Decarbonization News

LEED v5 draft opens for public comment, emphasizing embodied carbon reduction

LEED v5 draft opens for public comment, emphasizing embodied carbon reduction

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has officially launched the first public comment period for the draft of its updated rating system, LEED v5

LEED v5 is redefining standards for what a sustainable building looks like through three new prerequisites: Carbon Assessment, Climate Resilience Assessment, and Social Equity Assessment. Notably, the Carbon Assessment now includes a prerequisite to measure and reduce embodied carbon. The draft is open for feedback from stakeholders across the spectrum of the building industry.

LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, has long been a benchmark for green building practices worldwide. With the introduction of LEED v5, the USGBC sets forth a comprehensive framework that not only targets decarbonization, quality of life, and ecological conservation, but also addresses the pressing issue of embodied carbon in building materials.  

LEED v5 public comment period details

The USGBC encourages feedback on the LEED v5 draft from all interested parties. The public comment period is an essential phase in the LEED development process, ensuring that the final version of the rating system reflects a broad consensus within the building community. Comments can be submitted from April 3 through May 20, 2024, via the USGBC website, where the current drafts of the LEED v5 rating systems are posted for review.

Addressing embodied carbon 

A key feature of LEED v5 is its focused approach to reducing embodied carbon across all significant sources associated with a building's life-cycle, including materials and construction activities. Embodied carbon refers to the carbon dioxide emissions resulting from the manufacturing, transportation, installation, maintenance, and disposal of building materials.

LEED v5 introduces specific credits aimed at minimizing the embodied carbon footprint of new construction. Notably, the Materials and Resources scorecard includes prerequisites for comparing the embodied carbon impacts of structural, enclosure, and hardscape materials. Project teams can earn points through several options, including Whole Building Life-Cycle Assessment, Procurement of Low-Embodied Carbon Construction Materials, Environmental Product Declaration Analysis, and Tracking Carbon Emissions from Construction Activities.


Strategic focus of LEED v5

The overarching goal of LEED v5 is to guide new and existing buildings towards achieving near-zero carbon emissions operationally by 2050, supported by a decarbonized grid. This ambitious target is complemented by provisions for assessing climate resilience and carbon emissions, setting a foundation for project teams to aim for higher sustainability goals.

Peter Templeton, President & CEO of the USGBC, emphasized the role of buildings in addressing global challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss, and social inequity. He stated that LEED v5 is designed to accelerate progress in these areas, offering "pathways that are accessible and applicable."

The introduction of embodied carbon requirements in LEED v5 represents a step forward in green building standards. By focusing on decarbonization, enhancing quality of life, and promoting ecological conservation, LEED v5 aims to set a new benchmark for sustainable building practices. The public comment period offers a unique opportunity for stakeholders to contribute to the development of a rating system that balances environmental, economic, and social priorities, ensuring the relevance and effectiveness of LEED for years to come.


How One Click LCA can help you achieve LEED v5 certification

One Click LCA has developed tools specifically designed to help you achieve LEED certification. To learn more about how you can gain LEED credits today, and be prepared for LEED v5 when it becomes official, contact us to set up a demo with an LCA and LEED expert.


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