Log in

LEED 2009

LEED Design submital - First Review

Forum discussion

General forums

LEED Design submital - First Review

December 22, 2015

At what point do you make the initial design submittal? I have a project that has the 50% construction documents being currently reviewed by the building department. The architect on the team wants to submit the design review now and not wait until the construction documents are at the 100% because he says nothing is going to change. Should we wait until the CD's are 100% complete or go ahead and submit now?

You rely on LEEDuser. Can we rely on you?

LEEDuser is supported by our premium members, not by advertisers.

Go premium for $12.95 »

Add new comment

To post a comment, you need to register for a LEEDuser Basic membership (free) or login to your existing profile.

USGBC Plans to Make LEED 2009 Stricter on Energy

Why is USGBC updating its older LEED 2009 system? To move projects to LEED v4. | Image: USGBCProjects have been able to try out the new LEED version 4 (LEED v4) since 2013, but USGBC is allowing projects to keep registering for LEED 2009 until October 2016. With LEED 2009 more familiar and less stringent, the majority of project registrations have continued there, even as energy requirements formulated years ago fall further behind the times. Now USGBC is proposing to increase the energy-efficiency requirements for LEED 2009 for any projects registering for that system in its last months of availability.

Updating an old rating system while the new system is already in place may seem counterintuitive, but it's absolutely necessary.

When the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) announced that it would extend the registration period for projects all the way till October 2016, over three years after USGBC members enthusiastically approved LEED v4 as the new LEED, we commented that it should do more to boost confidence in LEED v4. While forward-thinking LEED projects have embraced the new system and found advantages in its easier documentation process, there's no question that the new LEED is harder. (For a look at that, see our webcast, Is LEED v4 Worth the Trouble? A User's Perspective.)

To encourage meaningful uptake of LEED v4 while LEED 2009 is still available, we encouraged USGBC to increase the energy requirements for LEED 2009, and it's now proposing to do exactly that.

USGBC has opened a public comment period on a modification to credit language that would impose a 4-point mandatory minimum for projects earning EAc1: Optimize Energy Performance. To comply with what is effectively an expanded energy prerequisite, those projects will be required to demonstrate an 18% efficiency improvement for new buildings or a 14% improvement for major renovations. It would keep ASHRAE 90.1-2007 as the key benchmark for LEED 2009, while bringing projects roughly up to par with minimum efficiency needed to meet ASHRAE 90.1-2010, which is referenced in LEED v4.

Key dates for the proposal:

You rely on LEEDuser. Can we rely on you?

LEEDuser is supported by our premium members, not by advertisers.

Go premium for $12.95 »
  • Sep. 28–Nov. 13: Public comment period
  • Oct. 30: Deadline to join or renew to be counted as a USGBC member in good standing
  • Nov. 30: Voter registration opens 
  • Winter 2015: Ballot for registered voters

The change would take effect 30 days after the ballot closes, assuming it is approved.

USGBC has taken other useful steps to get projects to take a closer look at LEED v4, including making some LEED v4 credits available a la carte to LEED 2009 projects. The energy-efficiency credit isn't one of those, however, so for projects teams that want to use ASHRAE 90.1-2010 as their benchmark (as used in v4) instead of 90.1-2007 (as used in v2009), they'll have to update to LEED v4. 

Learn more and comment here, or leave your thoughts below!

Add new comment

To post a comment, you need to register for a LEEDuser Basic membership (free) or login to your existing profile.

Defering Design credit

Forum discussion

General forums

Defering Design credit

August 7, 2014

Hi, I would like to know if we can defer some Design credits when we submit it for design review and submit it along with our construction review?

You rely on LEEDuser. Can we rely on you?

LEEDuser is supported by our premium members, not by advertisers.

Go premium for $12.95 »

Add new comment

To post a comment, you need to register for a LEEDuser Basic membership (free) or login to your existing profile.

Project Type and Rating Type for Block Project

Forum discussion

General forums

Project Type and Rating Type for Block Project

March 11, 2014

I working on a master planning development consists of two parcels with three highrise buildings intended for highend administrative offices. All three buildings must be certified under either LEED CS or LEED NC as one master project. Is it appropriate to register all three office buildings as a LEED v3 Block Project ?

You rely on LEEDuser. Can we rely on you?

LEEDuser is supported by our premium members, not by advertisers.

Go premium for $12.95 »

Add new comment

To post a comment, you need to register for a LEEDuser Basic membership (free) or login to your existing profile.

Energy Star Score of 85 for 450 LEED Buildings in Biggest Data Release Yet

The Lewis University Science Center addition in Romeoville, Illinois is certified Silver under LEED-NC 2009. According to Wight & Company, which managed the construction, the center elected to comply with LEED 2009's energy reporting requirement, MPR6, through Energy Star Portfolio Manager. | Photo – Paul Schlismann Photography, courtesy of Wight & Company

The latest—and largest to date—release of data from LEED-certified buildings shows that LEED buildings are strong energy performers. However, lack of granularity in the data release by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) doesn’t reveal much more than that, possibly due to sidestepping of LEED 2009’s required energy reporting.

A snippet of LEED in Motion

The data was reported during USGBC’s Greenbuild conference in November 2013 as part of its report LEED in Motion: Impacts and Innovation. Drawing from LEED projects that reported data over the 12-month period between July 2012 and July 2013, the report offers two main data points relative to energy performance:

  • On a simple average (not weighted by size) 450 LEED projects showed an average source energy use intensity (EUI) 31% lower than the national median source EUI.
  • 404 LEED projects posted an average Energy Star score of 85.

Good news—on the surface

While the news is good on the surface (with the Energy Star score indicating average performance better than 85% of buildings nationwide, and well beyond the score of 75 needed for Energy Star certification), the report does not provide several data points crucial to a deeper evaluation of performance of LEED buildings. Building type, date of construction, square footage, or choice of LEED rating system do not accompany the data.

In addition, the report does not discuss median versus mean energy scores, a distinction that could be significant if there is a large variation in the energy data (debate over the significance of this statistical nuance was a point of controversy with USGBC’s last major data release, which was made in 2008 in conjunction with the New Buildings Institute).

According to the report, 1,861 LEED-certified projects were compliant with LEED’s mandatory energy reporting requirement (Minimum Program Requirement #6, or MPR6) during the reporting period, but only 450 provided an EUI through Energy Star’s Portfolio Manager.

You rely on LEEDuser. Can we rely on you?

LEEDuser is supported by our premium members, not by advertisers.

Go premium for $12.95 »

Numbers “not spectacular”

Brendan Owens, vice president of technical development for USGBC, told me he considered the Energy Star average of 85 “okay—not spectacular.” He also said that the source EUI number behind the 31% reduction is 158 kBtu/ft2∙year, which he called “a number I’m not enamored by. We have a lot of 18-wheelers in our fleet mix,” arguing that LEED-certified building stock includes disproportionately more energy-intensive building types like healthcare facilities and data centers than the national average. (For context, see “Measuring Energy Use in Buildings.” The national average source EUI for office buildings is 166, with healthcare and food service averages being much higher, and residential lower. Note that site EUI figures, as used in the 2030 Challenge, are smaller numbers.)

Owens expressed some disappointment about the number of buildings reporting data but defended USGBC’s approach. The industry was initially resistant to the reporting requirement when it was introduced in 2009 (see “All LEED Projects to Provide Actual Performance Data”), and Owens acknowledges that USGBC didn’t hit the ground running with clear reporting protocols. He says that USGBC has been “getting a pretty good mix of utility bills, spreadsheets, and access to [Energy Star] Portfolio Manager accounts, but there is some degree of data inconsistency that we’re concerned about.”

“Part of it is that we didn’t require utility meters,” says Owens. It’s an added cost to install a meter on a campus building or commercial interior space that might not normally have one, and MPR6 wasn’t written to push LEED projects into that. However, Owens notes, that changed with LEED version 4 (LEED v4), released in November 2013, which requires building-level energy metering as a prerequisite.

Owens wasn’t able to provide numbers accounting for the gap between the 1,861 LEED-compliant buildings and the 450 that were included in the data, although he said that more information would be released in coming months. An informal survey I conducted of over a dozen LEED professionals representing 400 projects suggests that many LEED 2009 projects have been certified too recently to have enough meaningful data. Respondents also pointed to a possible lack of follow-through—and corresponding lack of enforcement on USGBC’s part—as culprits for the lack of data. Very few claimed the exemption for projects without a meter.

“Seems thin”

That theory was backed by Rob Watson, CEO and chief scientist at ECON Group and a longtime follower of LEED metrics. (Watson also co-presents with me on the new LEEDuser webcast, What Can We Learn from LEED's Critics?) While Watson told EBN that the release “seems kind of thin,” he drew on his own past research in noting that it takes two years on average for a LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance (LEED-EBOM) project to move through the certification process, and that new building projects take three to five years to design, build, and certify, with another couple years to stabilize operations to the point where meaningful energy data can be available. (Owens couldn’t provide an exact figure but told EBN that about 1,300 of the 1,861 projects, or 70%, were LEED-EBOM.)

Given that timeline, Watson says, along with the “monumental task” of getting comparable, normalized data from buildings, the four years since the LEED 2009 launch might appear to be more time than it actually is to collect a large amount of data. But, he added, “It seems to me that there ought to be more outreach for earlier projects.”

The next wave of data reporting

In a move that could shift the focus away from Energy Star and its underlying dataset, which is not only grossly outdated but also difficult to normalize, USGBC is looking ahead to the next wave of sharing data in context: the LEED Dynamic Plaque. Also discussed in the LEED in Motion report, the plaque promises to be “a live LEED score that reflects current building performance.” According to Owens, the plaque will help LEED projects check how they are performing relative to similar buildings and to their own energy models. A robust data set for analyzing the energy-saving success of LEED overall, however, may still be a long way off.

What data do you see?

With your LEED project involvement, what data do you see on how these buildings are doing? Are your projects reporting data regularly to USGBC in compliance with MPR6? Please comment below.

Also, be sure to join us in the conversation during our new webcast, What Can We Learn from LEED's Critics?

Add new comment

To post a comment, you need to register for a LEEDuser Basic membership (free) or login to your existing profile.

Dear USGBC, Give Us Transparency on LEED Energy Data

Dear USGBC,

For the last year, as the transparency and disclosure movement has gained steam in the building products industry, we’ve heard many compelling arguments for why manufacturers should be transparent about what’s in their products. From USGBC representatives and members, we’ve heard that:

  • Designers armed with more information will be empowered to make better decisions on behalf of their projects. We need “nutrition labels” for building products.
  • It’s okay not to be perfect. The act of disclosure, of looking at what’s in your product, will lead to its own insights. The industry understands that making things involves tradeoffs and that self-awareness leads to self-improvement.
  • Participation matters. One of the biggest players in transparency has “collaborative” right in its name (the Health Product Declaration Collaborative). As we have reported, industry leaders have been fair in giving competitive programs a chance. Whatever happens on the field, we’re glad that various stakeholders are showing up to play.

It’s time for USGBC to walk the walk when it comes to energy data from LEED buildings.

We’ve made progress since 2008

A lot of people in the LEED community felt pained by the second-guessing and lawsuits that followed the 2008 New Buildings Institute study. The limitations of that data set made them a target for anyone with an agenda against LEED who wanted to make a point. We looked at the arguments and gave you the benefit of the doubt. Transparency wasn’t the buzzword yet, but it was in the air, and anyway, more data would be coming soon!

With the release of LEED 2009, you added Minimum Program Requirement #6 (MPR6), requiring energy and water data reporting for LEED buildings. You took a risk here, exhibiting leadership. A lot of people said that MPR6 was going to turn off owners, even after you promised that it wouldn't lead to plaques being ripped from buildings, and you stated that only aggregated, anonymized data would be released as a result. (Your official policy on MPR6 also stated—and still states—that data would be released regularly.)

We’ve come a long way since then. In LEED 2009, you could sidestep the MPR6 reporting requirement by saying that your building isn’t metered. Now, in LEED v4, energy meters are a prerequisite in the credit language, and through the public comment process we didn’t hear a lot of complaint about this. Perhaps that’s because things have come so far in other parts of the industry. New York City is releasing data on its big buildings, never mind concerns about anonymity. Other major cities are taking similar steps.

You rely on LEEDuser. Can we rely on you?

LEEDuser is supported by our premium members, not by advertisers.

Go premium for $12.95 »

You’ve also moved forward with the LEED Dynamic Plaque, a cool gadget that will show real-time LEED performance of a building to anyone who wants to see. The trouble is, the Dynamic Plaque is still a black box to most of us. What algorithms drive it? How long will it take for it to reach the majority of LEED buildings, and will it be a useful too both for individual building owners and for those of us looking at LEED’s overall performance?

Transparency rules

Designed by Wilmot Sanz, the Sibley Radiation Oncology Facility in Washington, D.C., on track for Silver certification under LEED 2009, is one of thousands of buildings that is or will be putting energy and water data into the MPR6 pipeline opened by USGBC. | Photo – Paul BurkIt looks as if you don’t want to reveal any chinks in your armor. It’s a tough political and economic environment out there for LEED, and you rightly want to stay focused on transforming the market. We support you in that goal, but LEED is still accountable for its record. Transparency rules right now, and we want to know what has become of that MPR6 data. The release in 2012 was a red herring: it made sweeping statements about LEED buildings, and only in the fine print did we learn that it was based on a small sample of existing buildings, not representing a wide swath of LEED.

The latest release is potentially more exciting—data from almost 1,900 buildings, the largest release of LEED energy data yet, by far! Unfortunately, as I wrote in our reporting on this release, USGBC members are only getting a sliver of information out of it: an average metric from 450 buildings, and we don’t have the most basic information about size, type, and rating system. We’d also like to know how many buildings claimed exemptions.

Sure—we, like many others, know the difficulties in gathering good, reliable data and sharing that anonymously is not a trivial task. But with some of the energy you’re putting into the pretty but hard-to-navigate GBIG.org database, the new LEED Dynamic Plaque, or the rest of the finely produced content in the LEED In Motion reports, you can do better.

We need data on where we stand

Why? We want to know how LEED buildings are doing. LEED is a consensus policy built by USGBC's membership, and we deserve to see the results of that policy. We’re out there every day working on LEED projects and explaining LEED to clients and to the public. We’re making the case for moving beyond LEED 2009 to a new set of requirements without any data on where we stand now.

And it’s not just about LEED versus non-LEED buildings, even though that’s a debate that a lot of ink gets spilled on. More granular data can help attentive project teams see how buildings like theirs are doing, and improve on their work. USGBC, it’s time for a consistent, congruent approach to data. What’s good for LEED v4 projects as a prerequisite—and for building product manufacturers as demanded by designers—is good for USGBC and LEED.

Show us the data. Then, let’s continue to work on making LEED—and LEED buildings—better.

Sincerely,

Tristan Roberts

Add new comment

To post a comment, you need to register for a LEEDuser Basic membership (free) or login to your existing profile.

Block registration?

Forum discussion

General forums

Block registration?

November 18, 2013

Current project is under construction; design credits achieved and accepted. Owner is considering three more LEED projects on the campus. Can a block registration be added now, master site developed, and more design credits (now achievable with master site included) submitted with the construction credit preliminary review? Next three projects won't be added to the block until first project is almost completed so adding a master site and the campus credits with the next building registration won't help the first project.

You rely on LEEDuser. Can we rely on you?

LEEDuser is supported by our premium members, not by advertisers.

Go premium for $12.95 »

Add new comment

To post a comment, you need to register for a LEEDuser Basic membership (free) or login to your existing profile.

Oner certification, two volumes

Forum discussion

General forums

Oner certification, two volumes

October 28, 2013

Hi,
We are working on a office -retail and medical office-center, where there are two different volumes connected by the parking underground. Both volumes have the same owner, site, and administration. However they have different mechanical and electrical system. So they only share the undeground level (with a single electrical system)
Can we certified this project under one certification (LEED CS)?
Or we must divide this two volumes in two different buildings and seek "On Campus" program?

You rely on LEEDuser. Can we rely on you?

LEEDuser is supported by our premium members, not by advertisers.

Go premium for $12.95 »

Add new comment

To post a comment, you need to register for a LEEDuser Basic membership (free) or login to your existing profile.

New Rules for Formaldehyde in IEQc4.4

Editor's Update: As expected, LEED Interpretation #10250 was revisited by USGBC in its 4/1/13 release. This article has been updated to address that revision. 

Composite wood products made with added urea formaldehyde (UF) are one of the few products that LEED has consistently banned under its longstanding IEQc4.4: Low-emitting Materials credit. However, LEED Interpretation #10250, issued January 1, 2013 (revised April 1, 2013) and applicable to all LEED 2009 projects, as well NC-v2.2 and other systems, now allows for the use of urea in combination with melamine formaldehyde (MF) in certain circumstances. The Interpretation was meant to clarify longstanding questions about the use of MF resins. Products that use MF resins without any urea are allowed, per the original credit language. However, many MF-containing products have a urea component. The Interpretation addresses those products as follows: 

• Urea, when used as part of a melamine-urea-formaldehyde (MUF) resin or as a formaldehyde “scavenger,” is allowed as long as the composite wood product meets California Air Resource Board (CARB) Airborne Toxic Control Measure (ATCM) 93120 requirements for ultra-low-emitting formaldehyde resins (ULEF).

Note that in the original January 1, 2013 Interpretation composite wood products that used urea as a scavenger were not allowed, even if they met ULEF requirements. The April 1, 2013 revision reversed that decision.

According to André Verville, research and technical director at Uniboard, maker of ULEF melamine particleboard and other composite wood products. Urea itself “scavenges” leftover free formaldehyde from the MF reaction and converts it into another form, which should actually reduce formaldehyde emissions from the product, he explained, when compared with MF resins that don’t use urea scavengers.  Verville said that pure MF products could have up to three times the emissions of those using the scavenger.

The chemistry of these resins is complicated, and there have been concerns that formaldehyde could be released over time from products using urea as a scavenger—particularly in hot, humid climates. But the ULEF performance-based policy requiring emissions testing was later deemed sufficient enough to address these concerns. Design teams looking to avoid all formaldehyde from MUF composite wood products should look to those made using polyurethane resins.

You rely on LEEDuser. Can we rely on you?

LEEDuser is supported by our premium members, not by advertisers.

Go premium for $12.95 »

Add new comment

To post a comment, you need to register for a LEEDuser Basic membership (free) or login to your existing profile.

Multiple Building School Campus Energy Credit

Forum discussion

General forums

Multiple Building School Campus Energy Credit

November 6, 2012

Does the LEED AGMBC require to have totally separate building systems so that the energy-related points can be clearly defined?

My project has centralised Energy center which will be supplying chilled water to each individual building rather than each building having it's own chiller.

Please advise
Thank you

You rely on LEEDuser. Can we rely on you?

LEEDuser is supported by our premium members, not by advertisers.

Go premium for $12.95 »

Add new comment

To post a comment, you need to register for a LEEDuser Basic membership (free) or login to your existing profile.