New LEED Requirements Shifting Environmental Responsibility from Design, Construction Process to End-User
ST. LOUIS, MO — Many universities across the country are striving to design new residence halls based on the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards established by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). The latest version of these standards, LEED version 4 (LEED v4), officially launched in November 2013, though projects were still able to seek certification under the previous version, LEED v2009, through October 2016.
Under the new LEED v4 requirements, some of the responsibility for achieving certification shifts from the design and construction process to the end-user and life cycle of the building. This change is requiring new training and a shift in the behaviors of students, residence life staff, maintenance and housekeeping staff, according to the student housing design experts at KWK Architects.
“This is a new challenge where everyday student behaviors can have a quantifiable impact on the immediate environment,” said Javier Esteban, Principal at KWK Architects. “LEED version 4 places a major emphasis on sustainability education and building usage for the next generation of residence halls.”
There are four major areas where the new LEED v4 has made significant modifications:
- Materials: The new requirements are designed to better understand the composition of the materials being used and their manufacturing and assembly process. Creating a healthy building has become a major focus by awarding certification points for selecting materials that are sustainably sourced and focused on end-user/occupant health.
- Performance: There is an increased focus on the performance of the building, operations and maintenance during the life cycle of the building, which requires an increase in metering and benchmarking.
- Energy Consumption: The new version places a greater emphasis on smart grid usage and optimizing the energy consumption of the building during peak demand times to reduce usage spikes.
- Water Consumption: LEED v4 takes a more comprehensive approach to better understanding overall water consumption of the building, not only from the design and construction point of view, but also from the operations stand point, with an emphasis on “efficiency first”.