LEEDv4: Panacea or More Headache?

In its first three years on the market, LEEDv4 was used in less than 5% of new project registrations. Now that LEEDv4 is the only system available, this fact represents a major challenge for LEED registrations and certifications going forward.

We've been documenting that LEED certifications, as a group, are just stuck in reverse. What about LEEDv4, the official (and only) system that new projects can use for registering for future certification? USGBC claims that the new system is simpler and cheaper to use. But with the number of prerequisites increasing in LEEDv4 (vs. LEED 2009), in my book, Reinventing Green Building, I strongly question whether users will have a more positive experience with the new system.

LEEDv4 was on the market for three full years (36 months) before it became the ONLY system a project could use. What were the results? 

Fewer than 5% of LEED project registrations in 2013-2016 used the LEEDv4 system, when they could still use LEED 2009. In addition, in the second half of 2016, new LEED project registrations DOUBLED compared with the first half, demonstrating a "rush to register" under the old system. This means that projects can continue to use LEED 2009 for certification through June of 2021, another 4+ years. As a result, new registrations and certifications under LEEDv4 are likely to continue to be depressed below 2016 levels for several years to come. In my 2016 book, Reinventing Green Building: Why Certification Systems Aren't Working and What We Can Do About It, I discuss in detail why I believe that LEEDv4 will be a colossal failure and what USGBC needs to do to revamp the LEED system for positive growth in the future.

Here's a look at total projects registered and certified under LEEDv4 during the 2013-2016 introduction period:

If you had to bet on the growth of LEEDv4 over the next three or four years, as a consulting business that, let's say, depended on LEED certification for its main revenues, what would be your forecast? Would you expect a slump in new project registrations and have to live off of the LEED 2009 certification revenues from projects registered in 2015 and 2016? What would be the driving forces that would rekindle LEED growth?