The process to adopt the next version of LEED has been pushed back according to an announcement by USGBC President and CEO S. Richard Fedrizzi earlier this week. The change means LEED 2012 (now being called LEED v4) will likely not be brought up for a vote on adoption until the middle of next year.

The new standard has already been through four comment periods, with the credit language and the manner in which credits would be evaluated under discussion. There have been revisions in each of these comment periods. A fifth comment period is now scheduled for this fall (October 2 – December 10) and the actual balloting on adoption of LEED v4 is expected to begin June 1, 2013.

USGBC also confirmed to Jetson Green that LEED-H (the LEED system for homes) will “continue to follow the same delivery schedule as the commercial rating systems,” so changes to the residential program are likewise pushed back.

To put this in perspective, it should be noted that green building is not a fixed, absolute concept. To stay at the forefront of the industry, a building built today must do more than one built a decade ago.  For this reason, LEED has always been an evolving system. Like software, LEED has continued to change and upgrade periodically. LEED has gone from an initial version 1.0 to a version 2, which went through a couple of revisions (version 2.1 and 2.2) before the last significant change (version 3, which came to be called LEED 2009). The desire of USGBC was to put it on a cycle of continuous revision and improvement, much like the building codes, which are revised and re-issued every three years.

LEED is also experiencing growing pains as the industry has struggled to adopt the many requirements the system requires.

Fedrizzi said, “As we’ve gone through public comment on LEED 2012, and engaged in hundreds of discussions with our members, the LEED community and numerous other stakeholders, we have heard repeatedly that while our community continues to fully embrace our mission, they need more time to absorb the changes we’re proposing and to get their businesses ready to take the step with us. Most importantly, they want more visibility into the infrastructural improvements we’ve promised with the LEED 2012 program — forms, documentation, education, and LEED Online – to inform their internal adoption strategies.

[+] More about the USGBC’s announcement of LEED v4.