Feature Article - April 2010
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Shades of Green

Eco-Friendly, Budget-Friendly Facilities

By Dawn Klingensmith

Monitoring the Data

The U.S. Green Building Council last year announced that as a "precondition" to LEED certification all new projects will be required to provide energy and water usage data. The council's release states:

"Today there is all too often a disconnect, or performance gap, between the energy modeling done during the design phase and what actually happens during daily operation after the building is constructed. … We're convinced that ongoing monitoring and reporting of data is the single best way to drive higher building performance because it will bring to light external issues such as occupant behavior or unanticipated building usage patterns, all key factors that influence performance.

"USGBC will be able to use the performance information collected to inform future versions of LEED.

"Building performance will guide LEED's evolution. This data will show us what strategies work—and which don't—so we can evolve the credits and prerequisites informed by lessons learned. …"

Projects can comply with the performance requirement in one of three ways:

  1. The building is recertified on a two-year cycle using LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance.
  2. The building provides energy and water usage data on an ongoing basis annually.
  3. The building owner signs a release that authorizes USGBC to access the building's energy and water usage data directly from the building's utility provider.

USGBC is proactively investigating cost-effective ways for every LEED building to become metered as a way to capture this data directly from the building's utility provider.

"The requirement creates a data stream on LEED-certified building performance that can be used by owners and operators to optimize their building performance and promote the establishment of energy efficiency goals over the life of the building."