Mark Spurr, IDEA Legislative Director
With growing interest in ‘
sustainable design,’ it is becoming
increasingly important to
understand and communicate how district
energy offers sustainable energy for buildings. In particular, it is important to understand the implications for district energy of
the LEED standards, which are emerging as
a key ‘yardstick’ for assessing sustainable
design. In the previous issue of District
Energy magazine, Steve Tredinnick introduced the LEED program in his “Inside
Insights” column. I would like to build on
Steve’s contribution with a look at some of
the LEED-related issues that may potentially
have an impact on our industry.
renovation projects. LEED-EB, for existing
buildings, is expected to be available later
this year. LEED-EB will cover building operations and systems upgrades in existing
buildings where the majority of interior or
exterior surfaces remain unchanged. LEED-EB will also cover recertification of buildings originally certified under LEED-NC or
Standards in the pilot stage include
commercial interiors projects (LEED-CI) and
core and shell projects (LEED-CS). Standards
under development include homes (LEED-H)
and neighborhood development (LEED-ND).
In addition, LEED application guides
are being written to adopt LEED for use in
specific market segments, including campuses, labs, health care, retail, multi-family
residential and schools.
phere, there are three prerequisites that
must be satisfied to achieve any level of
LEED-NC certification: ( 1) Commissioning –
basic commissioning process to ensure the
building systems are designed, installed and
calibrated to operate as intended; ( 2)
Minimum Energy Performance – the building must be designed to meet ASHRAE
Standard 90.1-1999 or a more stringent
local substitute; and ( 3) Chlorofluorocarbon
(CFC) Reduction – there must be zero use
of CFC refrigerants in new base building
HVAC systems, or comprehensive CFC
phaseout conversion must be completed
if existing equipment is being reused.
Energy and Atmosphere points are
awarded in six categories:
Measurement and Verification
What Is LEED?
To review: LEED stands for Leadership
in Energy and Environmental Design. LEED
is a voluntary, points-based standard for
developing high-performance sustainable
buildings. LEED standards are developed
and administered by the U.S. Green
Building Council (USGBC).
Since the LEED pilot program began in
2000, new U.S. commercial building projects
covering more than 196 million sq ft of
building space have registered for LEED
certification. Although 1,642 projects registered as of July 2004, only 137 of these
projects have completed the certification
process. A number of factors contribute to
the low level of certification, including the
certification cost and the length of time
needed to complete the certification
process (often several years).
LEED-NC evaluates ‘greenness’ and
awards a total possible 69 points in six categories: Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency,
Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and
Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality,
and Innovation in Design. There are four
levels of LEED certification:
What Standards Are
The current LEED rating system is
LEED-NC, for new construction and major
Of the total 69 possible points, 17 ( 25 percent) address Energy and Atmosphere.
Within LEED-NC Energy and Atmos-
Up to 10 Optimization of Energy
Performance points are based on the
extent of improvement beyond the mini-mum-design energy cost established in
ASHRAE Standard 90.1-1999 (without
amendments), as demonstrated by a
whole-building simulation using the
Energy Cost Budget Method per Section
11 of the Standard.
Up to three Renewable Energy points
are provided as follows: one, two or three
points for supplying at least 5 percent, 10
percent or 20 percent, respectively, of the
building's total energy use via onsite
One Additional Commissioning point
is provided for a more thorough commissioning process than required by the prerequisites.
One Ozone Protection point is provided for installing HVAC, refrigeration and
fire suppression systems that do not contain HCFC’s or Halons.
One Measurement and Verification
point is provided for installing and planning
for the operation of continuous metering
equipment for end-use equipment.