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Arc Now Free, Includes Category Certs and “Insight”

Arc, the performance-measurement tool from USGBC’s for-profit arm, is now available to anyone with access to a web browser.
Paula Melton
November 22, 2019

Arc logo and output screen
Image: Arc Skoru
Have you ever wondered how your building measures up against the highest-performing buildings on the planet? With the Arc online software tool, you can now find out—for free.

A new vision for existing buildings

Arc is a performance-measurement platform introduced in 2016 by Arc Skoru, a for-profit subsidiary of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and Green Business Certification Inc (GBCI). The software allows you to enter or import data in five categories—energy, water, waste, transportation, and human experience—and benchmark against LEED buildings to get a score in each category as well as an overall score.

The tool was formerly available only through subscription fees, but removing those fees and opening up the software to everyone is part of a strong push to get existing buildings on board with higher performance—and ultimately, USGBC hopes, LEED certification.

The move was announced at Greenbuild 2019 in Atlanta.

Category certification

In addition, USGBC rolled out a new program called “category certification” that is part of the long-term “LEED Positive” vision, a commitment to eventually requiring net-positive performance from all LEED buildings. Category certification means that any existing building can work on one Arc category (such as energy or water) at a time, earning a certificate when performance in that category passes a certain threshold.

The idea is to reward incremental change, with the goal of bringing more and more existing buildings in the LEED fold.

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“Insight” feature for new construction

The focus isn’t just on existing buildings, though. A new Arc feature known as Insight—created in partnership with Skanska—allows Building Design and Construction (BD+C) project teams to mine data about LEED buildings to understand more about the design strategies used to achieve higher performance levels.

BD+C users choose a geographical region and can compare their own proposed sustainability strategies against those of other buildings in the same area.

“USGBC has a vision of a performance-oriented future,” said USGBC president and CEO Mahesh Ramanujam in a press release. “The trajectory of LEED is to continue to improve the performance throughout the life cycle of buildings.”

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