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LEED v5 will drive decarbonization, quality of life and ecological conservation, says USGBC. IFMA urges FMs to comment on O&M in existing buildings by May 20

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), a global authority on green building and the developer of the LEED green building program, announced the opening of the first public comment period for its draft rating system, LEED v5. This step marks a milestone for LEED and the building industry at large, providing a comprehensive framework for creating sustainable, efficient, and resilient built environments that promote environmental responsibility, economic viability, and social equity. *IFMA encourages facility managers (FMs) to submit comments on sustainable operations and maintenance issues for existing buildings; see comment at end of article.*

Buildings offer immediate opportunities for addressing climate change, biodiversity loss, equity, health, and so much more when they are designed, built, and operated with intent. This is the architecture behind LEED v5, which targets areas where accelerated progress is most needed while creating pathways that are accessible and applicable.

Peter Templeton, president & CEO, USGBC

Centered around three impact areas, all credits and prerequisites in LEED v5 drive improvement towards decarbonization, quality of life, and/or ecological conservation and restoration.

  • Decarbonization: LEED v5 focuses on reductions of all significant sources of emissions: operational, embodied, refrigerants and transportation.
  • Quality of life: LEED v5 uses human-centric strategies to improve health and well-being, resilience, and equity and inclusion for building occupants and their communities.
  • Ecological conservation and restoration: LEED v5 emphasizes strategies and actions that can be implemented at the individual asset level to limit environmental degradation and contribute towards the restoration of ecosystems.

LEED v5 emphasizes impact, alignment and interconnectedness to support initial and ongoing sustainability efforts throughout a building’s lifecycle. Impact highlights include:

  • LEED v5 Operations + Maintenance puts existing buildings on a path to decarbonization and ties Platinum-level certification to near-zero carbon operating emissions.
  • LEED v5 Building Design + Construction provides a framework for new buildings to reach near-zero carbon emissions operationally by 2050, on a decarbonized grid, and, at the Platinum level, for buildings to achieve near-zero carbon operationally and embodied carbon reductions today.
  • For the first time, project teams will be equipped with key information to guide goal setting and project delivery, including assessment methodologies for climate resilience, carbon emissions through 2050, and social equity. This information will help project teams set higher aspirations, pursue greater innovation, and achieve better outcomes.
  • LEED v5 users will receive a LEED Impact Report that will help them measure, manage, and communicate their project’s performance and allow them to make improvements over time.

LEED v5 for Building Design and Construction (BD+C), Interior Design and Construction (ID+C), and Operations and Maintenance (O+M) rating systems are all open for public comment from April 3 to May 20, 2024. Public comment is a critically important step in the LEED development process, and feedback from all stakeholder groups is invited and encouraged. The current drafts and comment forms are available at USGBC.

Final versions of LEED v5 incorporating feedback received during the public comment period are scheduled to be released in early 2025. As the USGBC continues the development of LEED v5 over the coming year, projects will be able to register to use the current version of LEED and will be held to the requirements in place at the time of registration throughout their certification process.

The revisions made through public comment will help ensure that LEED v5 drives transformative change while remaining accessible and applicable to all project types and regions. With input from technical experts and industry stakeholders from around the world, LEED v5 will offer a comprehensive framework aimed at fostering sustainable building practices that catalyze positive impact on a global scale.

Information sessions on LEED v5 will be held throughout the public comment period. Check USGBC or contact your local USGBC community for more information.

IFMA encourages FMs to submit comments

The International Facility Management Association (IFMA) encourages facility managers (FMs) to submit comments from a sustainable operations and maintenance perspective relating to existing buildings by the May 20 deadline. There are several ways to submit comments, but IFMA recommends using the LEEDuser LEED EB v5 Public Comment Forum site. You must register for a free LEEDuser account to post comments. 

See IFMA’s full statement on FMLink: “IFMA urges FMs to comment on O&M in existing buildings for the LEEDv5 draft by May 20.”