USGBC Updates LEED Residential Rating System

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Published On
Apr 11, 2019

In April, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced the launch of LEED v4.1 Residential, an updated rating system that combines the relevant aspects of four existing LEED rating systems (Single Family and Lowrise Homes, Multifamily Midrise, Core and Shell, and New Construction) previously used for residential projects.

The new single residential suite of ratings now includes the following:

  • LEED v4.1 Residential: New Single Family Homes
  • LEED v4.1 Residential: New Multifamily Homes
  • LEED v4.1 Residential: New Multifamily Homes Core and Shell

According to the USGBC, multifamily projects have often experienced dilemmas related to LEED. Questions included: Should those involved in residential design and construction use the requirements for mid-rise, high-rise or new construction? Which rating system was best for the specific project? The updated rating system is designed to address these questions and make the decision to implement LEED easier for the residential market.

Through a streamlined and simplified approach, the new rating system prioritizes LEED credits, such as energy and water savings, green and healthy materials, health and wellbeing, and improved comfort.

For example, the new rating system provides more points for the following credits:

  • EA credit: Annual Energy Use (energy savings over a baseline)
  • EQ credit: Enhanced Indoor Air Quality Strategies
  • EQ credit: Low Emitting Products
  • MR credit: Environmentally Preferable Products
  • WE credit: Indoor Water Use

Options have also been added to existing LEED credits that lower both hard and soft costs to achieve certification.

The USGBC has also localized the new Residential rating system to meet the unique needs of different markets. For example, the rating system now applies to homes with various ventilation strategies, including mechanical or natural.

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