project for LEED certification.
Chief Architect and Green Building credited Kuwait , Kuwait Technical Consulting Bureau
the understanding is that the V4 is differ in credits only and there is no difference in the basics
County of San Diego
If a project is not yet registered, how much longer will the 2009 version be available for certification?
Director, Marketing, U.S. Green Building Council
Hi Susan, Registration for LEED 2009 will close on June 1, 2015 so if you haven't registered, you have a little over a year if that's the version you would like to use.
Hello its Tobby Rask agin i have a few more questions maybe someone can help with... 1 . What are the requirements for meeting the smart location and linkages first prerequisite? 2. explain ssl credit 8? 3. explain ssl credit 9?
U.S. Green Building Council
Hi again Tobby,
You should look a look at each credit through our credit library ( to understand the intent and requirements for each. We'd also recommend referring to the reference guide for the rating system for more in depth explanations ( also has an excellent forum for each rating system where you can learn more from professionals in the field. As always, our customer service team is here to answer any questions you have (
can someone answer a few questions for me? 1. when should developers use the rating system? what is the reasonable minimum size and what is the reasonable maximum size of a typical neighborhood seeking the certifacation?
U.S. Green Building Council
According to the LEED 2009 reference guide: - This rating system should be used primarily during the planning and development stage of new green neighborhoods. - There is no minimum or maximum size for an ND project. Generally, a reasonable minimum size is at least two habitable buildings. The maximum area that can generally be considered a neighborhood is 320 acres, or half a square mile. A project larger than 320 acres is still eligible to certify, but may consider dividing the area into separate, smaller LEED-ND projects.
Principal, Green Building Academy
Hi Thanks for the article. There is a confusion on homes. LEED v4 user guide and web based reference manuals address homes a part of BD+C family ie LEED BD+C: Homes and Multi family low rise and LEED BD+C: Midrise but this article introduces new rating system family LEED Homes. Could you please clarify
Director, Marketing, U.S. Green Building Council
HI Bazeeth, You're right! When we released LEED v4, we listed the residential credits under LEED BD+C because all of the requirements are for design and construction projects. In order to simplify and streamline, we're starting to drop the "BD+C" and replace it with "Homes". What does this change for you? Not much. The credits will not change (they are still for design and construction projects) and Homes has always had its own reference guide and even its own section in LEED online. All of the information will remain the same and in the same place – you'll just notice, we are removing the prefix.
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