The transition to LEED v4 has begun. The LEED 2009 credentialing exams have already been phased out, and the LEED v4 A.P. and Green Associate exams go live on June 30, 2014. Just one year from now, owners that wish to get a project LEED certified will need to register under a LEED v4 rating system. The last day to register under LEED 2009 is June 27, 2015.

Paladino strongly supports LEED v4, but we’ve learned through firsthand experience that the new rating systems require a different approach than before. As we developed the LEED v4 Beta application for our Seattle office fit-out, we encountered all the changes you’ve probably already heard about: material transparency, updated reference standards, additional performance monitoring and more.

LEED v4 Links to Performance

LEED v4 is a holistic shift to a system of credits that is linked to performance-based outcomes. Credits that you pursued in the past may not be the same anymore. The new rating systems will require your making strategic decisions based on how LEED can best support your project goals. This is a positive because it increases the value of LEED and gets you a better project in the end.

We also understand, however, that not everyone has had time to consider the implications of these changes. If you have an upcoming project to certify and you’re not quite ready to try LEED v4, here’s what you need to know:

  • To register for LEED 2009, you only need a location and a rating system selection.
    All other project details, including building size, shape, features, population, design team, and schedule, can be provided or changed after you register.
  •  Registration can’t be transferred between project locations.
    In advance of the LEED 2009 launch, the USGBC experienced a flurry of registrations for the v2.0 and v2.2 rating systems because it was possible to register potential future projects before their locations were confirmed, and then update the project address later. That is no longer possible under LEED 2009 – each project must provide a zip code that can’t be changed after registration.
  • The LEED 2009 sunset date is still seven years out.
    No need to rush after your project is registered. LEED 2009 projects have 18 months from when they receive their Final Design Review or until June 30, 2021 — whichever is later — to submit their preliminary construction application.
  • LEEDv4 is not as scary as you might think.
    The LEED program is consensus-based and market driven, which means that the USGBC does their homework well in advance of each new version. In spite of the debate, LEED v4 is designed to be achievable, and there is no reason to think that LEED v4 won’t work for you.

This timeline will help you in planning for the transition:


LEED v4 transition timeline

Check out USGBC’s blog for more details on registration closing and sunset dates for LEED 2009 and earlier rating systems.

If you’re ready to get started with LEED v4 now, or just want to know how to start preparing for next year, stay tuned. Upcoming posts will cover lessons learned from our Beta project and LEED v4 planning tips for owners and project teams.

We urge you to crack open a Reference Guide and find out what the fuss is all about before sticking with LEED 2009!

LEEDv4 countdown LEED 2009





Megan Snyder is a Green Building Consultant, LEED® AP ID+C in Paladino Seattle

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