LEEDv4 Falters - Check the Numbers

Growth of LEEDv4 registrations have faltered in the first half of 2016, falling from about 6% of total LEED project registrations since it was introduced in 2013, to about 5% of the total since then. For the first half of 2016, LEEDv4 new project registrations have been less than 4% of all new LEED registrations. (Part of the reason is that LEED 2009 registrations have surged, as predicted, ahead of the mandatory changeover to LEEDv4 in in October.) Yet, it's clear that the green building community is NOT embracing this new system and will have to be forced into it in three months when it becomes mandatory. 

As I wrote in Reinventing Green Building (p. 145):

Given that the 2014 Turner Construction Green Building Market Barometer cited earlier indicated that most (more than two-thirds) of building industry professionals would consider using a certification system other than LEED, will LEEDv4 grow the market for green building? From our analysis, LEEDv4 appears to add cost by increasing prerequisites in an environment where first cost drives most decision-making.

The net effect is likely to be threefold:

  1. It may encourage new rating systems to enter the market and compete directly with LEED, using unmet market interest in certification to deal forcefully with LEED’s deficiencies.

In this case, life imitates art, and on June 8th, the first major competitor emerged. The UK's leading green building system, BREEAM, announced that it would enter the US market for existing buildings. We'll see the effects of this drive for market share over the next year or so, but it's likely to impact LEED's weakest element, the market for existing buildings.