LEED v4, the newest version of the LEED green building program from the USGBC, was officially launched today, November 20, at the annual Greenbuild International Conference and Expo in Philadelphia.

LEED was first launched in 1998, and LEED v4 builds on the fundamentals of previous versions while offering a new system that prepares all LEED projects in a portfolio to perform at a higher level, said organization officials.

“LEED v4 is a quantum leap for LEED,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO, and founding chair of the United States Green Building Council. “Over the past 15 years, LEED has fundamentally revolutionized how we design, construct, operate, and maintain our buildings and communities. LEED has created a completely new industry of business enterprise committed to energy savings and efficiency. LEED v4 is as much a testament to the achievements of LEED project teams around the world as it is to the green building community’s ambition to create significant global and local change through resource-efficient, cost-effective green buildings.”

Currently, 122 beta projects from around the world are using LEED v4. The new version includes new market sections, such as data centers, warehouses and distribution centers, hospitality, existing schools, existing retail, and mid-rise residential projects.

USGBC said LEED v4 includes time saving support tools and resources, such as simplified LEED credit submittal requirements, descriptive step-by-step reference guide materials with videos and tutorials, and a more intuitive technology platform.

Building performance management is also a focus in LEED v4 with an aim at providing building owners with a better understanding of how to manage their buildings to meet full performance potential.

New impact categories are also part of the new version of LEED, including climate change, human health, water resources, biodiversity, green economy, community, and natural resources.

“LEED v4, at its core, provides insight into the synergies within the building system, providing solutions for optimizing performance, and ultimately achieving better environmental, economic, and social outcomes in our buildings,” said Scot Horst, senior vice president of LEED for USGBC. “LEED v4 is the LEED of the future, where we challenge the marketplace to go further, to make the next great leap toward better, cleaner, healthier buildings where people live and work.”

The first LEED v4 project certifications were recognized at Greenbuild. The Haworth Beijing Organic Showroom achieved LEED v4 Gold. Located in Beijing, China, this project certified its commercial interior space. Also, 1800 K St. in Washington, D.C., was awarded LEED v4 Silver. This project was certified as an existing building. Additionally, three core and shell projects earned LEED precertification: University Place in Philadelphia; 10 Emery St. in Bethlehem, PA; and Capitol Tower Complex.