LEED v4.1 is intended to extend LEED certification to more types of projects and to increase the emphasis on building performance. That’s why LEED v4.1, the latest version of LEED, makes greater use of the Arc platform, and focuses heavily on the performance aspects of LEED certification.

Why building owners should be excited about LEED v4.1 O+M

While LEED v4.1 is a minor update in most LEED rating systems, LEED v4.1 Building Operations + Maintenance (O+M) completely rethinks how performance is measured. There are three major changes:

  1. Certification uses the Arc platform, and is based almost entirely on actual performance.
  2. The Arc scoring simplifies certification and facilitates continuous improvement.
  3. LEED v.4.1 O+M now includes interior projects.

Scoring with Arc

In 2016, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) introduced Arc, an analytics platform used to measure green building performance, make improvements, and benchmark against similar buildings. Arc is a complement to LEED and other green building rating systems. It facilitates incremental improvements and helps building owners more easily pursue LEED and other green certifications.

One big change in LEED v4.1 is that it has incorporated Arc scoring as the standard path rather than as an alternate path as LEED v4 did. So it is easier for building owners to measure and monitor their sustainability improvements and thus keep improving.

Performance monitoring: simpler startup, more adaptability, increased maintenance

In LEED v4.1, USGBC wants more types of projects to earn LEED certification through building performance monitoring, scoring, and Arc-powered analytics. Specifically, LEED v4.1 makes it easier to certify interior projects, existing buildings, and residential projects; and for cities to develop solutions that address their unique circumstances.

Also, LEED v4.1 emphasizes performance in a new way. LEED v4.1 requires that performance be measured on an ongoing basis. The initial LEED certification is valid for one year rather than five years, so building owners must report data annually to maintain certifications. So there is a simpler up-front process to get certified, and the project benefits from the continual feedback and reporting that is necessary for the annual re-certification.

LEED v4.1 O+M uses Arc to strengthen building performance

Conventional O+M sustainability metrics often degrade over time. LEED v4.1 delivers significant changes in O+M measures by requiring building owners to focus on how they operate and maintain a building as well as how they build it. LEED v4.1 O+M requires that building owners monitor sustainability indices closely over the building lifecycle; and then maintain and continuously improve them.

90 of the 100 points available in the LEED v4.1 O+M certification are based on measurable outcomes in the following five areas:

  1. Transportation performance
    • Building owners must conduct a survey at least once a year, using the Arc platform to score results. A minimum transportation performance score of 40 is required to meet the prerequisite.
  2. Water performance
    • Building owners must record 12 months of water usage in Arc.
  3. Energy performance
    • Owners must enter 12 months of energy usage in Arc.
  4. Waste performance
    • Requires 12 months of data on waste performance or a waste audit at least once a year.
  5. IEQ performance
    • Building owners must perform an occupant comfort survey and/or air testing for CO2 and TVOC at least once a year.
    • The occupant survey is worth 50% of the points, CO2 is worth 25%, and TVOC is worth 25%.

LEED v4.1

LEED O+M Interiors

New to LEED EBOM v4.1 is a path to achieve LEED O+M for interiors projects. The five main categories remain the same; however, the interiors scorecard focuses less on site credits and more on green cleaning and purchasing credits when pursuing the optional 10 base points.

Let the feedback begin

The LEED v4.1 beta began on March 26, 2018, and will last several months. This beta is an opportunity for the market to engage with the new rating system and provide feedback. This feedback, combined with LEED proposal submittals, will shape the future of LEED. LEED v4.1 O+M is expected to be open for public comment in early 2019.

At Paladino, we’ve found that the ease of the lift to v4.1 depends on whether a building is earning its first certification or a recertification. Using Arc to achieve LEED v4.1 certification has been simpler and clients have enjoyed the process.

In general, v4.1 provides a much more streamlined path than v4. Also, the fact that v4.1 is monitored continuously, with limited documentation submitted annually versus conducting a huge recertification lift every five years, makes the work more digestible.

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