Two of the key components of LEED v4 are managing building operations and improving energy efficiency.
Metering is just one aspect of a new emphasis on performance-based evaluation in LEED v4. The updates are structured to help users better understand how to manage building performance and ensure that every building can reach its full potential. Measuring a building’s performance is a dynamic and ongoing process that is accomplished through surveys, audits, testing, and tracking of various building processes and functions. Performance evaluations also provide multiple avenues to earn credits that older buildings may find difficult to achieve due to design limitations.
Demand Response is a new credit that emphasizes LEED v4’s increased focus on integrated building performance. Automated demand response systems dynamically shift and reduce energy use in a building in response to congestion and stress signals from the power grid. To earn this credit, a project must demonstrate that it can reduce or shift energy peak load by 10 percent during a peaking event or provide permanent shifting of electrical loads. Because demand response programs are in the early stages of availability, projects can also earn the credit by putting the infrastructure in place to participate in demand response programs anticipated in the future.
Location and Transportation is now a separate category, with opportunities for projects in densely populated areas to earn credits for access to multiple forms of alternative transportation. Points can be earned for occupant incentive and education programs that encourage occupants to take advantage of less carbon-intensive transportation options.
4. Improved Energy Efficiency
It seems like every week there’s another advance in alternative energy sources or energy-efficient building systems. The standards for leadership in energy efficiency have to rise accordingly, and in LEED v4, the minimum Energy Star score for participation in EBOM has been raised to 75 from 69 — a jump that ensures that LEED-certified buildings really are on the cutting edge of efficiency.
While this may sound discouraging for some older buildings seeking certification, it doesn’t have to be. As a part of EBOM’s focus on performance, there is an alternate path to compliance with the minimum energy performance prerequisite: Energy Jumpstart, a pilot credit. By making substantial improvements to their energy efficiency through alternative measures, buildings with an Energy Star score less than 75 can still qualify for EBOM certification.
In lieu of the Energy Star score, facilities must achieve an energy improvement of 20 percent over a 12-month period, which qualifies them for initial certification at the LEED Certified level. This alternative compliance path helps motivate significantly more projects and creates the potential for higher energy savings across the vast stock of existing buildings. With recertification required every five years under EBOM, the Energy Jumpstart option provides further incentive for improvements down the line, as well as higher levels of certification.