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LEED v4.1

Retail – New Construction

Energy and Atmosphere
Renewable Energy

LEED CREDIT

Retail-NC-v4.1 EAc5: Renewable energy 1-5 points

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Marcus Sheffer

7group / Energy Opportunities
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Credit language

USGBC logo

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

Intent

To reduce the environmental and economic harms associated with fossil fuel energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by increasing the supply of renewable energy projects and foster a just transition to a green economy.

Requirements

Use on-site renewable energy systems or procure renewable energy from offsite sources for all or a portion of the building’s annual building energy use.

Choose one or more strategies for renewable energy procurement from the categories below. Points achieved in each category may be added for a total of 5 points.

  • Tier 1: On-site renewable energy generation
    • On-site renewable energy generation, environmental attributes (e.g. RECs) retained
  • Tier 2: New off-site renewable energy
    • Off-site renewable electricity that is produced by a generation asset(s) built within the last five years or contracted to be operational within two years of building occupancy
    • Green-e Energy certification or equivalent is required for one-time purchase and delivery of EACs of more than 100% of the project’s annual electricity use
  • Tier 3: Off-site renewable energy
    • Off-site renewable electricity that is Green-e Energy certified or equivalent or captured bio-methane

Ownership of Environmental Attributes: All environmental attributes associated with renewable energy generation must be retired on behalf of the LEED project in order for the renewable energy procurement to contribute to credit achievement.

The default contract length for renewable energy procurement is 10 years. Contract lengths less than 10 years may be pro-rated.

For Tier 2, the age of the generation asset(s) is assessed at the beginning of the contract, and the generation asset(s) retain these attributes for the duration of the initial contract or lease term.

Off-site renewable energy must be generated by renewable electricity projects located in the same country or region where the LEED project is located.

Methane capture in the form of biogas that is both captured and used on-site may qualify as a Tier 1 renewable energy resource.

Points are awarded according to Table 1, based on the percentage of total site energy use. Renewable electricity and EAC procurement can only be applied to project electricity use or district energy use. Captured bio-methane can only be applied to project fuel use.

Table 1. Points for Renewable Energy Procurement
Points Tier 1 Tier 2 Tier 3
1 2% 10% 35%
2 5% 20% 70%
3 10% 30% 100%
4 15% 40%
5 20% 50%

Tier 1 renewable energy may be accounted for in the cost metric and the GHG emissions metric in EA credit Optimize Energy Performance.

Tier 2 renewable energy may be accounted for in the GHG emissions metric in EA credit Optimize Energy Performance. Calculate avoided GHG emissions by using the renewable energy asset’s hourly generation profile and the hourly GHG emissions profile of the renewable energy asset’s grid. Where hourly data are not available, calculate avoided GHG emissions using the emissions factors defined in EA prerequisite Minimum Energy Performance.

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Addenda

4/9/2021Updated: 4/19/2021
Rating System Correction
Description of change:
EA credit Renewable Energy:
- revise the credit intent to read as follows: "To reduce the environmental and economic harms associated with fossil fuel energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by increasing the supply of renewable energy projects and foster a just transition to a green economy."
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
No
4/9/2021Updated: 4/19/2021
Reference Guide Correction
Description of change:
Further Explanation

1. Beneath the "Calculations" section, add a new section "Total Site Energy Use" with the following content:

"Total Site Energy Use
Projects complying with EA prerequisite Minimum Energy Performance through the Normative Appendix G Performance Rating Method should use the modeled total site energy value for credit calculations.

Projects complying with EA prerequisite Minimum Energy Performance through a prescriptive path should use the most recent building Energy Use Intensity by Property Type data from the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager Technical Reference to calculate total site energy for credit calculations."

2. In the section titled "Tier 2 New Off-Site Renewables", revise the first phrase in the first paragraph to read as follows:

"Tier 2 off-site renewables are defined as those that have come online within the last five years..."
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
No
7/25/2019Updated: 3/1/2021
Reference Guide Correction
Description of change:
Refer to the Credit Library or attached resource to view all major changes to the Renewable Energy credit in LEED v4.1
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
No
7/25/2019Updated: 3/1/2021
Rating System Correction
Description of change:
Refer to the Credit Library or attached resource to view all major changes to the Renewable Energy credit in LEED v4.1
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
No
11/10/2020Updated: 3/1/2021
Rating System Correction
Description of change:
Intent

1. Delete "and carbon mitigation projects" from the credit intent.

Requirements

2. Delete all credit requirements and replace with the following text:

"Use on-site renewable energy systems or procure renewable energy from offsite sources for all or a portion of the building’s annual energy use.

Choose one or more strategies for renewable energy procurement from the categories below. Points achieved in each category may be added for a total of 5 points.

• Tier 1: On-site renewable energy generation
 On-site renewable energy generation, environmental attributes (e.g. RECs) retained
• Tier 2: New off-site renewable energy
 Off-site renewable electricity that is produced by a generation asset(s) built within the last five years or contracted to be operational within two years of building occupancy.
Green-e Energy certification or equivalent is required for one-time purchase and delivery of EACs of more than 100% of the project’s annual electricity use.
• Tier 3: Off-site renewable energy
 Off-site renewable electricity that is Green-e Energy certified or equivalent or captured bio-methane

Ownership of Environmental Attributes: All environmental attributes associated with renewable energy generation must be retired on behalf of the LEED project in order for the renewable energy procurement to contribute to credit achievement.

The default contract length for renewable energy procurement is 10 years. Contract lengths less than 10 years may be pro-rated.

For Tier 2, the age of the generation asset(s) is assessed at the beginning of the contract, and the generation asset(s) retain this attribute for the duration of the initial contract or lease term.

Off-site renewable energy must be generated by renewable electricity projects located in the same country or region where the LEED project is located.

Methane capture in the form of biogas that is both captured and used on-site may qualify as a Tier 1 renewable energy resource.

Points are awarded according to Table 1, based on the percentage of total site energy use. Renewable electricity and EAC procurement can only be applied to project electricity use or district energy use. Captured bio-methane can only be applied to project fuel use.

Table 1. Points for Renewable Energy Procurement
Points Tier 1 Tier 2 Tier 3
1 2% 10% 35%
2 5% 20% 70%
3 10% 30% 100%
4 15% 40%
5 20% 50%

Tier 1 renewable energy may be accounted for in the cost metric and the GHG emissions metric in EA credit Optimize Energy Performance.

Tier 2 renewable energy may be accounted for in the GHG emissions metric in EA credit Optimize Energy Performance. Calculate avoided GHG emissions by using the renewable energy asset’s hourly generation profile and the hourly GHG emissions profile of the renewable energy asset’s grid. Where hourly data are not available, calculate avoided GHG emissions using the emissions factors defined in EA prerequisite Minimum Energy Performance."
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
No
2/1/2021Updated: 2/5/2021
Reference Guide Correction
Description of change:
In the Further Explanation > Calculations section:

1. Revise Equation 1: Percentage of energy generated purchased: insert an "or" between the words generated and purchased; and update the denominator to be "annual building site energy use in kWh" as shown below:

% energy generated or purchased = (annual quantity of renewable energy in kWh) / (annual building site energy use in kWh)

2. Revise Equation 2: Annual energy usage offset by captured bio-methane: update the denominator to be "annual building site energy use in kBtu" as shown below:

% fuel energy use offset = (annual quantity of captured bio-methane procured in kBtu) / (annual building site energy use in kBtu)

3. Replace Equation 3 as shown below.

Equation 3: Proration of Off-site renewables

Prorated Annual Renewable Percent = (Contract Term (in years) / 10 years) x Annual Renewable Energy Generation / Annual Building Site Energy Consumption

Where:
• Annual Renewable Energy Generation and Annual Building Energy Consumption use consistent units of site energy (e.g. kWh/year)
• For a one-time purchase, contract term is listed as “one year”, and annual renewable energy generation is reported as the total renewable energy generation.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
No
11/9/2020Updated: 2/3/2021
Form Update
Description of change:
Updated to align with v4.1 November 2020 Addenda
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
No
11/10/2020Updated: 11/25/2020
Reference Guide Correction
Description of change:
Behind the Intent

1. In the second sentence that starts with "Renewable energy generation can...." replace the word "translates" with "contribute"

2. In the last sentence in the Behind the Intent section, replace "energy attribute certificates (EACs)" with the phrase "off-site renewable energy"

Beta Update

3. In the third sentence in this section, add an "and" after "The credit structure incentivizes self-supply of renewable energy" and delete the text "and real carbon emissions reductions,"

Step-by-Step Guidance

4. Step 2: Compare requirements for renewable energy systems and off-site methods of procurement:
- In the third bullet point, in the sentence that begins "Alternatively, project teams may consider including a storage system..." delete the "and" and add a comma after "system to increase resiliency", and after the phrase "facilitate further control of building energy costs," add the text: "and reduce renewable energy curtailment."
- Add the following sentence to the end of the fourth bullet point that begins "Tying into an existing community system...": "Ensure that the terms of the community renewable energy contract will address all renewable attributes to be retained by the project."
- In the fifth bullet point, replace the capitalized R in "For buildings that are part of a portfolio of buildings, Renewable energy..." with a lower case r.

5. Step 3. Set target for renewable energy procurement:
- In the second sentence, replace the phrase "for offsetting annual building greenhouse gas emissions" with the following text: "based on the percentage of total site energy use"
- In the third sentence, replace "greenhouse gas emissions" with "site energy use"
- In the fourth sentence that begins "Projects that use the Energy Performance Compliance Path to..." replace "greenhouse gas emissions" with "site energy use"

6. Step 4. Finalize Renewable Energy Procurement
- In the first sentence, replace "and/or carbon offsets" with "or Energy Attribute Certificates, (EACs)"
- Insert the following new paragraph at the end of the step: "For Tier 2 renewable energy procurement, review the contract to confirm that the renewable system(s) are scheduled to be operational within two years of building occupancy."

Further Explanation

7. Calculations: delete all text and replace with the following:
"Percentage of renewable energy purchased

Use Equation 1 to determine the percentage of renewable energy generated or purchased. Calculate the percentage of renewable energy generated or purchased for each Tier.

Equation 1: Percentage of energy generated or purchased

% energy generated purchased = (annual quantity of renewable energy in kWh) / (annual building site electricity use in kWh)

Use Equation 2 to estimate annual energy use offset by captured biomethane:

Equation 2: Annual energy usage offset by captured bio-methane

% fuel energy use offset = (annual quantity of captured bio-methane procured in kBtu) / (annual building fuel energy use in kBtu)

Use Equation 3 to calculate the number of points achieved for Tier 2 and Tier 3 when the contract term is different than ten years, and/or when procuring renewable energy from multiple Tiers.

Equation 3: Proration of Off-site renewables

Points for Pro-Rated Off-Site Renewables = a / [b x (0.5 + 6 / c)]
Where:
a = the annual percentage of renewable energy procurement versus total site energy use
b = the Table 1 Renewable procurement threshold for 1 point for the selected Tier
c = the total contract length in years (where a value of 1 is used for a one-time purchase, and a value of twenty is used for resources owned and operated by the building owner)"

8. Sum of points from multiple procurement sources: delete all text and replace with the following:
"Using Table 1. add up the applicable points from equation 1, for on-site and off-site renewable energy; and equation 2 for captured bio-methane as applicable, for a total not to exceed 5 points."

9. Renewable Energy Considerations:
- delete the words "and carbon mitigation" in the first sentence
- delete "and/or carbon offsets" in the last bullet in the bulleted list

10. New Off-Site Renewables: Revise the section title to read "Tier 2 New Off-Site Renewables" and make the following text edits:
- Replace "New" with "Tier 2" in the first sentence
- Delete the second sentence and replace with the following: "The renewable energy system must be contracted to be operational within two years of LEED project occupancy to earn credit."
- Add the following sentence to the end of the third paragraph: "If the LEED project contracts for a one-time purchase and delivery of EACs of more than 100% of the project’s annual electricity use, the EACs must be Green-e Energy certified or equivalent."
- After the phrase "Investment in new off-site renewables creates new renewable energy supply", insert the following text: "and has the potential to and displace" so that the sentence reads as follows: "Investment in new off-site renewables creates new renewable energy supply and has the potential to displace energy and emissions from fossil fuel-powered generators, particularly in regions where the grid mix is a higher percentage of fossil fuels.
- In the sentence that begins "To qualify as a new renewable system..." replace the word "fifteen" with "ten"

11. Existing Off-Site Renewables: Revise the section title to read "Tier 3 Off-Site Renewables" and make the following text edits:
- replace "Existing" with "Tier 3" in the first sentence
- replace "one year" with "five years" in the first sentence
- insert "may" before the words "include utility green tariff programs" in the second sentence
- In the third paragraph, replace all four instances of "fifteen" with "ten"
- delete the sentence "The contract for existing renewable contracts shall confirm that all contributing renewable resources have come online or been built within the last fifteen years to qualify for credit compliance."

12. Energy Attribute Certificates and Carbon Offsets: Delete "Carbon Offsets" from the section title and make the following text edits:
- Delete the sentence that begins "The contract for EACs and carbon offsets.."
- Delete the sentence that begins "To earn up to three points under the credit..."
- Insert the following text:
"An Energy Attribute Certificate (EAC) is a transferrable certificate, record or guarantee that provides information about the environmental attributes of one megawatt hour (MWh) of electricity. Renewable generators can sell EACs together with the electricity (bundled), or separately from the electricity (unbundled). EACs are also referred to as Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) or Guarantees of Origin (GOs).

Retirement of environmental attributes of renewable electricity generation is substantiated through EACs. The owner of the building seeking LEED certification shall contract for renewable energy and demonstrate that the EACs are retained, owned or retired on behalf of the party who has financial or operational control over the building’s electricity use."

13. Above the sentence that begins "Projects not using Green-e certified products..." insert a new section title: "Demonstrating Green-e Equivalency" and make the following text edits:
- in the sentence that begins "Projects not using Green-e certified products..." delete the phrase "can earn one point under the credit by purchasing annual EACs and carbon offsets that offset 150% of total annual greenhouse gas emissions for a total of fifteen years." and replace with: "must demonstrate the alternative’s equivalency to the quality standards established by USGBC."
- In the second sentence, replace the word "These" with "To be considered equivalent to Green-e Energy, the EACs retired on behalf of the LEED project..."
- Delete the bulleted list and replace with the following bulleted list:
"Eligible renewable energy source (see Further Explanation, Eligible Renewable Energy Systems)
 Renewable resources are from projects that have come online within the last fifteen years
 Verifiable chain of custody
 Mechanism to prevent double-counting"
- In the sentence that begins "The executed contract must specify..." replace "fifteen" with "ten"
- Delete the following sentence: "All of the above procurement strategies play an important role in reducing global greenhouse gas emissions. Leveraging a combination of procurement strategies can send important demand signals and spur further investment in renewables markets globally"

14. Add section below the new section "Demonstrating Green-e Equivalency" titled "Captured Bio-methane" and insert the following text:
"Biogas from landfills, sewage treatment plants, and farm methane capture that is captured off-site and delivered to the LEED project for combustion on-site is considered “captured bio-methane” in LEED v4.1. Captured bio-methane may be used to offset fuel energy usage and qualify as Tier 3 off-site renewable energy provided that the biogas contract meets the minimum requirements for contract length specified in credit requirements. For procurement of captured bio-methane where a ten-year contract is not available, procurement shall be prorated based on the contract term length.

Retirement of environmental attributes of renewable gas is substantiated through certificates specific to gas production and use. The LEED project owner shall contract for renewable gas and demonstrate that the environmental attribute certificates are retained, owned or retired on behalf of the LEED project."

15. Required Documentation: replace the table with the following Required Documentation table:

Documentation
v4.1 Renewable Energy Calculator
Renewable system rated capacity
Calculations to determine energy generated
Confirmation of renewable attribute ownership (for on-site systems owned by building owner) or contract indicating duration and renewable attribute ownership (for on-site systems owned by a third party)
Contract indicating percentage ownership, lease, or allocation of Tier 2 off-site renewable system
Purchase letter or contract of commitment showing renewable energy for targeted point threshold

16. Exemplary Performance: delete all text and replace with the following:
"Tier 1: renewable energy generation meets or exceeds 25% of total site energy use.
Tier 2: renewable energy procurement meets or exceeds 60% of total site energy use.
Exemplary performance is not available for Tier 3 renewable energy procurement."

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
No
7/25/2019Updated: 7/30/2019
Reference Guide Correction
Description of change:
Add an exemplary performance section:

"Exemplary Performance

For each Tier, procure renewable energy to meet or exceed the percentage of site energy specified in the final row, labeled "EP", of Table 1. Points for Renewable Energy Procurement. Projects can earn up to 1 point for meeting any of the Exemplary Performance thresholds shown in Table 1."
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
No
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Marcus Sheffer

7group / Energy Opportunities
LEED Fellow

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

Intent

To reduce the environmental and economic harms associated with fossil fuel energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by increasing the supply of renewable energy projects and foster a just transition to a green economy.

Requirements

Use on-site renewable energy systems or procure renewable energy from offsite sources for all or a portion of the building’s annual building energy use.

Choose one or more strategies for renewable energy procurement from the categories below. Points achieved in each category may be added for a total of 5 points.

  • Tier 1: On-site renewable energy generation
    • On-site renewable energy generation, environmental attributes (e.g. RECs) retained
  • Tier 2: New off-site renewable energy
    • Off-site renewable electricity that is produced by a generation asset(s) built within the last five years or contracted to be operational within two years of building occupancy
    • Green-e Energy certification or equivalent is required for one-time purchase and delivery of EACs of more than 100% of the project’s annual electricity use
  • Tier 3: Off-site renewable energy
    • Off-site renewable electricity that is Green-e Energy certified or equivalent or captured bio-methane

Ownership of Environmental Attributes: All environmental attributes associated with renewable energy generation must be retired on behalf of the LEED project in order for the renewable energy procurement to contribute to credit achievement.

The default contract length for renewable energy procurement is 10 years. Contract lengths less than 10 years may be pro-rated.

For Tier 2, the age of the generation asset(s) is assessed at the beginning of the contract, and the generation asset(s) retain these attributes for the duration of the initial contract or lease term.

Off-site renewable energy must be generated by renewable electricity projects located in the same country or region where the LEED project is located.

Methane capture in the form of biogas that is both captured and used on-site may qualify as a Tier 1 renewable energy resource.

Points are awarded according to Table 1, based on the percentage of total site energy use. Renewable electricity and EAC procurement can only be applied to project electricity use or district energy use. Captured bio-methane can only be applied to project fuel use.

Table 1. Points for Renewable Energy Procurement
Points Tier 1 Tier 2 Tier 3
1 2% 10% 35%
2 5% 20% 70%
3 10% 30% 100%
4 15% 40%
5 20% 50%

Tier 1 renewable energy may be accounted for in the cost metric and the GHG emissions metric in EA credit Optimize Energy Performance.

Tier 2 renewable energy may be accounted for in the GHG emissions metric in EA credit Optimize Energy Performance. Calculate avoided GHG emissions by using the renewable energy asset’s hourly generation profile and the hourly GHG emissions profile of the renewable energy asset’s grid. Where hourly data are not available, calculate avoided GHG emissions using the emissions factors defined in EA prerequisite Minimum Energy Performance.

LEEDuser expert

Marcus Sheffer

7group / Energy Opportunities
LEED Fellow

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