Launch Of LEED v5: A Pivotal Moment In Green Building Certification

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Launch Of LEED v5: A Pivotal Moment In Green Building Certification

Released in September 2023, the US Green Building Council’s draft LEED v5 for Operations and Maintenance (O+M) rewrites green building standards by mandating improved decarbonization, resilience and occupant health targets. The UKGBC forecasts that 80% of the building stock that will exist in 2050 has already been constructed, making the sustainability of existing buildings a top priority. Certification is a crucial step towards achieving these goals.

To help real estate owners and technology vendors navigate and capitalize on the new legislation, Verdantix has released Strategic Focus LEED v5 Signals A Bright Future For Smart Building Technology Vendors. This report sets out how organizations can achieve maximum credits and highlights how vendors should position themselves to take advantage of new buyer demand. With decarbonization now a central pillar of the certification, LEED v5 represents an overhaul of previous energy and carbon management strategies in LEED v4.1 by:

  • Incentivizing long-term decarbonization pathways.
    Decarbonization targets are at the forefront of building standards and executives’ minds. LEED v5 introduces eight additional prerequisites and credits to incentivize improved energy and carbon management including ‘Decarbonization and Efficiency Plans’ and ‘GHG Emissions Reduction’. Critically, building managers must develop a long-term plan for deep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from building energy refrigerants. As an alternative, building managers can also perform an energy audit to evaluate potential energy efficiency measures.

  • Prioritizing the adoption of environmentally friendly refrigerants and reduction of embodied carbon.
    New credits place a deeper focus on low global warming potential (GWP) refrigerants as well as encouraging the adoption of efficient HVAC systems to boost energy efficiency and reduce carbon emissions caused by energy consumption. In addition, through the ‘Embodied Carbon of Interior Materials During Renovations’ credit, LEED v5 adopts minimum requirements on embodied carbon by encouraging a circular loop of hard-to-recover and high-embodied carbon products, aiding the transition of existing building stock to net zero.

  • Increasing the weighting of grid harmonization.
    LEED v5 prepares owners of existing buildings for the decarbonization of the electrical grid by increasing the credit weighting for ‘Grid Harmonization’. This adjustment will help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce stress on the grid at peak times, improve grid reliability, and promote efficient and affordable energy generation and distribution. In the near future, grid connectivity will be essential to ensure the continuity and reliability of energy supply and distribution as the electrical grid becomes renewable-focused and decentralized.


Verdantix anticipates a surge in demand for smart building technologies as real estate owners strive to future-proof their buildings and demonstrate compliance with emerging ESG-focused regulations. LEED v5 for Building Design and Construction is set to follow the rollout of v5 O+M, launching in 2024. To delve deeper into the implications of the new LEED framework for real estate, and learn how to gain maximum credits, see Strategic Focus: LEED v5 Signals A Bright Future For Smart Building Technology Vendors.


Sophie is an Analyst in the Verdantix Smart Buildings practice. She joined Verdantix in 2023, having previously worked as a landscape architect at James Blake Associates, where she gained experience in sustainable design and environmental policy. Sophie holds a BSc in Geography from the University of Exeter.