Optimize Energy Performance

LEED's Optimize Energy Performance credit contains the most available points of all credits in the rating systems because energy efficiency is incredibly important for reducing a building's environmental and economic impacts.
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Optimize Energy Performance focuses on energy efficiency, one of the most significant elements of a green building.  It not only reduces environmental impacts, but also alleviates economic burdens in energy-intensive buildings.  In fact, LEED distributes points based on environmental impact, and of all the credits, the Optimize Energy Performance credit has the greatest number of points available.  Plus, Minimum Energy Performance is a prerequisite, so all LEED certified buildings must meet a minimum level of energy efficiency. This means that LEED places a lot of importance on a building’s energy use and considers it critical to sustainable building.

 

Strategies that a project team can use to optimize a building’s energy performance include specifying efficient HVAC and lighting systems, using climate-responsive building design to reduce heating and cooling loads, installing energy efficient appliances and using appropriate insulation.

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In LEED 2009, Optimize Energy Performance is worth up to 19 points: the more energy efficient the building, the greater the number of points awarded.  There are three ways to achieve this credit:

 

1) Whole Building Energy Simulation

 

In Option 1, energy efficiency is based on ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1-2007.  In new buildings, one point is awarded for a 12% improvement over ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1-2007, 2 points for a 14% improvement, and so forth until a 48% improvement is worth 19 points.  In existing buildings, the percentages start at 8% (worth 1 point) and increase to 44% (19 points).  Projects that pursue optimized energy efficiency via this option can demonstrate their energy performance by creating an energy model.  Learn more about energy modeling through Poplar's LEED Project Experience Program.

 

2) Prescriptive Compliance Path: ASHRAE Advanced Energy Design Guide

 

In Option 2, the building must comply with the prescriptive measures of the ASHRAE Advanced Energy Design Guide.  This only applies to small office and retail building projects that are smaller than 20,000 square feet or small warehouses and self storage building projects that are smaller than 50,000 square feet.

 

3) Prescriptive Compliance Path: Advanced Buildings Core Performance Guide

 

In Option 3, the building must comply with the prescriptive measures identified in the New Buildings Institute’s Advanced Buildings Core Performance Guide.  This option is only allowed for projects that are smaller than 100,000 square feet.

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