How do changes in LEED v4 affect commissioning?

While projects may register under LEED Version 3 (v3) until June 1, 2015, many owners and project teams already are registering their new projects under LEED Version 4 (v4). Several changes in LEED v4 place more importance on the commissioning process and expand the role of the commissioning authority (CxA).

One of the most obvious changes in v4 is the addition of a new Integrative Process Credit worth one point toward LEED certification. This credit encourages the project team (including the CxA) to explore how various energy- and water-related options can achieve synergies across disciplines and building systems, supporting “high-performance, cost-effective project outcomes.” This process is meant to inform and improve the Owner’s Project Requirements (OPR) and Basis of Design (BOD).

Other changes to commissioning in v4 are found in the Fundamental Commissioning prerequisite, which has been renamed Fundamental Commissioning and Verification. While the previous requirements from v3 remain, the concept of building envelope commissioning, per NIBS Guideline 3, has been introduced. Requirements for exterior enclosures must be documented in the OPR, the BOD and verified during design reviews. The CxA also is required to prepare a current facilities requirements and operation and maintenance plan. The systems manual was part of the Enhanced Commissioning Credit in v3, but is now required for every LEED project.

The new Fundamental Commissioning prerequisite also tightens CxA qualifications. Under v3, the CxA could be a qualified member of the design team if the project was smaller than 50,000 square feet. Under v4, this allowance has been reduced to 20,000 square feet.

The Enhanced Commissioning Credit has been modified to include two different compliance options, offering a range of between two to six credit points. Option 1 comprises the same enhanced commissioning activities as in previous versions of LEED, which earns three points, but an additional point is available to teams that develop monitoring-based commissioning and “identify points to be measured and evaluated to assess performance of energy- and water-consuming systems.” Option 2 will give two credit points for envelope commissioning during construction. Project teams can elect to comply under Option 1, Option 2, or may complete both options for a maximum of six points.

While the above changes in LEED v4 may have the most direct effect on the CxA, there are additional changes — such as those associated with energy metering — that may also involve commissioning efforts.

For additional information regarding LEED v4, LEED consultation and commissioning for LEED certification, please contact EMorales@hanson-inc.com or RKnoedler@hanson-inc.com.