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It’s all about the process

Any project can earn this credit, and it’s readily achievable for teams that take an integrated approach from the project onset. The credit requires early analysis of energy and water systems in order to identify synergies within the project design that can optimize energy and water performance. 

To earn this credit, teams must set an early energy target and create a “simple box” energy model—a type of analysis that helps determine the energy impact of decisions made very early in design, such as building orientation and massing.

Teams also must perform a preliminary water budget analysis. In this exploratory phase, teams should think through strategies for reducing potable water use in the building, and for reducing the project’s burden on municipal water and wastewater services.

Documentation for the LEED submittal includes a letter describing the team’s integrative approach and explaining how this approach affected the final design.

What’s New in LEED v4.1

  • Teams must set an energy target early in design.
  • Instead of assessing just two energy strategies, teams must assess all of the strategies listed, provided they are applicable to the project
  • Documentation now includes a letter to be drafted by the integrative design process leader, rather than a prescriptive checklist to fill out for documentation.

Note: This v4.1 credit initially added an exemplary performance option, but that has since been removed through an addendum.

Should I upgrade?

Probably. Setting an early energy target provides a guiding star for the team that v4 didn’t require. And the final letter explaining how the process affected the project is also helpful for identifying lessons learned and potentially transforming future projects.