What Is LEED v4.1 Exam Prep?

Posted On: 
Apr 1, 2019

LEED v4.1 Exam Prep is designed to help you pass the LEED v4.1 exam the first time. The USGBC launched the LEED v4.1 BD+C draft on December 17, 2018. The USGBC has stated that LEED v4.1 will be the most inclusive and transparent ratings platform to date. How will the LEED v4.1 exam be different from the current one? Let’s take a look . . .

There have been significant changes offered in the latest LEED v4.1 BD+C draft. These changes will have an impact on the LEED v4.1 exam and affect architects, building product manufacturers, and other professionals who take the new exam. The LEED v4.1 BD+C draft proposes major changes to the Materials and Resources LEED credits which will impact the exam.

LEED v4.1 Materials and Resources LEED Credits

For the first time in LEED, energy metrics will include both the cost and greenhouse gas emissions. The MR credits will upgrade to ASHRAE 90.1-2016 which is aimed at reducing energy consumption. ASHRAE 90.1-2016 includes a new compliance path and a major revision in formatting, aimed to improve its overall flexibility and use. Technical changes affect building envelope, mechanical, and lighting systems.

ASHRAE 90.1-2016 may provide content for the new LEED v4.1 exam as these are major changes to the LEED ratings system. The LEED v4.1 BD+C Low-Emitting Materials credit has been revised to be simpler to understand. This credit is pursued by many AEC firms so this credit also provides possible content for the new LEED 4.1 exam.

LEED v4.1 Environmental Product Declarations (EPDs)

When LEED v4 launched, the only building product manufacturers able to conduct a Life Cycle Assessment and develop an EPD were mainly large manufacturers with extensive budgets. Several European product manufacturers had an advantage in that they had been publishing EPDs for decades. Although EPDs are still an expensive proposition for many manufacturers, the marketplace has come along way since 2013.

LEED v4.1 will make it easier for AEC firms to obtain LEED points and product manufacturers to benefit from changes within the EPD credit. Some credit thresholds have been lowered and there’s new incentives for pursuing others. USGBC discovered that many building products have no PCRs and that Option 2 of this credit was extremely difficult since manufacturers didn’t have the resources to adequately optimize their products and investigate their supply chain.

The new changes for MR Credit: Building Product Disclosure and Optimization -Environmental Product Declarations provide ample content for LEED v4.1 exams. I would anticipate exam questions to be focused on these new revisions.

LEED v4.1 Health Product Declarations (HPDs)

Health Product Declarations (HPDs) are one of the most requested specification documents for LEED v4 projects today. AEC firms like Perkins + Will, Gensler, HKS, and others request this documentation for projects. HPDs contribute to MR Credit: Building Product Disclosure and Optimization -Material Ingredients and are the easiest and most effective way to meet this credit’s requirements.

Many AEC firms complained that there were too many barriers to achieve this credit. So, the USGBC has lowered thresholds, increased credit incentives and points, and removed Option 3 of this credit. The credit also reflects changes for the HPD Open Standard. While third- party verification of HPDs is not required in LEED v4, HPDs that are content verified by an approved 3rd party process are valued at 1.5 products.

Version 1.0 HPDs are currently expired in the marketplace and will not contribute to this LEED v4.1 credit unless compliant products were purchased during the time the HPD was valid. Since the HPD has become a major component of LEED v4 projects, one should anticipate this to be reflected in the new LEED v4.1 exam.

There are several other major changes to LEED v4.1 which will affect the LEED v4.1 exam. We will review these changes in future blog posts. In the meantime, it is important to note that much work still needs to be done for a new exam to even be released. Now that the USGBC has launched LEED v4.1 beta version, professionals will work with each draft LEED system and provide feedback. Then, LEED v4.1 will be open for public comment and will be followed by member ballot. Once a final draft is completed, it must be approved by the USGBC Board of Directors and LEED Steering Committee. The final draft will then be voted on by USGBC members.

The USGBC does not expect the LEED v4.1 exam to launch until at least summer of 2020. However, feedback from the AEC community should help focus attention on several LEED credits that are revised and will be updated in the new exam. Building product manufacturers interested in taking the LEED v4 exam should check out our blog- 3 Ways LEED Education Can Help Product Manufacturers.

How many LEED professionals do you have in your company? How has a LEED credential help you succeed in the marketplace?

For more information or to discuss the topic of this blog, please call Brad Blank at 360-727-3528.