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New York’s energy grading system is up and running, and it’s fueling LEED bashing. Are the critics right?

by Paula Melton

At 7 Bryant Park in New York City, a plaque from 2016 proudly displays a rating of LEED 2009 Gold. To its left is the building’s current “energy grade,” whose display is required by a recently enacted NYC law. For actual energy use, the building gets a C—an Energy Star score of 60, which means it’s only slightly above average. What gives?

Mahesh Ramanujam will step down, and former USGBC Exec Peter Templeton (now head of the Cradle to Cradle Products Innovation Institute) will take his place November 1 amid strategic repositioning for USGBC, GBCI, and Arc. Time to weigh in! What do you want for LEED?

by Paula Melton

In a surprising announcement, Mahesh Ramanujam let the community know yesterday that he will be stepping down as president and CEO of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and its sister organizations GBCI and Arc as of November 1.

This LEED Gold citizenM hotel in Seattle features a modular design in a seismic zone.

by Paula Melton

Project: citizenM South Lake Union Hotel

Client: citizenM Hotels

Executive Architect: Gensler Seattle

Architect/Interior Designer: concrete Amsterdam

Construction: Mortenson

These LEED Platinum homes in Fort Collins, Colorado used a variety of design strategies to maximize efficiency and go all electric—and hopefully net positive.

by Paula Melton

Project: L’Avenir Living condominiums

Type: Multifamily residential

Architect: Davis Davis Architects

MEP engineer: Group 14

Contractor: Philgreen Construction

The LEED Platinum Comcast Technology Center in Philadelphia includes six “amenity floors” for occupant health and wellness.

by Paula Melton

Project: Comcast Technology Center

Size: 1,350,000 ft2

Type: Corporate office

Owner: Comcast and Liberty Property Trust

Architects: Kendall Heaton Associates, Foster + Partners, Gensler, Daroff Design

MEP Engineer: BALA Engineers

Sustainability consultant: WSP

LEED consultant: Atelier Ten

Contractor: L.F. Driscoll

Harvard’s new science complex responds to the sun, admitting solar heat in winter, shading in summer, and allowing daylighting all year long.

by Paula Melton

Project: Harvard University Science and Engineering Complex

Size: 544,000 ft2

Type: Academic building that includes teaching and research labs, classrooms, and a library

Owner: Harvard University (Allston, Massachusetts campus)

Architect: Behnisch Architekten

MEP engineer: Van Zelm Heywood and Shadford Inc.

Contractor: Turner Construction

The Rockwell Integrated Sciences Center at Lafayette College earned LEED v4 Platinum, including achievement of the Bird Collision Deterrence pilot credit.

by Paula Melton

Size: 103,000 ft2

Type: Academic building with classrooms, offices, greenhouse, and labs

Owner: Lafayette College, Easton, Pennsylvania

Architect: Payette

MEP engineer: Bard Rao + Athanas Consulting Engineers

Contractor: Turner Construction Co.

This LEED v4 Gold core & shell project encourages wellness and benefits local flora by hosting beehives.

by Paula Melton

Size: 8 stories, 245,000 ft2

Type: Commercial office with ground-level retail

Architect: Gensler

MEP engineer: MKK Engineers

Contractor: Mortensen

Developer: Beacon Capital Partners

From Dave Hubka of Rivion, this cheat sheet lets you know which credits on your v4 project are easier under v4.1.

by Paula Melton

As you probably know by now, it is possible on a v4 Building Design and Construction (BD+C) project to substitute any v4.1 credit or prerequisite, with no limit on the number of substitutions.

The King Open and Cambridge Street Upper School and Community Complex offers elementary and middle school education along with social and family service programs.

by Paula Melton

The King Open and Cambridge Street Upper School and Community Complex is a big enough deal to warrant its big name.

With net-zero-carbon operations and LEED v4 Platinum certification, the 273,000 ft2 project includes multiple schools, a public pool, a public library, lots of open space for the entire community to use, and a variety of social services for families.

USGBC has lowered thresholds for compliance with Materials & Resources credits, making these even more accessible for project teams.

by Matt Dempsey

USGBC did some spring cleaning last week, and the LEED Materials & Resources category was first on its list. The 2021 Quarter 2 Addenda include some significant updates to requirements for Environmental Product Declarations, Sourcing of Raw Materials, and Materials Ingredients across both BD+C and ID+C v4.1 rating systems—so if you have a project pursuing any of these credits, stop and read this first!

Version 4.1 is still in beta, and the latest addenda updates are a reminder of that.

by Paula Melton

If you’re not in the habit of tracking addenda updates, now would be a good time to start.

With v4.1 almost ready for ballot, what comes next?

by Paula Melton

LEED v4.1 is still in beta. LEED v4 isn’t going anywhere soon. The sunset date for LEED 2009 even got delayed because of the pandemic. For those mired in the details of one of these currently used rating systems, it might seem premature to start thinking about what’s next.

The LEED Positive vision now has a deadline: 2025.

by Paula Melton

Forget net zero by 2030: it’s not enough, or soon enough, to stop catastrophic climate change.

That’s the message Mahesh Ramanujam, president and CEO of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), had for attendees of Greenbuild 2020. Ramanujam instead set a more ambitious requirement: all new construction will have to achieve net-positive carbon and energy performance by 2025 in order to achieve LEED certification. Existing buildings will have to achieve these same goals by 2050.

LEED addresses social equity in several ways, but there’s lots of room for improvement.

by Paula Melton

Protesters are rising up around the nation in response to our racist legal system. And although the Black Lives Matter movement focuses on police brutality, these protests are helping bring attention to social equity more generally.