WASHINGTON, DC - The U.S. Green Building Council opened for comments the next proposed update to its LEED green building program, listed at LEED v4.

The comment period, the fifth in  series, ends Dec. 10, and could generate some significant dissent from the wood manufacturing industry, given recent executive orders by governors of Maine and Georgia to block the LEED standard from use in at least some state-funded construction projects.

"LEED v4 will have the greatest impact of any rating system we've developed," said Scot Horst, Senior VP LEED, USGBC. "LEED v4 will help change the way project teams think, integrate, plan, execute and operate their buildings."

The LEED v4 program emphasises energy conservation and a wide range of cosntruction materials and methods, each earning points for contribution to reducing a building projects envrinmental impact.

Wood industry interests have complained that lumber and panel products carry too little weight in LEED schemes, and ath only FSC certification is accepted by LEED as a chain-of-custody verification. In response to industry feedback, USGBC announced an expanded timeline for LEED v4 and committed to a fifth public comment period. A ballot period is expected to open June 1, 2013.

Horst says the LEED v4 draft  encourages using fewer, better materials, which will result in up to 9 LEED points. "This draft reflects the thoughtful comments and recommendations we've received from over 21,500 stakeholders," says Horst.

It is expected to launch in 2013. USGBC's Greenbuild International Conference and Expo, taking place Nov. 14-16 in San Francisco, wil have sessions covering LEED v4. USGBC.org website.

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