LEED v4.1

All in – one building, one space, at a time.

LEED v4.1

LEED v4.1 is the next generation standard for green building design, construction, operations and performance

LEED helps buildings to focus on efficiency and leadership to deliver the triple bottom line returns of people, planet and profit. Today’s version of LEED, LEED v4.1, raises the bar on building standards to address energy efficiency, water conservation, site selection, material selection, day lighting and waste reduction.

LEED is the world’s leading green building project and performance management system, delivering a comprehensive framework for green building design, construction, operations and performance:

  • The rigorous focus on material selection, human comfort, air quality and human health features of a building rightly prioritizes the most important asset of the building: human beings.
  • The specific focus on social equity ensures that buildings are not considered in isolation of their communities but prioritize access and inclusiveness for all.
  • To ensure a building is resilient from natural and unnatural disturbances a comprehensive set of design and construction strategies has been established in LEED v4.1.

LEED v4.1:

  • Ensures that all building stakeholders – developer, property manager, occupant and the community benefit from sustainable design, construction, operations and performance.
  • Supports projects to implement sustainable and healthy building practices to realize environmental, economic, social and community benefits for decades to come.
  • Emphasizes integrative design to ensure better design, translation of design into high quality construction, optimize operations and high performance of a building.
  • Helps buildings deliver higher quality beyond market practices by incorporating innovative design, technologies, construction and material selection strategies.
  • Focuses on both performance oriented sustainable strategies and outcomes.
  • Helps buildings consume fewer resources, reduce operating costs, increase value and create safer and healthier environments for its occupants.
  • Helps buildings reduce their GHG/carbon emissions.
  • Helps buildings use toxin free materials to deliver cleaner indoor air to improve productivity, focus and reduce respiratory illnesses of its occupants.
  • Prioritizes sustainable materials, helping manufacturers to design, produce and deliver building materials that reduce a building’s environmental impact. LEED v4.1 also helps manufacturers reduce energy, water, waste during manufacturing, carbon footprint during distribution and transportation and overall carbon emissions through the entire production lifecycle.

Start a project

Explore education

USGBC is your starting point for engaging with LEED v4.1 educational content while earning continuing education. Access on-demand LEED v4.1 education available for each LEED rating system. Visit the USGBC events calendar to view live and virtual LEED v4.1 events.

LEED v4.1 Building Design +Construction

The LEED v4.1 evolution for the design and construction of full buildings focuses on accessibility, the most current standards and real-world project experiences. This rating system is for buildings that are new construction or major renovations. At least 60% of the project’s gross floor area must be complete by the time of certification (except for LEED BD+C: Core and Shell). You must include the entire building’s gross floor area in the project.

  • New Construction and Major Renovation. New construction or major renovation of buildings that do not primarily serve residential, K–12 educational, retail, data centers, warehouses and distribution centers, hospitality or health care uses.
  • Core and Shell Development. Buildings that are new construction or major renovation for the exterior shell and core mechanical, electrical, and plumbing units, but not a complete interior fit-out. LEED BD+C: Core and Shell is the appropriate rating system to use if more than 40% of the gross floor area is incomplete at the time of certification.
  • Schools. Buildings made up of core and ancillary learning spaces on K–12 school grounds. LEED BD+C: Schools may be used for higher education and nonacademic buildings on school campuses.
  • Retail. Buildings used to conduct the retail sale of consumer product goods. Includes both direct customer service areas (showroom) and preparation or storage areas that support customer service.
  • Data Centers. Buildings specifically designed and equipped to meet the needs of high-density computing equipment such as server racks, used for data storage and processing. LEED BD+C: Data Centers only addresses whole-building data centers (greater than 60%).
  • Warehouses and Distribution Centers. Buildings used to store goods, manufactured products, merchandise, raw materials or personal belongings, such as self-storage.
  • Hospitality. Buildings dedicated to hotels, motels, inns or other businesses within the service industry that provide transitional or short-term lodging, with or without food.
  • Healthcare. Hospitals that operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week and provide inpatient medical treatment, including acute and long-term care.

Updates

  • Energy metrics include both cost and greenhouse gas emissions (a first for LEED)
  • Upgrade to ASHRAE 90.1-2016
  • Applicable and achievable credit requirements throughout the rating system
    • For example, updated Rainwater Management requirements with a lower minimum percentile storm events and added guidance for zero-lot-line projects
    • And a new Renewable Energy credit better that addresses diverse methods of renewables procurement and evolving global renewables markets
    • Restructured Materials and Resources credits that include options acknowledging efforts at varying levels, bridging the gap from where the market is currently to the goals identified in LEED v4 and carried into LEED v4.1

Resources

LEED v4.1 Interior Design + Construction

LEED v4.1 for Interior Design and Construction includes many of the updates made in LEED v4.1 BD+C as well as several that focus on the realities of interior spaces. This rating system is for interior spaces that are a complete interior fit-out. In addition, at least 60% of the project’s gross floor area must be complete by the time of certification.

  • Commercial interiors. Interior spaces dedicated to functions other than retail or hospitality.
  • Retail. Interior spaces used to conduct the retail sale of consumer product goods. Includes both direct customer service areas (showroom) and preparation or storage areas that support customer service.
  • Hospitality. Interior spaces dedicated to hotels, motels, inns or other businesses within the service industry that provide transitional or short-term lodging, with or without food.

Updates

  • A new option within the Environmental Tobacco Smoke Control prerequisite that acknowledges potential limitations with addressing smoking in areas outside of the interior project’s control — smoking is still prohibited in the entire LEED project space
  • Acknowledgment for projects located within a LEED-certified building
  • Lower entry points for both the Daylight and Acoustic Performance credits to encourage more projects to consider daylight and acoustic performance during design
  • Greater focus on improving indoor air quality through more approachable air testing options and use of the latest standards for ventilation

Resources

LEED v4.1 Operations + Maintenance

The first step in launching LEED v4.1 included a version of the LEED rating system for existing buildings. This rating system is for buildings that are fully operational and occupied for at least one year. The project may be undergoing improvement work or little to no construction. Must include the entire building’s gross floor area in the project.

  • Existing Buildings. Existing whole buildings.
  • Existing Interiors. Existing interior spaces that are contained within a portion of an existing building. Interior spaces may serve commercial, retail or hospitality purposes.

Updates

  • A shift from documents for documentation to data for documentation by tracking performance in energy, water, waste, transportation, indoor air quality, toxin free environment and occupant satisfaction
  • Get certified and stay certified with data driven recertification guidance that aligns with certification requirements
  • LEED points are based on performance (score)
  • For the first time applies to buildings and interior spaces

Resources

LEED v4.1 Residential

LEED v4.1 presents a new approach to residential projects, that pulls the most relevant language from the BD+C and all residential focused rating systems and merges it with the priorities of the residential market. With the release of the new multifamily options in LEED v4.1, Residential BD+C becomes the required rating system for all single family and multifamily projects. Residential projects using LEED v4.1 may not use LEED BD+C.

Residential BD+C addresses residential buildings that are new construction or major renovation. At least 60% of the project’s gross floor area must be complete by the time of certification (except for LEED Residential BD+C: Multifamily Core and Shell Homes). Must include the entire building’s gross floor area in the project.

  • Single Family Homes. New single-family homes that are attached or detached, and multifamily buildings with up to four units.
  • Multifamily Homes. Applicable to any predominantly multifamily building with two or more units and any number of stories.
  • Multifamily Homes Core and Shell. Multifamily buildings that are new construction or major renovation for the exterior shell and core mechanical, electrical and plumbing units, but not a complete interior fit-out. It is the appropriate rating system to use if more than 40% of the gross floor area is incomplete at the time of certification.

LEED v4.1 Residential BD+C Multifamily Homes and Multifamily Homes Core and Shell are now available for registration in LEED Online for all countries except the United States and Canada. Projects in the United States and Canada can continue to use the LEED v4 rating systems available to residential projects and substitute credits from LEED v4.1 Residential.

Updates

  • One single program that consolidates all residential rating systems and guidance into three categories: Single Family Homes, Multifamily Core and Shell and Multifamily
  • Credits that have the highest value to consumers, such as energy and water savings; improved comfort, durability and health; and green materials are prioritized
  • Options added to existing credits lower both hard and soft costs to achieve certification
  • Multiple approaches for credit compliance are available as appropriate

Resources

Single family homes:

Multifamily homes:

LEED v4.1 Cities and Communities

A new way forward for resilient, green, inclusive and smart cities, LEED for Cities and LEED for Communities provides cities and communities with a globally consistent way to measure and communicate performance. LEED v4.1 expands the solutions for LEED for Cities and LEED for Communities to include two new project types, those in the planning and design phase and existing cities.

Cities are political jurisdictions or places defined by their municipal public sector governance (e.g., mayors or town managers) except in regions (especially Asia) where the term "city" is culturally understood as encompassing some places with private sector governance.

Communities are defined as every urbanized location that is not a "city," including sub-city locations (such as districts), and meta-city regions (such as counties).  In addition, privately developed or owned urban areas (for example, Songdo District or Rockefeller Center) generally fit within the definition of "Community," except where they are self-identified (per definition of "city" above) as cities.

There are two options available for cities and communities:

  • Plan and Design. New cities and communities that are in the planning/designing stage.
  • Existing. Cities and communities that are more than 75% built out.

Updates

  • Expanded rating system now includes standards from the STAR Community Rating System and elements of key GBCI green energy and infrastructure rating systems like PEER and SITES
  • Triple bottom line approach with scalable metrics that work at the city, county and regional scale
  • Flexible pathways to measure and advance local progress, including performance standards and proven strategies and best practices for improvement
  • Greater focus on improved social equity, quality of life and standard of living

Resources

New and developing cities and communities:

Existing cities and communities:

Register a city or community

LEED recertification

LEED recertification is an important step in protecting your building asset. Recertification helps you maintain and improve your building, while keeping your sustainability investment in place. Recertification is available to all occupied and in-use projects that have previously achieved certification under LEED — including BD+C and ID+C, regardless of their initial rating system or version.

This new guidance presents a simple and data-driven pathway, reassuring projects that they are meeting ever-changing goals and staying on the cutting edge.

Step 1: Review the Recertification Guide, which details the requirements and process.
Step 2: Contact us to activate your project’s recertification.

Once you’ve successfully competed recertification, your project will earn LEED for Operations and Maintenance (LEED O+M) certification under the newest available version of the rating system. Currently that is LEED v4.1.

Be part of LEED’s development

As a new feature of LEED development, USGBC is opening a call for ideas for the LEED rating systems. The current call for proposals opened July 9, 2019. Learn about the LEED development process.

Proposal requirements:

  • Proposals shall be expressed in terms of actual edits to the existing LEED language using tools provided by USGBC. Multiple proposals for change from the same person/organization for each LEED credit are permitted.
  • Proposals for change must be specific.
  • The rationale and technical justification for each proposal for change must be provided and must be technical in nature.

Submit your proposal

Read the most recent Call for Proposals Report.

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