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Viewpoint: LEED v4 in Canada

The Canadian green building market has evolved rapidly over the last 10 years.
There are now over 4500 LEED projects registered in Canada, of which over 1500 are certified. The Canadian green building industry and LEED have driven continual improvements in building construction and operation and maintenance meanwhile making real impacts on energy and water consumption, waste reduction and occupant well-being. LEED was always intended to evolve with the market, and LEED version 4 (LEED v4) is about taking the next step towards market transformation and raising the ceiling of building performance.



What’s Coming and What it Means to You

In developing LEED v4, it was time to re-evaluate where to set the bar on performance, but also take what has been learned as an industry and reconsider how the bar is measured. To do this, there was large-scale industry dialog with six public comment periods that generated over 22,000 comments. The result is a better rating system that focuses on:
• Increased stringency, including increased thresholds in energy, water, waste and indoor environmental air quality to ensure LEED v4 projects continue to drive change;
• The addition of Environmental Product Declarations, life cycle assessment, and material ingredient reporting as next steps in addressing the environmental impacts from materials;
• An increased focus on human health, biodiversity, green economy and community.
The changes to the Materials Credits are a very exciting aspect of LEED v4. These changes will lead to a greater knowledge and expertise within the industry about the use of sustainable materials and the impact they can have, and also generate a lot of innovation from manufacturers.

The CaGBC’s role in LEED v4
LEED v4 was launched at Greenbuild in November 2013 and is currently available in Canada, but in order to facilitate the transition, Canadian projects will still be able to register under the current rating system (LEED Canada 2009) until June, 2015. This will give professionals and owners a period of time to learn about and prepare for the new requirements.
The Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) will continue to provide certification reviews under LEED v4 to ensure an appreciation and understanding of the unique Canadian context.  We will also continue to provide local support for any questions and issues that may arise during the design, construction, and certification of projects. Lastly, CaGBC will also be developing Alternate Compliance Paths for Canadian projects.

Canadian Alternative Compliance Paths
In an effort to increase the range of LEED resources for Canadians and follow an internationally consistent approach to how LEED is deployed in different regions of the world, the CaGBC will not be developing stand-alone Canadian rating systems. Instead, we will streamline development work by providing Canadian options for demonstrating compliance – termed Alternative Compliance Paths (ACPs) – within the international rating systems. These will be made available to Canadians at the CaGBC National Conference and Expo, Building Lasting Change, which will be held in Toronto June 2 – 4.
ACPs will allow the CaGBC to identify equivalent means of demonstrating compliance to the credit requirements. For example, where an equivalent Canadian reference standard exists, an ACP can allow for the use of that standard.

Mark Hutchinson is Director of Green Building Programs, CaGBC .