WASHINGTON — Anyone not ready for a new green building standard — one that may include more favorable ratings for plastics — is getting something of a reprieve. The implementation of LEEDv4 is being pushed back by a year and a half, to Oct. 31, 2016.
The original date to close out LEED 2009 project registration had been June 15, 2015.
While some speculated that the delay was due in part to the American Chemistry Council's objections to the treatment of certain materials in the v4 standards, the U.S. Green Building Council maintains that postponing the implementation had been under consideration for months because of feedback received from LEED implementers, particularly in the international community.
“The survey at our conference in New Orleans came back with 61 percent saying they are either not ready or unsure of their readiness for implementing LEEDv4,” said Taryn Holowka, USGBC's vice president of marketing and communications.
The new generation of LEED standards has already been postponed once before. In June 2012, USGBC announced that what was meant to be known as “LEED 2012” would not be implemented until 2013 and would be called “LEED v4.”
An entirely new materials selection process, combined with a slumping real estate market and fears that the certification process would not be ready for a November 2012 introduction, were too much pressure for construction companies and architects to deal with, USGBC said at the time.
This time around, USGBC will allow LEED users to register projects under the LEED 2009 rating system through October 2016. Those who feel ready to use the newer version of standards are welcome to do so, the group said.
“Our international LEED users, which account for some 50 percent of new LEED registrations, have also indicated they would like to have more time to move onto the new rating system,” said Rick Fedrizzi, CEO and founding chair of USGBC, in a news release. “This extension will be especially helpful to them.”
Meanwhile, USGBC and the plastics industry are finally coming to the table to talk about the role and value of plastic materials in green building.
USGBC and ACC, along with the Vinyl Institute, called a truce in August and in November named the 29-member LEED Supply Chain Optimization Working Group. The new group is tasked with “exploring new and innovative ideas to evolve LEEDv4 materials credits” and for the first time includes representatives from plastics industry heavy hitters such as DuPont Co., Bayer MaterialScience AG, Occidental Chemical Corp.; manufacturers such as flooring giant Shaw Industries Group Inc.; and representatives from trade groups including ACC and the Resilient Floor Covering Institute.
The group also includes green building advocates, non-profits and architects.
“We want to be super inclusive,” Holowka said. “We're in it together on this mission for healthy, sustainable buildings. USGBC can't do this by itself.”