CI-v4 EAc4: Renewable energy production

  • Make renewables work for you

    Success in achieving this credit is all about balancing building energy performance with the spatial and renewable energy resources of the site—and balancing the upfront costs of renewable energy with long-term utility bill savings. 

    Teams should start by identifying an energy budget to estimate the size of the system needed to achieve each credit threshold. This target could be from CBECSThe Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) is a national sample survey that collects information on the stock of U.S. commercial buildings, their energy-related building characteristics, and their energy consumption and expenditures. Commercial buildings include all buildings in which at least half of the floorspace is used for a purpose that is not residential, industrial, or agricultural, so they include building types that might not traditionally be considered "commercial," such as schools, correctional institutions, and buildings used for religious worship. CBECS data is used in LEED energy credits., the ASHRAE baseline if early modeling has been conducted, or from an energy performance target. Reducing energy consumption as much as possible will make it much easier to achieve the percentage thresholds of this credit.

    Then, be sure to compare as many financial options and types of systems as possible to find what will work for the project. Don’t forget that the biggest benefit will be for the people paying the utility bills, and engage them to find the best approach. Many utilities have rebate programs that can help with financing.   

    What’s New in LEED v4

    • Solar gardens and community systems are now eligible for this credit, as long as the project will own or lease the system for at least ten years and it’s located in the same utility area. If your project owns a fraction of a community garden, then you can take credit for that fraction of production in this credit.
    • This is a great opportunity where onsite conditions aren’t good for renewables, or where taking on maintenance and operations might be out of reach for the occupant organization.
    • Credit thresholds are much more stringent than they were in LEED 2009. For all BD+C rating systems except CS, you won’t earn a second point until reaching 5% energy cost coverage, so be sure to plan targets accordingly.
    • The maximum threshold for CS projects has increased from 1% to 5%, to acknowledge the impacts that decisions in the CS stage can have on later building operations.

     

    FAQs

    My project will have a biofuel generator. Does that qualify?

    Maybe. It all depends on what you’re burning. In addition to the general type of fuel source, the credit rules prohibit the burning of fuels that may cause health issues, such as painted or treated wood or municipal solid waste. Forestry biomass waste must be mill residue only.

    Can I sell the RECs my system generates to help pay for the upfront costs?

    Projects must retain the environmental and financial benefits for the system in order to earn this credit. That said, you are allowed to sell the RECs associated with the renewable energy system. But if you chose to sell and still want to earn this credit, you’ll have to purchase RECs from a third-party to cover the ones you’ve sold. Depending on the market, this may or may not work out in your project’s favor. 

  • EA Credit 4: Renewable energy production

    Intent

    To reduce the environmental and economic harms associated with fossil fuel energy by increasing self-supply of renewable energy.

    Requirements

    Use tenant renewable energy systems to offset the project’s energy cost. Calculate the project’s percentage of renewable energy by the following equation:

    % renewable energy = Equivalent cost of usable energy produced by the renewable energy system
    Total building annual energy cost



    Use the project’s annual energy cost, calculated in EA Prerequisite Minimum Energy Performance, if Option 1 was pursued; otherwise use the U.S. Department of Energy’s Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECSThe Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey (CBECS) is a national sample survey that collects information on the stock of U.S. commercial buildings, their energy-related building characteristics, and their energy consumption and expenditures. Commercial buildings include all buildings in which at least half of the floorspace is used for a purpose that is not residential, industrial, or agricultural, so they include building types that might not traditionally be considered "commercial," such as schools, correctional institutions, and buildings used for religious worship. CBECS data is used in LEED energy credits.) database to estimate energy use and cost. 

    The use of solar gardens or community renewable energy systems is allowed if both of the following requirements are met.

    • The project owns the system or has signed a lease agreement for a period of at least 10 years.
    • The system is located with the same utility service area as the facility claiming the use.

    Credit is based on the percentage of ownership or percentage use assigned in the lease agreement. Points are awarded according to Table 1.

    Table 1. Points for renewable energy

    Percentage renewable energy Points (CI, Retail CI, Hospitality)
    1% 1
    3% 2
    5% 3



    Pilot ACPs Available

    The following pilot alternative compliance path is available for this credit. See the pilot credit library for more information.

    EApc95: Alternative Energy Performance Metric ACP

3 Comments

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Sara Johansson LEED® AP O+M Sweco Systems
Mar 29 2017
Guest
39 Thumbs Up

Renewable Energy in CS project

Project Location: Sweden

Is the tenant obliged to install additional renewable energy Energy sources that are not depleted by use. Examples include energy from the sun, wind, and small (low-impact) hydropower, plus geothermal energy and wave and tidal systems.(or sign ownership/contract for off-site renewable energy) if the CS project fullfills criteria and recieves maximum (3) points?

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Sara Zoumbaris Sustainable Design Consulting
Mar 16 2017
LEEDuser Member
1167 Thumbs Up

University Campus with Solar, not in Project LPB

Project Location: United States

Our project is the renovation of an existing university building. There is no renewable energy within the LEED project boundary, however this university campus (NOT a LEED campus project) has solar elsewhere on their campus. Can we allocate energy from this solar to our project to meet the requirements of the credit? Thank You.

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Maria Glädt White Arkitekter AB
Dec 17 2014
LEEDuser Member
210 Thumbs Up

Renewable Energy

Project Location: Sweden

See quotation from LEED-CI. "Use tenant renewable energy systems to offset the project’s energy cost. Calculate the project’s
percentage of renewable energy by the following equation:
% renewable energy = Equivalent cost of usable energy produced by renewable energy system/ Total building annual energy cost"
If the CS project fulfills the criteria for meeting maximum points on this credit and a lot of photovoltaics are installed, are the tenant obliged to install even more renewable energy sources? This doesn't seem correct.

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Apr 23 2017
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