Rick Fedrizzi

LEED works. It's working to protect the environment. It's working to save you money. It's working to build better and stronger communities. And it works because of you.

Today, because of your work, LEED takes a significant step forward in its critical role of driving a more sustainable built environment.  With the overwhelming passage of LEED v4, our community once again embraced leadership and paved the way for the next generation of green building.

I remember back in 2008. We hadn’t even gone to ballot on LEED 2009, and I got an email from Brendan Owens, suggesting that we do a TAG-a-palooza. The purpose, I was told, was to get us all beginning to think about the next version of LEED.  

Since that time, hundreds of incredibly smart people, the vast majority of them volunteers, have spent thousands of hours developing, innovating, challenging, drafting, tweaking, beta testing and finally balloting this next version: LEED v4. Whereas LEED 2009 broadened and aligned aspects of the rating system, LEED v4 takes it to a whole other level, encouraging us to go further and reach higher than ever before.

While the development process wasn’t necessarily faster, it surely has been thorough and thanks to the help of more than 100 beta projects, when we roll it out at Greenbuild 2013 in Philadelphia, it will have been use-tested in a way that should make market uptake easier than ever before.

But make no mistake, LEED v4 will demand more of all of us—as it should. We know a whole lot more than we did when we first launched LEED NC 2.0 in 2000. LEED has driven deep and permanent change into building practice, public policy, product development, financial infrastructure and consumer choice, but we’ve only just begun. And using that progress as a platform to take LEED to the next level is not only appropriate, it’s also necessary, because the challenges to our environment, our health, our business growth and our future continue to demand that of us.

In skyscrapers and homes, in schools and hospitals, in iconic old structures and gleaming new ones, we have proven that LEED works. In all 50 states, in 140 countries and territories, on Main Street and Wall Street, at City Hall and on Capitol Hill, LEED works. In lower asthma rates and higher productivity scores, in better energy performance and more gallons of water saved, in lower electric bills and higher recycling (and yes, bicycling) rates, LEED works. In increasing taxpayer savings and lowering carbon emissions, LEED works.

We know that some think we might have gone too far; the new energy credits have a lot of people swallowing hard. We know that some think we’ve not gone far enough; I’ve been told by more than one person that the materials credits don’t nearly have enough teeth. But that’s why the LEED process works so well. We just keep at it, never settling for the status quo, which so infuriates our critics.

To the hard working LEED Steering Committee and the tireless TAGs and sub-committees, to the extraordinary LEED staff and all those who have supported them from that TAG-a-palooza to now, to those of you who were responsible for the 20,000 comments over six public comment periods, let’s raise a glass and toast this milestone that we, together, have achieved.

And please don’t forget to share your success stories with us on Facebook and Twitter using the hashtag #LEEDWorks.

Then let’s get back to work. Because a lot of people are already asking — What's next?