BRAVO! LEED v3.0 LOOKS AT THE BIG PICTURE IN GREEN BUILDINGS + LETS YOU LOOK TOO
By Jodi Summers
LEED v3.0 – the U.S. Green Building Council’s latest green buildings rating system, has a brave new focus – saving energy on the long term.
“This version reflects the rapid advancements in building science and technology and provides incentives for strategies that have greater positive impacts on energy efficiency and CO2 emissions reductions, among other priorities,” notes treehugger.com.
Known around town as LEED 2009, what’s piquing the interest of the saving-money-thru-green-minded is a new requirement that focuses on facility maintenance during the life span of the building. The new rules mandate that energy and water usage for buildings seeking LEED certification now has to be reported for at least five years.
“One of the major differences with the new rating system is that sharing and reporting this energy use data is now required, as it was optional in the previous rating system,” observed property manager Michael Martz.
USGBC will allow projects to comply with the requirement in any of three ways:
1. To renew LEED certification every two years using LEED for Existing Buildings: Operation and Maintenance.
2. Provide energy and water usage data for the building on an ongoing basis annually.
3. The owner of the property authorizes USGBC to access the building’s energy and water usage data directly from the building’s utility provider.
With LEED v3.0, the USGBC offers a more savvy point rating system. The LEED rating system is increasing from a total of 69 points to 100 points – with an emphasis on what matters most from an environmental standpoint – energy efficiency and CO2 reductions. It the early days, a building could earn the same number of points for installing a commuter bike rack as optimizing energy by 10% or reducing water usage by 20%. Now credits are weighed based on how the course of action improves environmental and sapient health.
The LEED v3.0 vision also does a superior job of calculating the value of refurbishing the value of existing buildings. LEED v3.0 looks at the BIG picture.
Part of USGBC’s goal is to help owners and operators optimize building performance over the building’s lifetime. LEED v3.0 goes with the theory that collecting data is the best way to identify and help correct the common gap between energy modeling during the design phase and the building’s actual energy usage.
For those already constructing or managing LEED-certified buildings, the new requirements won’t be much of a change. Add-ons to current building systems will increase front-end costs a bit, but the big upside is that owners can now micromonitor energy usage. This investment will offer a significant savings in energy usage over the life of the building.
“They can see when the energy use has peaked, when it’s at the low, when it’s at the mean, and then they can adjust their programs or their overall systems,” explains Martz.
With LEED v3.Going forward, small businesses will be able to monitor their energy usage with the sophistication of institutions that consume a lot of energy, such as universities, skyscrapers and industrial manufacturers.
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