Opinion: Few LEEDv4 projects available to bid on
By Margaret Fisher

Have you bid on a LEEDv4 project yet? If you haven’t, you’renot alone.


USGBC website as of 9/1/14 states and lists 373 total LEEDv4projects.


Those that I can find by searching just by U.S. state nameaccount for 260 of those registered LEEDv4 projects. The other are apparently113 are scattered around the world in military, embassy and thousands of othergovernment owned buildings around the world as well as some banks and hotels. Idid find one registered in Washington, D.C.


Thirteen U.S. states have NO LEEDv4 projects registered todate: AZ, CT, DE, HI, IN, ME, NE, SC, WV, WY. The Dakotas and even teensylittle green-trending Rhode Island with its earthy towns, well known slow foodmovement and condensed cosmopolitan yet aging hippyish population has 119 LEEDprojects registered but, none are LEEDv4.

Our other smallish states such as NH, DE, CT, VT and whatthe heck, let’s throw RI back into the pure copper saucepan and total up anaccumulated 1,075 Registered LEED projects but only four of those areregistered LEEDv4. CT accounting for squarely half the grand total has notregistered ANY LEED v4 projects to date.

What about the geographically large states? Obviously Alaskaand Texas account for many square miles but, lets add MT, CA, NY, PA, GA, FL,CO, AZ, NM, UT, NV, OR & WA to that. Accumulated they have a bunch; 28,749registered LEED projects. Of those, only 158 are registered as LEEDv4. Thatbeing said, if 260 LEED projects are registered as LEEDv4, then these 15geographically large states might be said to be carrying the ball. But, wait,of those fifteen large states just listed, six of those in fact (AK, MT, NM,UT, OR, & WA) have three or less apiece and AZ has none.


So which states are LEEDv4-ing the way? Well, one wouldthink it would be the states that have been the strongholds of LEED/and pro-greenbuilding aware cities like Boulder (CO), Portland (OR), Austin & Houston(TX), Minneapolis/St. Paul (MN), Madison (WI), NYC, San Francisco &Sacramento (CA), the darling Jeffersonian VA and Philly (PA). They have beenthe heavy hitters registering the bulk of the LEED projects since its inceptionover 10 years and 5 versions ago. These eight states alone can claim the totalregistration of 22,256 LEED projects. Each of those has registered a few LEEDv4projects today. Here’s the breakdown: CO-11, OR-1, TX-14, MN-2, WI-5, NY-19,CA-55, VA-9 & PA-13.  129 total.Clearly, the Environmental disposition on green building has something to dowith the number of LEEDv4 projects in that state. Or does it? Oregon with justone? Minnesota with just two?  Hmmmm…..


For all the angst blogging and Twit-Face social mediating you’dthink states like Maine and Georgia would be the downfall of LEED v4. But, no. Energysucking Georgia like other high energy consuming states such as CA, FL, IL, MI,NY, OH and TX all have LEEDv4 projects accounting for 125 LEEDv4 projects. Allare large consumers of air conditioning, or are industrial, government ortechnology centered. Maine doesn’t have any LEED v4 projects as predicted but,they hardly have any cities as it is (More Trees!!!) and has not even yetregistered 200 LEED projects of ANY kind with USGBC since its start.


So where are the LEEDv4 projects? Here’s the breakdown bystate: CA has 55, NY has 19, FL and MD have 15 each, TX just 14, PA 13, CO 11,GA & IL just 10 each, VA & NV 9 each. Those with between 5-9 are MI,MO, NJ, NC, OH, and WI. Missouri is known as “the show-me state”. That doesn’tmean “show me something interesting” or “show me the way”, it’s a challengemeaning “PROVE IT!” With just six LEEDv4 projects registered in MO, clearlyUSGBC needs to “prove it” a little more in that state. The 20 states laggingbehind with 4 or less LEEDv4 projects registered are AL, AK, AR, ID, IA, KS,KY, LA, MA, MN, MI, MT, NH, NM, OK, OR, TN, UT, VT, & WA. Add to that the13 states that still have ZERO LEEDv4 projects and you have 33 states that havenot spent the past 14 months getting LEEDv4 on their top priority list since itwas officially voted in. That’s almost ¾ of them.


By this enthusiasticannouncement one would presume that thousands, not hundreds of projects waitingon the boards and in people’s imaginations would be generated as LEEDv4projects. After 14 months, if this is the result of the “landslide” even at 57years old, I’m pretty sure I can outrun it! With just 260 LEEDv4 projectsregistered in US States, it’s no wonder most millwork companies have not seenone to bid on.  Probably too soon to callthis a passive protest but, each time I ask my magic 8-ball if LEED v4 will bea success it comes up, “NO”. It knows!! (NOTE: Sadly, those who were not childrenin the 1960’s will probably not have experienced this important and amazing, life-strategizingpsychic tool.)


My favorite part of this researchwas finding a listing for one of four LEEDv4 projects registered in Alabamasimply titled as “big apartment complex with many buildings”. Why not?! Sort oflike the Beatles not being able to come up with a name they could all agree onfor the White Album, right? Or perhaps they are still in the process of sellingthe naming rights to the subcontractors. Stay tuned.


So, since I regularly hearthe following from GC’s “We would never advise our customers to do that” andfrom design professionals, “the cost of a LEED v4 project would not befinancially feasible for our current clientele”, what WILL be used? If notLEEDv4; What?


Perhaps nothing. Maybe therise of the “LEED Flavored” project is here. A LEED Flavored project is onethat looks (in the specs) like LEED credit language but, there is no LEEDcredit checklist and no registration with USGBC. They just want a betterenvironmental building but, not the certification credentials or plaque thereby,saving cost. But, we may see an increase in GreenGlobes use or of LivingBuilding Challenge. We may see other references to sustainable building systemsalready in place in other countries. LEED v3 2009 seems alive and well but, thelights go out on that version in just nine months from now; June 15th2015.

Margaret Fisher

Honorary lifetime Member

Sustainable ResourcesCommittee Member


Have something to say? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.