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LEED v4
Schools – New Construction
Energy and Atmosphere
Renewable energy production

LEED CREDIT

Schools-NC-v4 EAc5: Renewable energy production 1-3 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 reduce the environmental and economic harms associated with fossil fuel energy by increasing self-supply of renewable energy.

Requirements

Use renewable energy systems to offset building energy costs. Calculate the percentage of renewable energy with the following equation:

% renewable energy =

Equivalent cost of usable energy produced by the renewable energy system

Total building annual energy cost

Use the building’s annual energy cost, 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 and cost. The use of solar gardens or community renewable energy systems is allowed if both of the following requirements are met.
  • The project owns the system or has signed a lease agreement for a period of at least 10 years.
  • The system is located with the same utility service area as the facility claiming the use.
Credit is based on the percentage of ownership or percentage of use assigned in the lease agreement. Points are awarded according to Table 1.
Table 1. Points for renewable energy

Percentage renewable energy

Points (except CS)

Points (CS)

1%

1

1

3%

2

5%

2

3

10%

3

Pilot ACPs Available

The following pilot alternative compliance path is available for this credit. See the pilot credit library for more information. EApc95: Alternative Energy Performance Metric ACP EApc107 - Energy performance metering path EApc111: Alternative Performance Rating Method [view:embed_resource=page_1=7489432]
See all forum discussions about this credit »

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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 »

Addenda

1/5/2018Updated: 1/10/2018
Reference Guide Correction
Description of change:
Corrections for Further Explanation > Renewable Energy Systems and Third Parties:

At the top of the section, add the following header: "Renewable Fuels Purchased Off-Site:"

Replace the first sentence that begins with "Some renewable energy systems..." with the following: "Some renewable energy power generation systems that use fuels produced off site (e.g., landfill gas) can still be eligible to receive points under this credit if these fuels are harvested and produced within the same utility service area."

Delete the third bullet point which begins with "If the fuel provider does not also provide RECs..." from the bulleted list.

After the bulleted list, add the following header: "On-Site Third Party Systems:" and replace the paragraph that begins with "In some cases..." with the following text: "In some cases, on-site renewable energy may be available from equipment, such as a PV array or wind turbine owned by a third party. Project teams wishing to receive credit for such an arrangement must submit documentation, including the agreement between the project owner and the power producer. The contract must last for at least 10 years, and the project owner must retain all environmental benefits from the renewable energy."

Delete the sentence that begins "For example, if a PV array owner sells electricity..."

Delete Figure 1. Renewable energy scenarios and requirements


Corrections for Further Explanation > Renewable Energy Certificates and Carbon Offsets:

In the third paragraph, update the sentence "A project can still claim this credit by purchasing enough RECs or offsets to make up for the RECs that were sold" to read as follows: "An on-site renewable generation project can still claim this credit by purchasing enough RECs or offsets to make up for the RECs that were sold"


Corrections for Further Explanation > Project Type Variations > District Energy Systems:

Replace the first sentence of the second paragraph in this section with the following text: "The fraction of project costs offset by the renewable energy that the DES contributes depends on the total cost of renewable energy used at the DES to generate each thermal energy source, and the percent of each DES thermal energy source delivered to the project.

Delete the sentence that reads "The total cost offset is based on the product of these two factors."

Delete Steps 1-3 in this section. Add the following text as the new Step 1: "1. Use equation 1 in Further Explanation > Step by Step Guidance to estimate the annual energy cost for each district thermal energy source provided by qualifying renewables."

Replace Step 4 in this section with the following text: "2. Sum the annual cost of the renewable energy contribution from each district thermal energy source serving the building to identify the total renewable energy contribution from the district plant."


Make the following edits to the Required documentation table:
- Delete 4th column titled "If selling RECs"
- Rename second column header to: On-site third party system ownership
- Update the title of the 7th row of the table to read: "If selling RECs for on-site system, Contract and Green-e certification for REC or carbon offset purchase"
- Delete final row of the table titled "Green-e Certification"
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
4/1/2015Updated: 4/16/2015
Form Update
Description of change:
Clarified that renewable energy systems must be installed and commissioned prior to project occupancy.
Added documentation for REC arbitrage and for third-party and community-owned systems.
Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
Yes
1/5/2018
LEED Interpretation
Inquiry:

LEED v4 BD+C EA credit Renewable Energy Production requires eligible community renewable systems to be located within the same utility service area as the facility claiming the use. However, the power utility servicing our project does not publish details showing its service areas or supply areas. How should we define utility service area in the absence of published data from the utility?

Ruling:

If a single utility serves an area larger than one county or municipality, and the utility does not publish details related to subdivided “service areas”, “service territories” or “supply areas,” the “utility service area” may be defined as either:

(a) A radius within 25 miles (40 km) of the LEED project.
OR
(b) The county or municipality where the project is located.

Campus Applicable
No
Internationally Applicable:
No
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LEEDuser expert

Marcus Sheffer

7group / Energy Opportunities
LEED Fellow

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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 by increasing self-supply of renewable energy.

Requirements

Use renewable energy systems to offset building energy costs. Calculate the percentage of renewable energy with the following equation:

% renewable energy =

Equivalent cost of usable energy produced by the renewable energy system

Total building annual energy cost

Use the building’s annual energy cost, 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 and cost. The use of solar gardens or community renewable energy systems is allowed if both of the following requirements are met.
  • The project owns the system or has signed a lease agreement for a period of at least 10 years.
  • The system is located with the same utility service area as the facility claiming the use.
Credit is based on the percentage of ownership or percentage of use assigned in the lease agreement. Points are awarded according to Table 1.
Table 1. Points for renewable energy

Percentage renewable energy

Points (except CS)

Points (CS)

1%

1

1

3%

2

5%

2

3

10%

3

Pilot ACPs Available

The following pilot alternative compliance path is available for this credit. See the pilot credit library for more information. EApc95: Alternative Energy Performance Metric ACP EApc107 - Energy performance metering path EApc111: Alternative Performance Rating Method [view:embed_resource=page_1=7489432]

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 »

LEEDuser expert

Marcus Sheffer

7group / Energy Opportunities
LEED Fellow

See all LEEDuser forum discussions about this credit » Subscribe to new discussions about Schools-NC-v4 EAc5