kjell anderson
2 minute read

The host of the Seattle roadshow shares his impressions of the event.

The LEED v4.1 Pacific Region Roadshow ran from February 11–25, through San Francisco, Portland, Seattle and Vancouver. Each event featured an executive breakfast with USGBC and GBCI President and CEO Mahesh Ramanujam, followed by a technical workshop led by USGBC's Director of Technical Solutions, Lisa Stanley.

The LEED v4.1 Pacific Region Roadshow, featuring Mahesh Ramanujam, stopped into Seattle in February as part of a West Coast tour. I was pleased to serve as the local host for this event, which gathered the USGBC Washington community and had in attendance many of the leaders of Seattle’s green building scene.

LMN Architects' Sam Miller opened the executive breakfast panel by sharing that his first project, the Seattle Central Library, was among the very first LEED projects.

Next, Ramanujam illustrated the widespread impact of LEED over the first 25 years: over 45,000 certified projects in 167 countries and territories. As a global force, LEED is well understood in the marketplace. LEED Zero, for example, is entering the crowded space of net zero certifications—of which many are focused on energy—but with LEED’s brand recognition and experience, it is expected to take off. Many large companies, seeing inaction on climate change nationally, are likely to be interested in this new option that aligns with the LEED plaque they are already targeting.

The challenge of LEED’s widespread impact includes the continual balance of improving the LEED systems while maintaining ensuring that no one in the market is left behind and the industry, as a whole, progresses. LEED v4.1 is intended to mainstream the next generation of LEED buildings by revising some credit requirements to make them more widely accessible to the current marketplace. As part of a focus on climate change, however, LEED v4.1 upgrades the baseline performance from ASHRAE 2010 to 2016 and incorporates carbon emissions reductions as a metric.

Several technical questions were posed as well, especially about LEED v4.1 and the direction of LEED. One of the more interesting questions focused on pilot credits for equity and diversity.

It was great to see the USGBC leadership holding a dialogue about the future of sustainability beyond its normal circle, hitting San Francisco, Portland, Seattle and Vancouver, B.C., and I hope this becomes a regular event.