An Intro to LEED
We have experience working with corporate clients who wish to integrate solar photovoltaic (PV) systems in their strategy towards obtaining LEED certification.
What is LEED?
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), is a framework for identifying and implementing measurable and practical and green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions.
Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) in 2000, the LEED certification provides independent, third-party verification that a building was designed and built using strategies aimed at achieving high performance in key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.
There are several benefits for companies who seek LEED certification, not the least of which is ensuring their building is energy efficient, environmentally friendly, and built to the highest standards – which maximizes their long-term investment.
Its also great corporate public relations.
What does LEED measure?
LEED points are awarded on a 100-point scale (plus a potential 10% bonus) with credits weighted to reflect their potential environmental impacts. For New Construction and Major Renovation projects, there are four tiers of LEED Certification, each with specific LEED Point Requirements: Certified (40-49), Silver (50-59), Gold (60-79), and Platinum (80-110).
How does Solar help with LEED Certification?
Solar projects can provide a major contribution towards LEED Certification. The primary LEED category pertaining to solar is the “Energy & Atmosphere” category, specifically EA Credit 2, the “On-Site Renewable Energy” credit. This credit can provide up to 7 possible LEED points, which can represent over 17% of the points required for certification. The actual LEED points awarded are determined by the percentage of the facility’s energy costs that are offset by on-site renewable energy:
Other LEED benefits from solar
In addition to points for earned for energy offsets, photovoltaic systems can also garner LEED points for solar parking canopy projects (SS Credit 7.1) and Solar Renewable Energy Credit (SREC) procurement programs (EA Credit 6).
Solar PV projects can and should be a critical component of any LEED project.
For more information, see LEED.