The future of green certification is now ahead of the curve. Thanks to the USGBC’s revisions in its newest Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) rating system, LEED® v3 or LEED® version 3 is up and running and should expedite and simplify the stalwart third party sustainable rating system.USGBC may not have been fully prepared for the global acceptance of its third party rating system, which is now used by government, government agencies and international bodies to evaluate sustainability. The certification has become recognized as a viable base for financial and government-backed incentive programs.As the LEED® rating system has expanded into new markets and new areas of construction, clients reported difficulties with the documentation requirements and stressed the need for more scientific support for certain assumptions.LEED® v3 is in direct response to 10 years of accumulated client concerns. The new version specifically addresses the following areas:• A building’s operation and maintenance – LEED® for Existing Buildings• Criteria tailored for design and construction of speculative buildings – LEED® for Core and Shell• Rating guidelines for new construction – LEED® for New ConstructionLEED® v3 seeks to harmonize these programs to the project’s needs. Similar language and similar standards are used throughout the revamped rating system. The changes should align and correlate the credits carried throughout the program.Users have been frustrated by subtle differences between credits that carry the same description and same intent but which are applied to projects of varying scope. LEED® v3 expands the credit system to a base of 100 points. Additional credits are available with regional influence or for green construction aspects that are considered innovative.Previously, each project had its own pre-determined point totals as listed below:• LEED® for Schools – 79 points• LEED® for New Construction – 69 points• LEED® for Commercial Interiors – 57 pointsUnder to 100 point system, the following project credits earn the following certification level:• 40 points – Certified• 50 points – Silver• 60 points – Gold• 80 points – PlatinumThe USGBC’s intent is that through the new alignment and with the established thresholds and standardized point totals, the documentation and certification process will be simplified.