In response to growing concerns from the market, USGBC is postponing plans to ballot the next version of LEED until 2013.

The committees have been anticipating these changes for a long time, after the decision with LEED 2009 to minimize technical changes and focus on the reorganization and weighting of the credit structure. As a result, the credit requirement changes in the proposed LEED v4 rating system are the most extensive in LEED’s twelve-year history.

BASF headquarters
Image courtesy KPF
The KPF-designed BASF headquarters recently achieved double LEED Platinum certification, reflecting support for LEED 2009 from one of the largest chemical companies in the world.

The new announcement comes just a few weeks after USGBC had tried, with limited success, to allay these concerns by postponing the planned ballot from May 2012 to August and by promising to keep LEED 2009 available to project teams for at least six months after the introduction of LEED v4. At that time, USGBC had also announced plans for a “beta test” of the new rating system, but critics had questioned how such a test would be useful if the changes it purported to test were already locked in by member ballot.

The new plan gives time for that beta test to proceed while allowing for its results to inform a fifth public comment draft, which is scheduled to run from October 2 to December 10, 2012. That timeframe encompasses the annual Greenbuild Conference and Expo, allowing for in-person interaction among USGBC members and other stakeholders about the proposed changes.

USGBC asserts that language in LEED supporting the highest standards of forest certification and pushing for transparency and avoidance of chemicals of concern will not be watered down during this extended process, despite unprecedented attacks from the chemical industry, which recently joined the mainstream forest products industry in seeking to undermine LEED by pushing Congress to prohibit the federal government from using it.

Copyright 2012 by BuildingGreen Inc.