Register your LEED project for the California ACP pilot | U.S. Green Building Council
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Published on
Written by
Posted in LEED

USGBC's pilot program streamlines certain LEED prerequisites and credits for projects built to CALGreen codes.

Thanks to the pioneering work of the green building community in incorporating fundamental green building practices into every building project, cities and counties across the U.S. are placing green building criteria into building codes. In California, fundamental green strategies are required for nearly every permitted project in the state, and energy code is trending toward net zero.

The California Green Building Standards Code, also known as “CALGreen,”includes 20–30 required measures for residential and nonresidential construction.

These codes overlap with LEED in many credit categories, and analysis for new construction nonresidential projects have shown that building to code in California is about equivalent to achieving the prerequisites and up to six points in LEED, making certification more attainable than ever.

USGBC has approved a pilot program to streamline certain LEED prerequisites and credits for projects built to CALGreen codes, using California-LEED Alternative Compliance Pathways (ACPs).

Step 1: Enroll by completing a survey.

Step 2: Submit an annotated CALGreen checklist and furnish proof that the building has met code through a Certificate of Occupancy or equivalent documentation.

Step 3: Experience a streamlined GBCI review of the appropriate prerequisites and credits in LEED.

The prerequisites and credits available will depend on the project type and scope, LEED version and code year of the permit. Projects built to the 2016 California Building Code that are seeking LEED v4 certification will find the most streamlining available through the ACPs.

However, LEED 2009 projects built to the 2016 code can use approved LEED v4 substitutions to take advantage of relevant ACPs. Projects built to the 2013 building codes can take advantage o Alternative Documentation Pathways for a more limited set of LEED prerequisites and credits that were previously released in 2015. Full details and guidance documents for the various LEED project types are available at www.usgbc.org/green-codes.

Below is a summary of the prerequisites and credits available for streamlining in LEED on California projects built to the 2016 building codes (not all ACPs are available for all project types).

LEED v4 for Building Design and Construction (New Commercial Construction)

Project types include: New Construction, Core and Shell, Schools, Retail, Data Centers, Warehouse and Distribution Centers and Hospitality.

  • Sustainable Sites Prerequisite: Construction Activity Pollution Prevention
  • Sustainable Sites Credit: Light Pollution Reduction (1 point, option 1)
  • Water Efficiency Prerequisite: Outdoor Water Use Reduction
  • Water Efficiency Prerequisite: Indoor Water Use Reduction
  • Water Efficiency Prerequisite: Building-Level Water Metering
  • Water Efficiency Credit: Outdoor Water Use Reduction (1 point, option 2)
  • Water Efficiency Credit: Indoor Water Use Reduction (1 point)
  • Energy and Atmosphere Prerequisite: Fundamental Commissioning and Verification
  • Energy and Atmosphere Prerequisite: Minimum Energy Performance
  • Energy and Atmosphere Prerequisite: Building-Level Energy Metering
  • Energy and Atmosphere Prerequisite: Fundamental Refrigerant Management
  • Energy and Atmosphere Credit: Optimize Energy Performance (1 point, option 1)
  • Materials and Resources Prerequisite: Storage and Collection of Recyclables
  • Materials and Resources Prerequisite: Construction and Demolition Waste Management Planning
  • Materials and Resources Credit: Construction and Demolition Waste Management (1 point, option 1)
  • Indoor Environmental Quality Prerequisite: Minimum Indoor Air Quality Performance
  • Indoor Environmental Quality Prerequisite: Environmental Tobacco Smoke Control
  • Indoor Environmental Quality Credit Construction Indoor Air Quality Management Plan (1 point)

LEED v4 for Interior Design and Construction

Project types include: Commercial Interiors, Retail and Hospitality.

  • Water Efficiency Prerequisite: Indoor Water Use Reduction
  • Water Efficiency Credit: Indoor Water Use Reduction (up to 2 points)
  • Energy and Atmosphere Prerequisite: Minimum Energy Performance
  • Energy and Atmosphere Prerequisite: Fundamental Refrigerant Management
  • Energy and Atmosphere Credit: Optimize Energy Performance (1 point, option 1)
  • Materials and Resources Prerequisite: Storage and Collection of Recyclables
  • Materials and Resources Prerequisite: Construction and Demolition Waste Management Planning
  • Materials and Resources Credit: Construction and Demolition Waste Mgmt. (1 point, option 1)
  • Indoor Environmental Quality Prerequisite: Minimum Indoor Air Quality Performance
  • Indoor Environmental Quality Prerequisite: Environmental Tobacco Smoke Control
  • Indoor Environmental Quality Credit: Construction Indoor Air Quality Mgmt. Plan (1 point)

LEED v4 for homes (single-family and midrise)

  • Water Efficiency Credit: Indoor Water Use (Fixtures)
  • Water Efficiency Credit: Outdoor Water Use
  • Energy and Atmosphere Prerequisite: Minimum Energy Performance
  • Energy and Atmosphere Credit: Annual Energy Use (up to 27 points)
  • Materials and Resources Credit: Construction Waste Management (65 percent diversion from landfill)
  • Indoor Environmental Quality Credit: Enhanced Combustion Venting (Fireplaces)
  • Indoor Environmental Quality Credit: Low-Emitting Products (Adhesives)
  • Indoor Environmental Quality Credit: Low-Emitting Products (Paints)
  • Indoor Environmental Quality Credit: Low-Emitting Products (Composite Wood)
  • Indoor Environmental Quality Credit: Enhanced Ventilation (Bathroom Exhaust Fans)

This pilot approach to streamlining LEED in California marks a new path for USGBC to recognize and reward the proliferation of green building requirements adopted in building codes. We are excited today to celebrate the nexus of LEED and codes in California, and we hope to enable many more green code connections in the future.

Register your project for the California-LEED ACPs