Mark Bessoudo

This article was originally published on gresb.com as "LEED Dynamic Plaque: Providing a New Direction for Green Building Certification and Benchmarking at Scale" on June 26, 2016. 

USGBC’s LEED rating system is the most successful green building certification system in the world. Its success has been largely due to its ability to target the top 25 percent of market-leading buildings. While it has positioned LEED as the global standard for green building certification, USGBC now wants to extend its reach even further by broadening the uptake of certifications to more buildings—and at scale.

Expanding LEED to more high-performing existing buildings, however, will require that it be adopted by properties that have not historically pursued it, including Class B and C commercial office buildings, as well as other building types such as convention centers and hospitals. USGBC wants to provide these buildings with a pathway to LEED certification that not only reduces the technical and financial barriers, but also doesn’t dilute the brand. While the LEED Volume program was the USGBC’s first attempt at deploying LEED at scale, it hasn’t achieved the widespread adoption needed to significantly influence the sustainability performance of the existing building stock overall.

USGBC recognized these challenges. According to Chief Product Officer Scot Horst, “We didn’t want to impact the credibility of LEED” by lowering its standard, “but we know that only certifying hundreds of existing buildings per year isn’t creating the market transformation that we had hoped for.” This is why USGBC is now offering a new and potentially industry-changing pathway leading to LEED certification called the LEED Dynamic Plaque. This alternate pathway is a globally consistent tool focused on building performance and based on real-time (or ongoing) data and benchmarking that could lead to more certifications for individual buildings and portfolios.

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