Renewable energy and carbon offsets | U.S. Green Building Council
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LEED O+M: Existing Buildings | v4 - LEED v4

Renewable energy and carbon offsets

Possible 5 points


To encourage the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions through the use of local and grid-source renewable energy technologies and carbon mitigation projects.



Demonstrate one or both of the following for at least a portion of the building’s total energy use.

  • Total energy use is met directly with renewable energy systems.
  • A minimum two-year contract is in place, with the commitment to renew on an ongoing basis, to purchase qualified resources that will be delivered at least annually. Resources must have come online after January 1, 2005.


Meet at least some of the building’s total energy use directly with renewable energy systems, or engage in a contract to purchase green power, carbon offsets, or Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs).

Green power and RECs must be Green-e Energy Certified or the equivalent. [Europe ACP: Green Power] [India ACP: Green-e Energy Equivalent] RECs can be used only to mitigate the effects of Scope 2, electricity use.

Carbon offsets may be used to mitigate Scope 1 or Scope 2 emissions on a metric ton of carbon dioxide–equivalent basis and must be Green-e Climate certified, or the equivalent.

For U.S. projects, the offsets must come from greenhouse gas emissions reduction projects within the U.S.

Use the following equation to calculate credit, up to the 5-point limit:

Points = Renewable energy generated % + Energy purchased/offset % (Not to exceed 100%)
1.5% 25%

Alternative Compliance Paths (ACPs)

Europe ACP: Green-e Energy Equivalent

Projects in Europe may use the following approved standards in place of Green-e Energy:

  • EKOenergy
  • Guarantees of Origin (GOs) with additional parameters
India ACP: Green-e Energy Equivalent

Projects in India may use RECs from India with additional parameters in place of Green-e Energy certified RECs.

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