USGBC Increases LEED Energy Performance Requirements

More points needed to achieve certification under 2009 system

Office park

New projects registering for LEED 2009 must now meet a higher threshold for minimum energy performance.

Projects must now earn at least 4 of a possible 19 points in Energy & Atmosphere Credit 1, Optimize Energy Performance. An energy savings of at least 18% is required for a new building, while 14% is the minimum savings for a major renovation over the baseline rating according to ASHRAE 90.1-2007. The previous requirement was 10% for new buildings or 5% for a major renovation compared to the ASHRAE baseline.

This requirement applies to seven LEED categories: New Construction, New Construction Retail, Schools, Healthcare, Multifamily Midrise, Commercial Interiors and Commercial Interiors Retail. Additionally, newly registered Core & Shell projects will now have to demonstrate a 14% improvement for new buildings or 10% for major renovations.

Options 2 and 3, the prescriptive compliance paths previously noted in the LEED criteria that offered alternative paths to energy modeling, cannot yield enough points to meet the four-point mandatory minimum, so they can no longer be used to comply with EA Credit 1.

This change applies to all LEED 2009 projects registered until Oct. 31, the last day a project can be registered under LEED 2009.

USGBC also introduced a new pilot credit, Integrative Analysis of Building Materials, which rewards projects for sourcing products from manufacturers that share lifecycle health, safety, and environmental information.


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