How Will LEED v4.1 Affect Your Product Specifications?

Posted On: 
Jun 22, 2022

LEED v4.1 is still in the beta phase and has not officially launched. However, several AEC firms across the country are using LEED v4.1 for current projects. How will LEED v4.1 affect building product manufacturers in the future?

 Overview of LEED v4.1

LEED v4.1 raises the bar on building standards to address energy efficiency, water conservation, site selection, material selection, day lighting and waste reduction. LEED v4.1 emphasizes integrative design to ensure better design, translation of design into high quality construction, optimize operations and high performance of a building. The new ratings system also helps buildings consume fewer resources, reduce operating costs, increase value and create safer and healthier environments for its occupants.

How LEED v4.1 Helps Manufacturers

The good news for building product manufacturers is that LEED v4.1 offers many benefits over the older LEED v4 ratings system. The Materials & Resources category offers many new opportunities for manufacturers. There are several key areas that manufacturers should focus on for this category.

Material Ingredients – Health Product Declarations

If your company doesn’t have a Health Product Declaration (HPD) by now, you’re in trouble. When LEED v4 launched in 2013, HPDs, EPDs, and LCA’s became industry buzzwords. They are critical parts of LEED and can help product manufacturers contribute points. Developing an HPD is one of the easiest ways to contribute a point in LEED and prominent firms like Perkins + Will, HKS, Gensler, etc. often require them for projects.

The good news is that building product manufacturers can now contribute an additional half point in LEED v4.1. Product manufacturers that get their HPDs verified can contribute up to 1.5 points! The HPDC Third Party Verification Program enables manufacturers to work with independent verifiers to ensure that HPDs they have created are compliant with the HPD Open Standard. Manufacturers can also work with an HPDC Third Party Preparer. Unlike Third Party Verifiers, who provide independent review of completed HPDs, the preparer consults with the manufacturer during the preparation of the HPD to provide additional resources and technical expertise to execute the HPD as accurately and efficiently as possible.

Environmental Product Declarations - EPDs

Another opportunity for building product manufacturers are EPDs. LEED v4.1 now rewards manufacturers an entire point for an LCA, generic EPD, or product-specific EPD. In the previous version of LEED v4, LCAs and generic EPDs were weighted differently and not awarded a whole point. This is good news for manufacturers as they can now contribute one point at a much lower threshold.

In addition, product manufacturers can contribute 1.5 points under LEED v4.1. According to the USGBC, Environmental Product Declarations (Product-specific Type III) which conform to ISO 14025 and EN 15804 or ISO 21930 and have at least a cradle to gate scope with third-party certification (Type III), including external verification and external critical review are valued as 1.5 products. This is another bonus for manufacturers and can help increase their specification opportunities.


LEED v4 launched in 2013. The early adopters were the manufacturers who developed HPDs, EPDs, low VOC emissions testing, etc. Everyone else is now playing catch-up with LEED v4.1 set to launch in the near future. There are over 9000+ published HPDs. The mandatory specification requirements by HKS, HOK, Perkins + Will, Smith Group JJR, ZGF, Canon, Gensler, etc. are only getting tougher. The good news is that a manufacturer can still get up and running if they are diligent and in it for the long haul. There are inexpensive and cost-effective strategies to maximize your ROI for LEED projects.


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