LEED Energy Performance Requirements to Increase

11 07 2007

JULY 11, 2007

Washington, D.C. — The U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) membership has passed a vote to increase the standards that all projects must meet in order to become certified by the organization’s LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program.

Now, the projects must achieve at least two “Optimize Energy Performance” points, which the organization expects will improve energy performance of all LEED-certified buildings by 14 percent for new construction and seven percent for existing buildings. The change was sparked by USGBC’s desire to create solutions for climate change.

To help projects achieve the new energy reduction requirements, a prescriptive compliance path is currently under development as an alternative to energy modeling.

“Improving energy performance will immediately increase the LEED Green Building Rating System’s impact in reducing building energy related greenhouse gas emissions,” says Tom Hicks vice president of USGBC’s LEED program.

According to the organization, buildings are an important—and often overlooked—solution to climate change. They are responsible for nearly 40 percent of CO2 emissions in the country, due to energy use, water consumption and other operations. CO2, a greenhouse gas that is thought to be a contributor to climate change, has increased 18 percent since 1990 due to the rise in energy consumption, USGBC says.

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