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LEED v4
Commercial Interiors
Energy and Atmosphere
Green power and carbon offsets

LEED CREDIT

CI-v4 EAc6: Green power and carbon offsets 1-2 points

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SPECIAL REPORT

LEEDuser expert

Marcus Sheffer

7group / Energy Opportunities
LEED Fellow

SPECIAL REPORT

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Credit language

USGBC logo

© Copyright U.S. Green Building Council, Inc. All rights reserved.

Intent

To encourage the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions through the use of grid-source, renewable energy technologies and carbon mitigation projects.

Requirements

Engage in a contract for qualified resources that have come online since January 1, 2005, for a minimum of five years, to be delivered at least annually. The contract must specify the provision of at least 50% or 100% of the project’s energy from green power, carbon offsets, or renewable energy certificates (RECs).

Green power and RECs must be Green-e Energy certified or the equivalent. [Europe ACP: Green Power] [South America ACP: Green Power] RECs can only be used to mitigate the effects of Scope 2, electricity use.

Carbon offsets may be used to mitigate Scope 1 or Scope 2 emissions on a metric ton of carbon dioxide–equivalent basis and must be Green-e Climate certified, or the equivalent.

For U.S. projects, the offsets must be from greenhouse gas emissions reduction projects within the U.S.

Determine the percentage of green power or offsets based on the quantity of energy consumed, not the cost. Points are awarded according to Table 1.

Table 1. Points for energy from green power or carbon offsets

Percentage of total energy addressed by green power, RECs  and/or offsets Points
50% 1
100% 2

Use the project’s annual energy consumption, calculated in EA Prerequisite Minimum Energy Performance, if Option 1 was pursued; otherwise use the U.S. Department of Energy’s Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) database to estimate energy use.

Alternative Compliance Paths (ACPs)

Europe ACP: Green-e Energy Equivalent

Projects in Europe may use the following approved standards in place of Green-e Energy:

  • EKOenergy
  • Guarantees of Origin (GOs) with additional parameters
South America ACP: Green-e Energy Equivalent

Projects in South America may use the Brazilian “Certificado de Energia Renovável” (Renewable Energy Certificate) with additional parameters in place of Green-e Energy.

See all forum discussions about this credit »

What does it cost?

Cost estimates for this credit

On each BD+C v4 credit, LEEDuser offers the wisdom of a team of architects, engineers, cost estimators, and LEED experts with hundreds of LEED projects between then. They analyzed the sustainable design strategies associated with each LEED credit, but also to assign actual costs to those strategies.

Our tab contains overall cost guidance, notes on what “soft costs” to expect, and a strategy-by-strategy breakdown of what to consider and what it might cost, in percentage premiums, actual costs, or both.

This information is also available in a full PDF download in The Cost of LEED v4 report.

Learn more about The Cost of LEED v4 »

Frequently asked questions

We will have cogeneration onsite. Do the credit requirements apply to all electricity used onsite, or only that which is purchased from the grid?

The answer to this question is available to LEEDuser premium members. Start a free trial »

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My project is not located in the U.S. Should I still use the emissions factors from the Energy Star program listed in the Reference Guide, or find something closer to home? 

The answer to this question is available to LEEDuser premium members. Start a free trial »

(If you're already a premium member, log in here.)

My project is located in the U.S. Can I buy green power or offsets from another part of the world?

The answer to this question is available to LEEDuser premium members. Start a free trial »

(If you're already a premium member, log in here.)

Can I still earn this credit through green power or RECs alone?

The answer to this question is available to LEEDuser premium members. Start a free trial »

(If you're already a premium member, log in here.)

Do onsite renewables count? 

The answer to this question is available to LEEDuser premium members. Start a free trial »

(If you're already a premium member, log in here.)

The owner has purchased RECs for a percentage of energy use of its whole portfolio of buildings, or whole campus. Can we earn this credit for a single LEED building with this purchase?

The answer to this question is available to LEEDuser premium members. Start a free trial »

(If you're already a premium member, log in here.)

The owner purchased RECs / carbon offsets based on an earlier prediction, but our energy model is now showing that we are just a little short of the credit threshold. What should we do?

The answer to this question is available to LEEDuser premium members. Start a free trial »

(If you're already a premium member, log in here.)

See all forum discussions about this credit »

Documentation toolkit

The motherlode of cheat sheets

LEEDuser’s Documentation Toolkit is loaded with calculators to help assess credit compliance, tracking spreadsheets for materials, sample templates to help guide your narratives and LEED Online submissions, and examples of actual submissions from certified LEED projects for you to check your work against. To get your plaque, start with the right toolkit.

LEEDuser expert

Marcus Sheffer

7group / Energy Opportunities
LEED Fellow

Get the inside scoop

Our editors have written a detailed analysis of nearly every LEED credit, and LEEDuser premium members get full access. We’ll tell you whether the credit is easy to accomplish or better left alone, and we provide insider tips on how to document it successfully.

USGBC logo

© Copyright U.S. Green Building Council, Inc. All rights reserved.

Intent

To encourage the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions through the use of grid-source, renewable energy technologies and carbon mitigation projects.

Requirements

Engage in a contract for qualified resources that have come online since January 1, 2005, for a minimum of five years, to be delivered at least annually. The contract must specify the provision of at least 50% or 100% of the project’s energy from green power, carbon offsets, or renewable energy certificates (RECs).

Green power and RECs must be Green-e Energy certified or the equivalent. [Europe ACP: Green Power] [South America ACP: Green Power] RECs can only be used to mitigate the effects of Scope 2, electricity use.

Carbon offsets may be used to mitigate Scope 1 or Scope 2 emissions on a metric ton of carbon dioxide–equivalent basis and must be Green-e Climate certified, or the equivalent.

For U.S. projects, the offsets must be from greenhouse gas emissions reduction projects within the U.S.

Determine the percentage of green power or offsets based on the quantity of energy consumed, not the cost. Points are awarded according to Table 1.

Table 1. Points for energy from green power or carbon offsets

Percentage of total energy addressed by green power, RECs  and/or offsets Points
50% 1
100% 2

Use the project’s annual energy consumption, calculated in EA Prerequisite Minimum Energy Performance, if Option 1 was pursued; otherwise use the U.S. Department of Energy’s Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) database to estimate energy use.

Alternative Compliance Paths (ACPs)

Europe ACP: Green-e Energy Equivalent

Projects in Europe may use the following approved standards in place of Green-e Energy:

  • EKOenergy
  • Guarantees of Origin (GOs) with additional parameters
South America ACP: Green-e Energy Equivalent

Projects in South America may use the Brazilian “Certificado de Energia Renovável” (Renewable Energy Certificate) with additional parameters in place of Green-e Energy.

Cost estimates for this credit

On each BD+C v4 credit, LEEDuser offers the wisdom of a team of architects, engineers, cost estimators, and LEED experts with hundreds of LEED projects between then. They analyzed the sustainable design strategies associated with each LEED credit, but also to assign actual costs to those strategies.

Our tab contains overall cost guidance, notes on what “soft costs” to expect, and a strategy-by-strategy breakdown of what to consider and what it might cost, in percentage premiums, actual costs, or both.

This information is also available in a full PDF download in The Cost of LEED v4 report.

Learn more about The Cost of LEED v4 »

In the end, LEED is all about documentation. LEEDuser’s Documentation Toolkit, for premium members only, saves you time and helps you avoid mistakes with:

  • Calculators to help assess credit compliance.
  • Tracking spreadsheets for materials purchases.
  • Spreadsheets and forms to give to subs and other team members.
  • Guidance documents on arcane LEED issues.
  • Sample templates to help guide your narratives and LEED Online submissions.
  • Examples of actual submissions from certified LEED projects.

We will have cogeneration onsite. Do the credit requirements apply to all electricity used onsite, or only that which is purchased from the grid?

The answer to this question is available to LEEDuser premium members. Start a free trial »

(If you're already a premium member, log in here.)

My project is not located in the U.S. Should I still use the emissions factors from the Energy Star program listed in the Reference Guide, or find something closer to home? 

The answer to this question is available to LEEDuser premium members. Start a free trial »

(If you're already a premium member, log in here.)

My project is located in the U.S. Can I buy green power or offsets from another part of the world?

The answer to this question is available to LEEDuser premium members. Start a free trial »

(If you're already a premium member, log in here.)

Can I still earn this credit through green power or RECs alone?

The answer to this question is available to LEEDuser premium members. Start a free trial »

(If you're already a premium member, log in here.)

Do onsite renewables count? 

The answer to this question is available to LEEDuser premium members. Start a free trial »

(If you're already a premium member, log in here.)

The owner has purchased RECs for a percentage of energy use of its whole portfolio of buildings, or whole campus. Can we earn this credit for a single LEED building with this purchase?

The answer to this question is available to LEEDuser premium members. Start a free trial »

(If you're already a premium member, log in here.)

The owner purchased RECs / carbon offsets based on an earlier prediction, but our energy model is now showing that we are just a little short of the credit threshold. What should we do?

The answer to this question is available to LEEDuser premium members. Start a free trial »

(If you're already a premium member, log in here.)

LEEDuser expert

Marcus Sheffer

7group / Energy Opportunities
LEED Fellow

See all LEEDuser forum discussions about this credit » Subscribe to new discussions about CI-v4 EAc6