The U.S. Green Building Council’s long awaited updates to the LEED Rating System are almost complete. LEED v4 has been in the works for more than a year. The likely final public comment period for the new rating system ends on March 31st, and voting on the changes is scheduled to begin June 1st.
There are some significant changes in LEED v4. It will include a new credit category, Location and Transportation. As the name suggests it focuses in part on location of buildings and connectivity to them. Some of the credits in this category, such as bicycle storage, reduced parking capacity and low-emitting vehicles are already part of the existing Sustainable Sites category, so they are just being moved. Speaking of which, a new credit for rainwater management has been added to the Sustainable Sites category in LEED V4, which will be an opportunity to earn points for capturing, treating and controlling on-site runoff.
There are some significant changes in the Water Efficiency category. There will be three prerequisites: Outdoor Water Use Reduction (applicable to projects with exterior vegetated areas); Indoor Water Use Reduction (like the former "Water Use Reduction" prerequisite, it requires 20% water use reduction, and will also require a WaterSense label for certain fixtures and fittings); and Building Level Water Metering (applicable to all projects, it calls for permanent water meters to measure usage, and the data must be shared with the USGBC for 5 years). There are also new credits for Cooling Tower Use and Water Metering.