LEED v4.1

LEED® v4 encourages project teams to go beyond the status quo, creating change in the industry such as driving manufacturer transparency and disclosure. The over 1500 Canadian project teams, and those around the world, are helping to inform how LEED can be improved. This knowledge is the basis for LEED v4.1.


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Building Design
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LEED v4.1 BD+C and ID+C Beta

LEED v4.1 is more achievable, providing new options and simpler metrics to help projects reach key outcomes.

The latest energy performance expectations are now recognized, and, for the first-time, reducing operational carbon is explicitly rewarded.

Project teams across the country are adopting the LEED v4.1 credit requirements, using the flexible v4.1 pathways on their LEED v4 projects. See our FAQs  to learn how to apply LEED v4.1 credits to LEED v4 projects.


We’ve picked out our favourite updates for you!

Surrounding Density and Diverse Uses – New option allows projects to simply use Walk Score® to be eligible for all the points. Additionally, there is a new option, specific to School projects, where the projects are scored based on connectivity, that is, being connected to previously developed sites.

Cooling Tower Water Use – Name has been updated to ‘Optimize Process Water Use’. Changes allow projects without cooling towers to earn credit under some circumstances, including those whose cooling is provided by district cooling systems, and projects can now be recognized for using recycled water for process use.

Energy Performance – The most exciting change is the explicit addition of carbon pollution from building operations: nine points are now available for reductions in carbon emissions. And it’s worth noting that ASHRAE 90.1 2016 includes some important improvements. As well, Alternative Compliance Paths developed by CaGBC and introduced in November 2020 use reductions in energy consumption and GHGs, and recognize the BC Energy Step Code. 

Materials Credits – The changes that have the greatest impact on project teams are within the Materials credits. The restructured credits now include options acknowledging efforts at varying levels, bridging the gap from where the market is currently to the goals identified in LEED v4.

  • There are a number of changes throughout the three the credits formerly known as BPDO (Building Product Disclosure and Optimization). Our favourite? Under Sourcing of Raw Materials, Option 1 has moved to the pilot credit library and two points are now available for the more popular Option 2 Leadership Extraction Practices, with a lower entry threshold.
  • The holistic assessment of materials is being given a nudge with the addition of new thresholds for completing a whole-building life-cycle assessment (one point) and for achieving 5% reduction in impacts (two points). A 10% reduction is still required to earn three points, but now an extra fourth point is available for incorporating re-used or salvaged materials.

Construction and Demolition Waste Management – The prerequisite has been removed and incorporated with credit requirements. A greater focus is placed on waste prevention, with less focus on recycling.

Indoor Air Quality Assessment Option 2, Air Testing – This option is now split into two paths, allowing project teams to earn one point for testing particulate matter (PM) and inorganic gasses (CO, ozone), and/or a second point for testing volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The number of VOCs tested has been decreased from 35 to 12.

Quality Views - The updated requirements provide an overhaul to the assessment of view types, reducing effort and simplifying requirements - such as by eliminating subjective elements like ‘view factors’ and views of movement.

Multi-unit residential buildings no longer have to choose between different rating systems. The LEED v4.1 Residential BD+C: Multifamily Homes  rating system consolidates the requirements for all multifamily projects.

BD+C Resources Available:

ID+C Resources Available:

LEED v4.1 O+M beta

LEED v4.1 O+M is simpler, easier, faster and less expensive. It’s a paradigm shift that recognizes the simplest way to evaluate existing buildings is to focus on measurable performance outcomes.

With performance data as your documentation, and less need for many prescriptive credits and prerequisites, LEED v4.1 O+M reduces the number of credits and prerequisites by over 50 per cent.

Now, LEED O+M assesses carbon emissions and is available to interior spaces. The impact of these changes is clear – LEED v4.1 O+M is fostering broader adoption and deepening the transformative power of LEED.

LEED and Arc are changing to address the challenges of COVID-19, ensuring there is a path to certification for every project. Read more.

Resources available:

LEED Recertification

LEED Recertification is a simple, cost-effective means of verifying and improving performance while enhancing asset values and protecting your investments in sustainability.

Recertification is available to all occupied and in-use projects that have previously achieved certification under LEED — including BD+C and ID+C, regardless of their initial rating system or version.

This approach presents a simple and data-driven pathway that reassures projects that they are meeting ever-changing goals and staying on the cutting edge.

Review the Recertification Guide, which details the requirements and process.

If you want to seek recertification, please contact us at LEED Coach Canada.

LEED and Arc are changing to address the challenges of COVID-19, ensuring there is a path to certification for every project. Read more.

LEED v4.1 Residential Beta

LEED v4.1 is a new approach to residential projects, merging all residential focused rating systems, including BD+C, with the priorities of the residential market.

Credits with the highest value to consumers are prioritized, such as energy and water savings; improved comfort, health and well-being; and green and healthy materials. Options have also been added to lower both hard and soft costs to achieve certification.

LEED v4.1 Residential includes three project types:

  • Single Family Homes. New single-family homes that are attached or detached, and multifamily buildings with up to four units.
  • Multifamily Homes. Applicable to any predominantly multifamily building with two or more units and any number of storeys
  • Multifamily Homes Core and Shell. Multifamily buildings that are new construction or major renovation for the exterior shell and core mechanical, electrical and plumbing units, but not a complete interior fit-out. It is the appropriate rating system to use if more than 40 per cent of the gross floor area is incomplete at the time of certification.

Multifamily projects no longer have to choose between different rating systems, and multifamily projects can no longer use LEED v4.1 BD+C.

LEED v4.1 Residential BD+C: Single Family Homes is now available to project teams. Registration for LEED v4.1 Residential BD+C: Multifamily Homes and Multifamily Homes Core and Shell is not available in Canada as the certification model is being refined, however projects can continue to use the LEED v4 rating systems and substitute credits from LEED v4.1 Residential to benefit from the new features (see the Beta Guide below for guidance).

Resources for single family homes:

Resources for multifamily:

LEED v4.1 Cities and Communities

A new way forward for resilient, green, inclusive and smart cities, LEED for Cities and LEED for Communities provides a globally consistent way to measure and communicate performance. LEED v4.1 expands the solutions for LEED for Cities and LEED for Communities to include two new project types, those in the planning and design phase, and existing cities.

  • Expanded rating system now includes standards from the STAR Community Rating System and elements of key GBCI green energy and infrastructure rating systems like PEER and SITES.
  • Triple bottom line approach with scalable metrics that work at the city, county and regional scale.
  • Flexible pathways to measure and advance local progress, including performance standards and proven strategies and best practices for improvement.
  • Greater focus on improved social equity, quality of life and standard of living.

Resources for new and developing cities and communities:

Resources for existing cities and communities:

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I substitute a LEED v4.1 credit pathway on a LEED v4 project?
All LEED BD+C and ID+C v4.1 credits are available for substitution for LEED v4 projects. See the Beta Guides noted above for special direction on substituting select credits. Multi-unit residential buildings may also benefit from substituting select credits from the LEED v4.1 Residential BD+C: Multifamily Homes Rating System, see the Multifamily Beta Guide for details. LEED v4.1 O+M must be used as a whole rating system.

To use a substitution:

  1. In LEED Online, within each credit in your v4 project, you will see a checkbox that reads: “I am pursuing a LEED v4.1 credit substitution on this credit.” Check this box for each credit you plan to attempt.
  2. Complete and upload the v4.1 PDF form available through LEED Online. In LEED Online, navigate to the sidebar on the right and click on “v4.1 Sample Forms.” Before entering information into a form, click “Switch to Save Mode” in order to save the form offline; upload the form to the applicable credit when done.
  3. Follow the credit specific instructions from the table in the Beta Guide, uploading any additional documentation, narratives or calculations as outlined in the documentation column. Note that calculators specific to LEED v4.1, are available through the LEED Credit Library, under Resources for each specific, impacted credit.
  4. Submit credits for review following the standard process.

What guidance is there for LEED v4.1 projects impacted by COVID-19?

Up to date information and credit specifics are available here. The latest allowances and guidance ensure there is a certification path for all projects.

What is a beta rating system?
A beta rating system is a pilot, a chance to provide the market with updates earlier and to use project experience to inform and accelerate the development of a final set of balloted requirements.

How do I register?
When selecting your choice of rating system in LEED Online, simply select LEED v4.1 rather than LEED v4.

How do I upgrade my LEED v4 project to LEED v4.1?
Contact GBCI Canada customer service for a free upgrade.

Can I still register under LEED v4?
Project teams will continue to have the option of registering under LEED v4 while LEED v4.1 is being piloted. A date has not been set to close registration for LEED v4, continue to read the LEED Technical Bulletin for updates as LEED v4.1 development continues.

How do I participate in the public comment?
USGBC opened a Call for Proposals in 2018 in conjunction with the development cycle for LEED v4.1 and again in 2019. You can read the USGBC responses to the submitted proposals (see 2018 and 2019 responses). A date has not yet been set for the public comment on LEED v4.1; however, we welcome your comments. Contact us to provide your feedback. Ensure your email includes the rating system, credit of concern and suggestions for improvements.

LEED v4 is supported by LEED Coach Canada, a collaborative customer service team with diverse building science backgrounds located across Canada.

For Canadian insights to your LEED questions, contact LEED Coach Canada