LEED v4.1 Exam Update And How It May Affect Product Manufacturers

Posted On: 
Feb 26, 2021
leed exam

According to the USGBC, the LEED v4.1 rating systems balloting will begin in 2021. The balloting process takes up to one year and will not conclude in 2021. The LEED credential exams will be updated after balloting and the GBCI will confirm the plans only after balloting is complete. In the meantime, all the GBCI credential exams continue to be based on LEED v4.

The COVID-19 pandemic, global recession, and market uncertainty have made the past twelve months a rollercoaster ride for many design professionals and building product manufacturers. The good news is that the economy is on the mend and LEED projects are continuing to be built and designed. The LEED exam provides benefits for both design professionals and manufacturers wanting to expand their sustainability knowledge base.

Building Product Manufacturers Playing Catch-Up

LEED v4 was launched in 2013, yet it’s surprising how many building product manufacturers are behind in training their team about LEED or having the mandatory documentation for specification. 2020 saw an unprecedented surge in manufacturers developing Health Product Declarations (HPDs), Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs), and other documentation.

The delay of the LEED v4.1 rating system until potentially 2022, allows more time for product manufacturers to play catch-up and prepare for the new system. There are large and mid-sized companies that have LEED credentialed sustainability champions who field questions about their products LEED credits, HPDs, and other transparency related topics. However, a substantial amount of manufacturers still need to be educated about LEED and its specification opportunities.

Red Flags For Product Manufacturers

Every week, I talk to plenty of manufacturers who are getting pummeled in the marketplace because they don’t understand LEED. Their websites and brochures are dead giveaways that they are behind the times. Whenever I see a manufacturer website that is still using LEED v3 or LEED 2.2 credits for their products I know they’re in big trouble. It’s 2021, and if you’re using LEED v3 LEED credit information about the Recycled Content and Regional materials credits from 2012, you’re losing specifications.

Another red flag on manufacturer websites, is if they don’t contain a Health Product Declaration (HPD). The HPD is one of the most requested specification tools in the industry with over 6000 publicly available. Manufacturers who have HPDs have a much better chance of getting specified on LEED v4, WELL, and CHPS projects than those that don’t.

AEC firms such as HKS, Perkins +Will, Gensler, Cannon Design, ZGF, and Boora Architects all require transparency documentation such as an HPD for specification. In addition, many AEC firms will not allow product reps to deliver their AIA lunch and learn (virtual in 2020/2021) without having a document like an HPD and being listed in mindful MATERIALS.

Resources To Help Building Product Manufacturers

Building product manufacturers should not waste time until the release of the LEED v4.1 rating system or exam. Manufacturers have several no-cost solutions to educate their product reps about LEED and expand their specification opportunities. Here are resources we recommend for manufacturers seeking free solutions to their problems:

Free LEED Exam Prep

The Free LEED Exam Prep course is designed to help you pass the LEED Green Associate exam the first time. Or you can use the free video series to educate your product reps about LEED and product specification. The FREE Exam Prep course will provide you with 10 video modules that explore credit categories, the USGBC, and tips to pass the exam. The LEED online class includes a free LEED Study Guide, LEED practice exams, Study Sheets, and 8-hour audio book.

Health Product Declaration Collaborative

The HPDC is offers tons of free resources for product manufacturers to learn how HPDs and LEED integrate. The site contains the official HPDC Repository that hosts thousands of HPDs. There are video tutorials, manufacturer guides, and other free tools to help manufacturers get up to speed with HPDs.

The Future of LEED

There are additional specification opportunities in LEED v4.1. Manufacturers can contribute additional points for EPDs and HPDs in the new version yet to be released. In the meantime, manufacturers would be wise to educate their team and develop the mandatory specification documentation before the launch of LEED v4.1.

How is your company preparing for LEED v4.1? Do your product reps have their LEED credentials?

For more information or to discuss the topic of this blog, please contact Brad Blank