New LEED Certification Program Focuses on Net Zero

In November, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) launched a new certification program called LEED Zero, which is designed to address net-zero operations and resources in buildings.

LEED Zero builds on LEED in general by recognizing specific achievements in building operations and rewards projects that have used LEED as a framework to address important aspects of green buildings and taken their buildings to the next level by designing and operating toward net-zero goals.

LEED Zero is open to all existing LEED projects that are currently certified under the BD+C or ID+C rating systems as well as projects that are currently registered to pursue LEED O+M certification or certified under that rating system.

LEED projects can achieve LEED Zero certification when they demonstrate any or one of the following: net-zero energy use, net-zero carbon emissions, net-zero water use, or net-zero waste. To qualify for certification, such projects must also provide 12 months of performance data across the designated category or categories.

For Net Zero Energy Use Certification in specific, projects must achieve a source-energy-use balance of zero. This will be calculated by energy generated on-site, plus any offsets recognized by the LEED v4EA category (both BD+C and O+M), minus source energy consumed.

"Net zero is a powerful target that will move the entire industry forward," said Melissa Baker, senior vice president of technical core at USGBC. "For years, LEED projects around the world have aspired to net-zero milestones. We are recognizing the leadership of the projects and formalizing our commitment to focusing on carbon and net zero across the entire LEED community." Baker added: "LEED Zero is a complement to LEED that verifies the achievement of net zero goals and signals market leadership in green building."

For more information, visit the LEED Zero website.

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