USGBC Changes LEED Certification

In a move that aligns with its deep commitment to solutions for climate change, the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC, Washington, D.C.) membership has overwhelmingly passed a vote for all LEED certified projects to achieve at least two “Optimize Energy Performance” points within LEED, which will improve the energy performance of all LEED certified green buildings by 14% for new construction and 7% for existing buildings.

Buildings are an important and often overlooked solution to climate change. They are responsible for nearly 40% of CO2 emissions in the U.S., due to energy use, water consumption and other operational issues. CO2, a greenhouse gas that is a major contributor to climate change, has increased 18% since 1990 due to the rise in energy consumption.

“Improving energy performance will immediately increase the LEED Green Building Rating System's impact in reducing building energy related greenhouse gas emissions,” said Tom Hicks, vice president, LEED, U.S. Green Building Council.

Beginning June 26, all newly registered commercial LEED projects will be required to achieve the two “Optimize Energy Performance” points within LEED. The new requirement will reduce the environmental and economic impacts associated with excessive energy use and maximize energy performance of buildings through cost effective energy efficiency measures. To help projects achieve the new energy reduction requirements, a prescriptive compliance path is currently under development as an alternative to energy modeling. The two mandatory points will count towards a project's LEED certification.

Last November USGBC’s Board of Directors passed an eight point agenda to address climate change and buildings.

“Each of the eight specific actions will have an immediate and measurable impact on C02 reduction,” said Rick Fedrizzi, president, CEO and founding chair. “When implemented in concert, they comprise a powerful leadership initiative that sets a high bar for the building industry.”

To view the energy optimization section of LEED, visit www.usgbc.org.

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