Minimum energy performance | U.S. Green Building Council
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LEED ID+C: Commercial Interiors | v4 - LEED v4

Minimum energy performance



To reduce the environmental and economic harms of excessive energy use by achieving a minimum level of energy efficiency for the building and its systems.


Option 1. Tenant-level energy simulation

Demonstrate a 3% improvement in the proposed performance rating compared with the baseline performance rating for portions of the building within the tenant’s scope of work. Calculate the baseline according to ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1–2010, Appendix G, with errata (or a USGBC-approved equivalent standard for projects outside the U.S.), using a simulation model for all tenant project energy use.

Projects must meet the minimum percentage savings before application of renewable energy systems.

The proposed design must meet the following criteria:

Exception: the baseline project envelope must be modeled according to Table G3.1(5) (baseline), Sections a–e, and not Section f.

Document the energy modeling input assumptions for unregulated loads. Unregulated loads should be modeled accurately to reflect the actual expected energy consumption of the tenant project.

If unregulated loads are not identical for both the baseline and the proposed performance ratings, and the simulation program cannot accurately model the savings, follow the exceptional calculation method (ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1–2010, G2.5). Alternatively, use the COMNET modeling guidelines and procedures to document measures that reduce unregulated loads.


Option 2. Prescriptive compliance

Comply with the mandatory and prescriptive provisions of ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1–2010, with errata (or a USGBC-approved equivalent standard for projects outside the U.S.).

  • Reduce connected lighting power density by 5% below ASHRAE 90.1-2010 using the space-by-space method or by applying the whole-building lighting power allowance to the entire tenant space.
  • Install ENERGY STAR appliances, office equipment, electronics, and commercial food service equipment (HVAC, lighting, and building envelope products are excluded) for 50% (by rated-power) of the total ENERGY STAR eligible products in the project. Projects outside the U.S. may use a performance equivalent to ENERGY STAR.

Alternative Compliance Paths (ACPs)

Canada ACP - NECB

Projects in Canada may instead demonstrate a percentage improvement in the proposed building performance rating compared with the baseline according to the National Energy Code for Buildings (NECB) 2011. The same percentage cost improvement in energy performance is required to meet the Prerequisite, and the same points for cost percentage improvement in energy performance are applicable for the Credit.

The following conditions (where applicable) must be met. Note that unless otherwise noted, CanQUEST (the Canadian energy modelling software based on eQUEST that performs NECB 2011 compliance runs) does not implement many of these conditions correctly and would require corresponding modifications to the Reference case.

  1. Comply with mandatory requirements of ASHRAE 90.1-2010
  2. ASHRAE 90.1-2010 mandatory requirements must be met, in addition to the performance path limitations referenced in the NECB 2011 Sections, and In cases where ASHRAE and the NECBC reference requirements concerning the same item, the more stringent requirement shall be adhered to.

    The following exceptions apply:

    • ASHRAE 90.1-2010 mandatory items,,,, 9.4.3

  3. Apply fenestration area convention similar to ASHRAE 90.1-2010
  4. Maintain the same FWR (as defined by NECB, including doors) for the Reference as exists in the Proposed Design, up to the prescribed maximum. If the Proposed Design’s FWR exceeds the prescribed FWR, scale down the fenestrations in the Reference case accordingly.

  5. Apply skylight area convention similar to ASHRAE 90.1-2010
  6. Maintain the same SRR for the Reference as exists in the Proposed Design, up to the prescribed 5% maximum. If the Proposed Design’s SRR exceeds 5%, scale down the skylights in the Reference case accordingly.

  7. Model proposed and reference outside air similar to ASHRAE 90.1-2010
  8. Proposed and reference (baseline) outside air rates shall be modeled as per ASHRAE 90.1 – 2010 (G3.1.2.6).

  9. Apply ASHRAE kitchen exhaust demand ventilation requirements
  10. Provide for the same demand ventilation requirements as described in ASHRAE Appendix G3.1.1.d.

  11. Apply ASHRAE’s chiller heat recovery requirements
  12. Provide for the same chiller heat recovery requirements as applies to ASHRAE.

  13. Apply supply air temperature reset controlled based on warmest zone
  14. Reset the minimum supply air temperature to satisfy the cooling requirements of the warmest zone, as stipulated in NECB Section Note that this control setting is already corrected in CanQUEST for the Reference case.

  15. Account for uninsulated structural penetrations if they exceed 2% of net wall area
  16. The 2% allowance may be applied, but based on the net opaque wall area, not the entire building envelope area.

  17. Follow ASHRAE/LEED rules for renovations to existing buildings
  18. Model existing components consistent with ASHRAE and LEED provisions.

  19. Account for all anticipated energy use in building
  20. Fully account for all energy end-uses in the energy performance modelling.

  21. DES Systems are to be modeled according to Option 1, Path 1 or Option 1, Path 2 as indicated in the LEED v4 Reference Guide
  22. The following exceptions apply:

    • Option 1, Path 1 - Do not apply ASHRAE 90.1-2010 requirements for purchased heating and cooling. Under this ACP, purchased heating and cooling (as applicable) are modeled as cost-neutral in the baseline and proposed case. Local rates for purchased heating (fossil fuel based) and cooling are used to establish the purchased heating and cooling costs. The energy model's scope accounts for only downstream equipment, plus purchased heating and cooling. NECB clause does not apply for LEED projects.
    • Model baseline systems in accordance with NECB requirements, with DX coils replaced with chilled water coils if purchased cooling is present and fossil-fired furnaces replaced with hot water coils if purchased heating is present.
    • Option 1, Path 2: Do not apply ASHRAE 90.1-2010 requirements for baseline systems. Model baseline systems in accordance with NECB requirements for onsite generated equipment (i.e. assume building is not connected to a DES and the proposed building is modeled with a virtual plant according to LEED v4 Reference Guide requirements).
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