Recent changes to LEED O+M certification; What you need to know
In 2015, the USGBC began its shift to a performance-based platform for LEED Operations & Maintenance (O+M) certifications. Formerly known as LEED Dynamic Plaque and Performance Score, this certification pathway is now officially called “LEED v4.1.” Since its launch last year, the USGBC has fine-tuned v4.1 to incorporate industry feedback.
LEED v4.1- Summary of recent changes
- Arc v3.0: Arc is the performance-based online platform that drives v4.1 O+M certifications. Last weekend, the USGBC updated the Arc scoring metrics and algorithm as part of their Arc v3.0 rollout. After the updates, we saw most property performance scores increase by 5+ points.
- Certification period: Properties are now required to formally submit for recertification every 3 years instead of annually. However, building performance data must still be uploaded annually to Arc. Projects that do not update their data annually will no longer be considered certified and will have to repay registration fees when recertifying next.
- Certification fees: The USGBC has prorated their 5-year recertification fees to 3-years to align with the new cycle. Note that the $/year has not changed.
Recertifications through v4.1
Properties can pursue recertifications through “LEED v4.1 Recertification” by entering annual performance data (e.g., energy, water, waste, IAQ testing and survey results) into Arc and generating a performance score.
Initial certifications through v4.1
Initial certification can be achieved through “LEED v4.1 O+M” by entering annual performance data into Arc AND demonstrating compliance with basic LEED prerequisites and optional "base" points. Once initial certification is achieved, properties then pursue “LEED v4.1 Recertification” to maintain their certification.
Is traditional O+M certification still available?
Yes, the traditional approach that follows a five-year cycle is still available. However, it will likely be phased out soon because the USGBC has pivoted to performance-based certifications with v4.1. From our experience, LEED v4.1 is much more streamlined than the traditional approach and reduces certification costs by an average of 25-40%.