LEED’s Energy Jumpstart credit as an efficiency compromise

From: LEED’s Energy Jumpstart Credit: An Efficiency Compromise, FacilitiesNet

Take, for instance, the so-called Energy Jumpstart pilot credit in LEED v4 Operations and Maintenance. When LEED v4 first came out in November 2013, some in the industry balked that the new prerequisite level for energy performance was an Energy Star score of 75. Indeed, it was tough – and intentionally so. It meant to be certified at any level, projects had to achieve that level of efficiency – no small feat.

But in order to allow more users into the LEED rating system, USGBC devised an alternate compliance path: A compromise. Essentially, the Energy Jumpstart credit (which is a pilot credit, meaning it’s available for use, but not part of the “official” rating system) allows users to improve by 20 percent on energy use over the course of a year, they can still get a LEED certification (if they meet other LEED requirements), but only at the Certified level.

Some in the industry were miffed — they argued that because LEED is by definition a leadership standard, letting projects that may be well below the 75 Energy Star score be certified was watering down the prestige of the rating system. I see their point, but I also see USGBC’s counterargument that there is the potential for a lot more energy to be saved when buildings in the 40 or 50 Energy Star range improve dramatically…

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