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Electrification in LEED: February 2023 Addenda

Green cleaning updates help ease the use of the O+M rating system, while new pilot credits for electrification, decarbonization, and other issues offer new pathways for project teams.
Axel Jeremie
March 7, 2023

This quarter’s LEED Addenda were released on Wednesday, February 8. USGBC posted the official update here.   Our hot take is…. 

Interpretations: New Means to Green Clean

LEED Interpretation 10502

Operations and Maintenance (O+M) v4.1 projects can now use the ISSA GBAC STAR Green Building Accreditation program to comply with Option 2 of the O+M prerequisite Green Cleaning Policy. The Global Bio risk Advisory Council (GBAC) helps organizations worldwide prepare for, respond to, and recover from biological threats such as the COVID-19 pandemic. They do this by creating comprehensive plans for cleaning, disinfection, and infectious disease control. The GBAC program can used by buildings of all sizes, from convention centers and airports to retail spaces and offices. (See the credit language tab and addenda tab for the full language and ruling.)

LEED interpretation 10503

O+M v4.1 projects trying to achieve Green Cleaning credit Option 1, Custodial Effectiveness Assessment, can now chose a testing pathway instead of a visual inspection. Teams can implement a protocol for regular measuring of surface contamination or regularly occupied areas with an ATP (adenosine triphosphate) meter or equivalent. Using the testing results project teams will then create reports to verify testing and identify areas of improvement/ corrective actions for cleaning. This will benefit project teams who do not have resources to administer an annual Audit using the APPA Leadership in educational Facilities’ Custodial Staffing Guidelines. (See the credit language tab and addenda tab for the full language and ruling.)

Corrections: Operating and Maintaining the Language

The v4.1 O+M rating system got an addendum to clean up and clarify some language. Nothing too exciting here. 

Pilot Credits: It’s a Bird! It’s a Plane! It’s NEW Pilot Credits!

New pilot credits have been introduced to change up the ways we can improve building efficiency. 

New points for green leases

EApc159, Green Leases ACP, mixes up the LEED v4 and 4.1 core and shell Optimize Energy Performance credit. By capping the energy performance score at 15 points (rather than 18 in the normal pathway) and adding provisions for a green lease, energy-intensive core and shell projects have an opportunity to still score high in this credit and ensure that tenant spaces will take the necessary steps for energy efficiency. Best of all, you only need to develop a standard green lease to get three points in the ACP (alternative compliance path).

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Decarbonizing by 2050

The much anticipated EApc160 and EApc161 are both intended to evaluate the steps to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

EApc160 Electrification ACPPrescriptive Path uses a prescriptive approach rather than a benchmarking one in the Optimize Energy Performance pathway to align building performance goals with reaching zero carbon by 2050. A guide is available from USGBC for detailed prescriptive pathways options and a point breakdown. 

EApc161 Electrification ACP: Energy Simulation Performance Path is similar to EApc160 but provides a performance path toward reaching zero carbon by 2050. This ACP places increased focus on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and demand-adjusted energy of the building. EApc161 requires compliance with the standard EA Optimize Energy Performance and Minimum Energy Performance credits from v4 and 4.1 but all references to the cost metric are replaced with demand-adjusted energy and GHG emissions. This will help projects that are all electric but are required to use gas systems as the baseline. In those scenarios, cost is not an effective metric to show environmental impact reduction. 

More New O+M Pathways, for Water and Energy

Indoor water use calculation for low-performing buildings

WEpc162 Calculated Indoor Water Use ACP is an alternative to the Water Performance Prerequisite for O+M v4.1 projects. The credit still requires reporting water usage for 12 consecutive months, which is typical of the O+M framework, but creates a way for low-performing buildings to achieve this prerequisite. Teams will be required to calculate a “baseline water usage” by assuming that 100% of the fixtures in the project boundary use the Uniform Plumbing Code or International Plumbing Code-compliant flow rates as describe in LEED (1.6 gpm toilets, 1.0 gpf urinals, 2.2 gpm public lav, etc.).

Depending on when the building was permitted, the baseline will be adjusted to 120% or 150%. After the baseline is determined, the team will run another water-use calculation with as-built fixtures and report a percentage water savings, which will be used to award points to the project. Note that his ACP caps at six points (eight for interiors) in the O+M framework.

GHG options for existing buildings

EApc163 Energy Star and ASHRAE Standard 100 ACP allows O+M v4.1 projects to use a combination of building Energy Star score and GHG emission reduction from a target set by ASHRAE Standard 100–2018 to achieve points.

Projects not eligible for Energy Star can demonstrate project source energy use that is at or below the median source energy use intensity (EUI) target established for the project’s building category and climate zone in Appendix A. Teams must report GHG emissions from the building over a consecutive 12-month period, and points are awarded based on percentage reduction from GHG emission targets and Energy Star score/ percentage improvement over median source EUI target.

Updates: A Quick Download

Closed Credits: That’s All, Folks!

The following pilot credits closed February 17, 2023.


Nothing major here. The Annual Outdoor Water Use Reduction calculator got updates for errors in the LEED v4 Outdoor Water Use Reduction Calculator Landscape Water Requirement tab.

Date updated: 
Tuesday, March 7, 2023

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April 17, 2023 - 5:39 pm

To me, 2050 feels alarmingly close! The original goal was to design new construction to be net-zero by 2030 and hit zero for all existing buildings by 2050. Now it's 2023. I just don't know.

April 17, 2023 - 3:53 pm

Net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 seems so far off; I feel as if we could do it a lot sooner! Going to spend a moment reviewing 60/EApc161.