LEED to Recognize Living Building Challenge Energy & Water Requirements | U.S. Green Building Council
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April 3, 2015 (Washington, DC) – The U.S. Green Building Council announced today that it will now recognize energy and water requirements from the Living Building Challenge (the Challenge) green building system within the LEED green building program.

“USGBC and the International Living Future Institute, developers of the Living Building Challenge, share a common commitment and goal to transform the way we design, build and operate our buildings,” said Scot Horst, chief product officer, USGBC. “The Challenge plays an important role on the green building performance curve and is a complement to LEED.”

Added Horst, “The LEED steering committee approved this approach; in the world of rating systems there is a sense of competition between systems, and what we’re saying is that what matters is that people are doing good environmental work. We want to focus on them and create harmonization between systems.”

This move means that projects achieving the energy and water requirements in Living Building Challenge will be considered as technically equivalent to LEED.

Over the last several years, USGBC has made concerted efforts to streamline LEED requirements and better complement existing rating systems around the world. In 2012, USGBC announced that it will recognize energy credits from Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) International, the United Kingdom’s green-building rating program, in applications for LEED certification.  

LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is redefining the way we think about the places where we live, work, learn, play and worship. As an internationally recognized mark of excellence, LEED provides building owners and operators with a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions.

LEED is the most widely used green building rating system in the world, with nearly 69,000 LEED certified commercial buildings in more than 150 countries and territories globally. LEED-certified buildings offer lower operating costs and better indoor environmental quality, making them attractive to a growing group of corporate, public and individual buyers. High-performing building features increasingly enter into tenants' decisions about leasing space and into buyers' decisions about purchasing properties and homes.


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Total 9 commentsLeave a comment

This is good. I've encountered some difficulty in mentioning a system like LBC in Asia because it doesn't have the international recognition that LEED does. Sure, merging the two would need work. I also agree with Matthew's observation that LBC is fundamentally NOT equivalent. I feel LBC should be more like the hardest-to-obtain certification, the very edge of whatever currently defines an utterly sustainable building. Anyway, awesome!
Client Relations Supervisor, Green Building Research Institute (GBRI)
There is defiantly a sense of competition between the different rating systems. I think it is great that USGBC and ILFI were able to put this aside to focus on what is really important!
Community and Environmental Advocate, Integrated Architecture
How do you establish compliance to a performance based standard in a prescriptive-based standard? For the LBC, you need a year's worth of building performance information to achieve the Water and Energy petals. This is not the case for the EA or WE credit / prerequisite requirements. Do project teams need to go the the LBC's performance period before attempting a LEED certification? Great to see the collaboration but I have a few questions.... Also, I have to say, it seems a little silly to say that meeting the net-positive, restorative water and energy requirements of the LBC is "technically equivalent" to the LEED EA and WE requirements. The LBC requirements are so much higher [net-possitive] than even the highest EAc1 options [50% reduction from a hypothetical ASHRAE baseline for NC]. "Technically superior" might have been the better phrase... :)
LEED Specialist, East Tennessee Chapter of the USGBC
Thanks for your comment, Matthew! I've sent you a separate email with a response. Teams interested in pursuing this option should reach out to GBCI (http://www.gbci.org/contact) prior to submitting their LEED project for review for details on the documentation process.
Director of Sustainable Education, GreenCE, Inc.
Agreed there are still some missing details about how this could work (asking teams to defer their certifications for a year sounds like a less than ideal solution), and that "technically equivalent" doesn't seem to be the best way to describe the relationship between net zero and 50% reduction.
President, Sustainable Concepts, LLC
I applaud this collaboration between USGBC and ILFI - it makes perfect sense! I also have questions about the technicalities, and look forward to seeing more details soon.
Director of Sustainable Education, GreenCE, Inc.
What are the specifics of how these can be substituted? I would guess that the energy petal means full points in EA Credits Optimize Energy Performance and Renewable Energy Production (maybe also satisfying the prerequisite), and that the water petal means full points in WE Credits Indoor Water Use Reduction and Outdoor Water Use Reduction (also likely the prerequisite). Is there a more technical reference that spells this out in detail?
LEED Specialist, East Tennessee Chapter of the USGBC
Thanks for your comment, Glen! I've sent you a separate email with a response. Teams interested in pursuing this option should reach out to GBCI (http://www.gbci.org/contact) prior to submitting their LEED project for review for details on the documentation process.
Consultant Director, Education for Professionals
Nice article with good to know info! Thanks Marisa.

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