WASHINGTON — The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced the opening of the fifth public comment period for the proposed update to its LEED green building program. The comment period, which will close on Dec. 10, enables the building community to view the most recent draft of the rating systems and provide comments where any substantive changes have been made.

“LEED v4 will have the greatest impact of any rating system we’ve developed by focusing on building performance and rewarding innovative product manufacturers who offer best-in-class products,” said Scot Horst, senior vice president, LEED, USGBC. “LEED v4 will help change the way project teams think, integrate, plan, execute, and operate their buildings.”

LEED v4 allocates nearly 20 percent of all points to optimizing energy performance over the stringent ASHRAE 90.1-2010, which would do more to help curb CO2 emissions than any LEED rating system in its 12-year history.

In addition to bringing green building solutions to more market sectors, including data centers, warehouses and distribution centers, hospitality, mid-rise residential, existing schools, and retail, the next version includes more options for projects outside of the U.S., making LEED the common language for sustainability worldwide.

In this draft, using fewer, better materials will result in up to nine LEED points, incentivizing product manufacturers that voluntarily report about their product makeup and those who reduce the negative impacts — from extraction of raw materials through the manufacturing process.

When fully launched in 2013, USGBC officials believe LEED v4 will offer an improved user experience that will make the certification review and documentation process more intuitive and efficient. The reporting requirements will be thoroughly refined and tested by the LEED v4 beta testing group — the first crop of projects to pursue LEED v4 certification. The beta process enables project teams to engage with a pre-ballot version of LEED v4 with guided support from USGBC.

The public comment period will run until Dec. 10. To view the drafts of LEED v4, visit www.usgbc.org/leedv4.

Publication date: 11/12/2012