Tag Archives: Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design

5 of the Most Important Changes to the LEED Green Building Rating System

Green_Building_Reflection_310_228The U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED green building certification has come a long way in more than a decade. Once criticized for lacking in mandatory energy efficiency prerequisites, the latest iteration, version 4, takes energy management one step further.

Greentech Media spoke to Brendan Owens, vice president of LEED technical development, about five updates in LEED v4 that energy geeks will want to know about.

Building level energy metering prerequisite

The new prerequisite calls for each project to measure whole building energy use, and then share that data with USGBC. Metering in and of itself does not provide energy savings, but basic tools that crunch data can provide ongoing visibility that building managers and owners can employ to manage energy use.

“All of these requirements are about ensuring that LEED buildings are operating as well as they are capable of, and that they stay optimized and efficient over the long term,” said Owens.

The best part of the new prerequisite? These days there are plenty of low- and no-cost energy monitoring services to help building owners ensure that buildings are constantly optimized.

Water use prerequisite

Two new prerequisites, for building-level water metering and outdoor water use reduction, will help projects not only get a grip on water consumption, but also save energy over the long term. The water use reduction must hit 30 percent and the water metering data must be shared with USGBC for five years.


Demand response credit

After years of piloting, demand response has graduated to the level of base credit. In its pilot iteration, demand response could be semi- or fully automated as long as it met a 10 percent load-shed requirement. The new credit requires that the demand response system must be capable of being fully automated, but can be operated in a semi-automated way, said Owens.

The new credit also adds a requirement that the demand response process is included in the commissioning scope of a LEED project. The requirement is part of a larger shift in LEED v4 to a focus on integrative design for water and energy use. Buildings that aren’t located in a utility territory with a demand response program can comply with the requirement to have the systems in place and still receive one out of two points.

Planning for demand response during commissioning could possibly mean adding energy storage along with systems that can respond to automated demand response signals, said Mark MacCracken, CEO of energy storage company CALMAC and former USGBC chair.

“The new demand response credit addresses peak electrical load reductions with two methods, namely, temporary and permanent,” said MacCracken. “Permanent methods, like thermal energy storage, make these demand reductions invisible to the occupants by shifting electrical usages permanently to off-peak hours.”


Renewable energy production credit

The renamed credit increases the number of points available for renewable energy, said Owens. Projects can also now claim credit for community renewable energy systems as long as they have a ten-year lease for the energy system and the resource is within the same utility service area as the building.


Advanced energy metering prerequisite

The new prerequisite goes one step further than basic building-level data and requires a permanent metering system that records intervals of one hour or less, and the meter must transmit that data to a remote location.

Article By: Katherine Tweed | Greentechmedia.com

LEED V4 Has Indoor And Outdoor Environment Elements, Simplified Recertification

LEED V4 Has Indoor And Outdoor Environment Elements, Simplified Recertification: By Brendan Owens

Two areas of LEED v4 facility managers should be aware of are the indoor and outdoor environmental credits, as well as the simplified recertification.

The Indoor Environmental Quality credit category focuses on four areas of performance: air, light, sound, and occupant experience. Credits for interior lighting, daylight, and thermal comfort address improved performance from an occupant experience perspective. The emphasis on performance is echoed throughout the indoor environment category, with a credit available for regularly surveying occupant comfort and making improvements based on the results. A performance-based approach to air quality relies on ongoing testing and the use of products that minimize exposure to volatile organic compounds. A new credit, Enhanced Indoor Air Strategies, encompasses best management practices in the monitoring of indoor air quality. Along with credits for improved ventilation and a ban on smoking in all certified buildings, LEED v4 puts a premium on improved air quality for occupants.

In v4, EBOM focuses on implementing effective maintenance changes rather than changing design elements, which tends to be difficult in existing buildings. For example, the Light Pollution Reduction credit depends on shielding exterior fixtures and taking perimeter measurements, with no interior design requirements. Additionally, projects are rewarded for conserving resources if they make no alterations or furniture purchases during their EBOM certification process.

6. The Outdoor Environment

Site Management Policy, a new prerequisite in EBOM, reflects a more holistic approach to sustainable site management. LEED v4 emphasizes the potential for projects to positively impact and sustainably manage their sites, with improved clarity on how to comply with requirements.

For LEED v4 EBOM, credit achievement in the Sustainable Sites category is more flexible and performance-based than in previous versions of LEED. USGBC has added an off-site conservation option in the Site Development — Protect or Restore Habitat credit that allows projects to promote and financially support biodiversity in an off-site environment. For building sites without space available for on-site restoration, this option opens this credit to a much wider variety of projects, regardless of location.

Where possible, documentation for credits in the Sustainable Sites category has undergone a significant reduction to ensure that the focus for project teams remains on achieving credits rather than documentation.

7. Simplified Recertification

LEED v4 was created with recertification in mind. In keeping with a focus on performance, EBOM projects must recertify every five years (though they are eligible for recertification as often as every 12 months). The ongoing data tracking built into the new version will help projects document their progress and adherence to operational protocols and procedures, which is critical to ensuring that projects maintain and even improve their performance on an ongoing basis.

USGBC provides recertification guidance to help building owners and managers gauge the performance of their buildings; such guidance includes information on how to transition from LEED v2009 to LEED v4, and how to meet performance requirements for certain credits. To be as transparent as possible, the establishment (initial certification) and performance (initial and recertification) requirements are now clearly outlined within the credit language.

Recertification will focus on documenting performance, meaning projects will only have to establish static project features one time, during the initial certification, leaving time to focus on improvements in other parts of the building.

The new version of LEED puts a premium on continued leadership and ease of use. With LEED v4, USGBC is striving to make high performance a part of every building, regardless of age or use type. The launch of LEED v4 in November is critical for the next generation of LEED-certified buildings, one big step toward green buildings for all.

LEED V4 Changes Are Focused On Performance

LEED V4 Changes Are Focused On Performance: By Brendan Owens

One of the fundamental aspects of the LEED green building rating system is change — to keep up with advances in green building science and technology, the system evolves to continue to function as a leadership standard. LEED v4, passed by U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) member ballot in July 2013, is an update that offers a new global perspective, a streamlined user experience, and a more thorough focus on building performance. It also makes LEED certification accessible to a wider range of building and facility types. But ultimately, the changes in LEED v4 are focused on performance.

Many of the changes in LEED v4 improve the clarity, functionality and interconnectivity of the system, emphasizing a more holistic and integrative approach to green building. Overall, there have been improvements to the user experience, from revamped reference guides to a reduction in documentation.

LEED v4 for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance (EBOM) builds on earlier versions of the system to help older buildings improve their efficiency, reduce waste, and maintain a responsible and sustainable building. Changes to EBOM raise the standard for green operations.

USGBC will launch LEED v4 at the Greenbuild International Conference and Expo, Nov. 20-22 in Philadelphia. In the meantime, here are the top seven things facility managers need to know about the upcoming changes to the rating system.

1. New Market Sectors

In an effort to ensure that LEED is the right tool for the diverse group of market sectors that engage with it, LEED v4 features technical adaptations addressing 21 different market sectors, including new solutions for existing schools, retail locations, data centers, and warehouse and distribution centers. To ensure that each particular space’s unique needs and demands are addressed, new sector guidelines were reviewed by market leaders who own, operate, and design these types of spaces.

The existing building market is far larger than the new construction market, and existing buildings consume the great majority of energy in the U.S. By opening up the certification process to these new market sectors, USGBC hopes to make a greater number of these buildings perform better, while still fulfilling occupant and tenant needs.

2. Energy and Water

One of the major changes in LEED tv4 is an increased emphasis on energy and water metering; new prerequisites require that LEED-certified buildings monitor and report their total water and energy use to USGBC. Additional credits are available for implementing subsystem metering, which gives facility managers a better understanding of where the resources in their buildings are being used, helping them to identify and prioritize improvement opportunities.

Closely monitoring the energy use of specific systems within the building can help identify phantom loads by showing where devices are not in use but are still consuming energy. Implementing automatic shutoffs to address these loads reduces energy use, resulting in financial savings.

The scope of the LEED v4 Water Efficiency credit category has been expanded, and it now addresses a more complete picture of water use in LEED-certified buildings and their grounds. Points are available for system-specific monitoring and analysis over time, which will facilitate further decreases in water waste.

Data from water and energy metering will be shared with USGBC as part of a process to encourage ongoing verification and regular performance checks.


Newest Version of LEED Rating System to Launch in November

Leed-logo-top-storyU.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) membership voted during the summer of 2013 to adopt the fourth version of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED v4), the next update to the green building rating system. The final overall vote was 86 percent in favor of adopting LEED v4. This includes 90 percent approval from the user category of the voting body, 77 percent approval from the general interest category and 89 percent approval from the producer category. The minimum overall percentage of votes needed for a passing vote was 66.7 percent.

LEED v4 will officially launch at the Greenbuild International Expo and Conference and Expo, Nov. 20-22. Teams will then be able to register their projects under the new system and access the tools and suite of resources that support it.

“There are 46 countries and territories around the world and all 50 U.S. states (and the District of Columbia) represented in the voting pool for LEED v4, which includes an extraordinarily diverse group of industry professionals, manufacturers, educators and other green building leaders,” says Joel Ann Todd, chair of the LEED Steering Committee. “USGBC sets a very high bar for a rating system to be approved. The rating system must earn a significant percentage of the overall vote as well as a majority approval from each of the various LEED stakeholder groups. This ensures that rating system approval represents the full diversity of USGBC’s membership.”

Over the course of LEED’s development cycle, the program undergoes a series of public comment periods ending with a final ballot, during which USGBC members vote on whether to adopt the changes within the final proposed system.

“This update of LEED builds on the past while offering new requirements, preparing all LEED projects to achieve higher levels of building performance and positive environmental outcomes,” says Scot Horst, senior vice president of LEED for the USGBC. “This newest version of LEED challenges the market to make the next leap toward better, cleaner, healthier buildings. I am confident that people will also notice the improved usability of the system with an improved documentation process and more resources and tools to assist and support positive action.”

USGBC plans to offer education on LEED v4 in the form of webinar suites, and the full program, along with reference guides, will be unveiled at Greenbuild International Conference & Expo.