NC-2009 EAc2: On-Site Renewable Energy

  • NC Schools EAc2 Type3 Onsite Renewables Diagram
  • Lower cost strategies come first

    Capturing useful energy from natural energy flows like sunshine, wind, moving water is a great concept. The technologies to capture this energy aren’t cheap, however, nor do they work equally well in all locations. Typically, it’s hard to generate a significant fraction of total electricity we use onsite.

    Before investing a lot of time and energy into this credit, focus on energy efficiency and passive energy collection such as daylighting, natural ventilation, passive solar heating before investing in renewable energy systems. This work will probably pay off faster than renewable energy, and if you do invest in renewable energy, you’ll have a lighter load for it to carry.

    What types of systems count

    All electricity generated and heat used on site is counted towards the credit. Electricity and heat generated onsite but sold to the grid at a premium is not eligible. (See table.)

    Type of system and eligibility for EAc2 points

    LEED allows you to take credit for technologies that generate electricity and heat from sun, wind, water flows, and waste biomass. It also allows certain thermal technologies, such as solar hot water, concentrating solar collectors, biomass, and geothermal (extraction of heat from within the Earth, not ground-source heat pumps).

    Of these, solar hot water systems are typically the most cost-effective. Small wind turbines have been found to not make sense on or near most buildings in urban areas because they need strong, steady winds, while the air around buildings is very turbulent. These turbines--especially vertical-axis turbines--are often oversold and our team is not aware of a single building-integrated wind installation that is living up to its expectations. Large turbines installed on site are a more dependable option for projects that have good wind resources and sufficient site area. (See Resources for more.)

    Centerbrook ArchitectsCenterbrook Architects in Centerbrook, Connecticut, supplies about 20% of its power needs with onsite photovoltaic power, including this 26.4 kW array. The Falls River, in the background, powers a small hydroelectric turbine supplying another 10% of the firm’s power. Both sources contribute to this LEED credit. However, many small installations like this find it financially important to sell RECs from the renewables, which would make the power ineligible for the credit. Photo – Centerbrook Architects and Planners, LLC Depending on the features and location of your site and the expertise available, the technologies you can use are:

    • Solar photovoltaics (PV)
    • Wind turbines
    • Small hydroelectric generation
    • Certain types of biomass and biofuels—untreated wood waste, agricultural waste and animal waste
    • Landfill gas captured as fuel
    • Fuel cells if hydrogen is produced onsite without using fossil fuels
    • Solar-concentrated power for steam turbines
    • Solar-thermal hot water
    • Activity-generated electricity.

    Follow the money

    The federal government and many states have a variety of incentive programs to encourage the use of renewable energy. These incentives can offset up to half of the costs in making systems cost-effective. Many states also have laws that provide for net-metering so that you can feed the excess electricity into the grid and get paid by the utility for that electricity. Some utilities will offer you above-market rates for feeding green electricity into their grid, but if you do that you’re selling the power’s green attributes as RECs, so you’re not allowed to use that energy to earn this credit.

    Wind turbines on parapetThe Adventure Aquarium in Camden, New Jersey, features eight 400-watt and four 1000-watt parapet-mounted AeroVironment turbines. Photo – Jeff Titcomb

    Start by analyzing the site’s resources

    The natural resources harvested by renewable energy technologies are site- and climate-specific. You can use both online databases and direct investigation of the site to figure out which technologies might be feasible. There are many factors to consider, so it’s wise to bring in an experienced consultant and/or technology vendors as early as possible in the design process to help with feasibility studies.

    Double dip with energy credits

    You can double-dip with onsite renewable energy. In addition to earning this credit, renewable energy helps to offset total annual building energy use, contributing to EAp2 and EAc1, if using Option 1: Whole Building Energy Simulation.

  • FAQs for EAc2

    We have a PV array installed on our campus, under the same ownership, but not on the building or within the LEED project boundary. Can we count that toward EAc2?

    Yes. Provide a letter from the owner allocating some or all of the solar power to this project. Make sure that the solar power allocated to the project is not already allocated to another LEED project, and won't be in the future. Also, be sure that the owner retains ownership of the power and the RECs being generated.

    Because of how our onsite PV system was financed through the utility, the project is selling the RECs associated with its solar energy production, even though we own the PV array and its power. Is there any way we can earn EAc2?

    Yes, as discussed in the LEED Reference Guide and reinforced by LEED InterpretationLEED Interpretations are official answers to technical inquiries about implementing LEED on a project. They help people understand how their projects can meet LEED requirements and provide clarity on existing options. LEED Interpretations are to be used by any project certifying under an applicable rating system. All project teams are required to adhere to all LEED Interpretations posted before their registration date. This also applies to other addenda. Adherence to rulings posted after a project registers is optional, but strongly encouraged. LEED Interpretations are published in a searchable database at usgbc.org. #10161 made on 04/01/2012, you can buy RECs for your project to make up for RECs for 100% of what you want to claim for EAc2. You may not apply these REC purchases toward EAc6: Green Power.

    Can I pursue this credit if I am using one of the prescriptive compliance paths for EAp2/EAc1?

    Yes. You can use the 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. data as explained in the LEED Reference Guide or use the actual energy data from the facility.

    Can I really double-count onsite renewable energy in both EAc2 and EAc1?

    Yes. You could theoretically offset an inefficient building with a lot of renewables. As a matter of best practice, and of cost-effectiveness, you should start with efficiency measures, however.

    Our PV system is being installed after the building is occupied. Is that okay?

    Yes, but don't push the timeframe too farFloor-area ratio is the density of nonresidential land use, exclusive of parking, measured as the total nonresidential building floor area divided by the total buildable land area available for nonresidential structures. For example, on a site with 10,000 square feet (930 square meters) of buildable land area, an FAR of 1.0 would be 10,000 square feet (930 square meters) of building floor area. On the same site, an FAR of 1.5 would be 15,000 square feet (1395 square meters), an FAR of 2.0 would be 20,000 square feet (1860 square meters), and an FAR of 0.5 would be 5,000 square feet (465 square meters).. The credit form asks the owner to verify its installation. It would be a good idea to provide a purchase order or contract and installation schedule as documentation.

    Our project will have a PV system onsite, but it will be installed, operated, and owned by a separate entity that is paying for the system through a premium price per kWh paid by the utility, per state regulations. Is there any way to count this toward the project, in EAc2 or EAc1?

    Probably not. LEEDuser's experts have not seen this attempted, even though it comes up from time to time. You would need to make your case via a CIRCredit Interpretation Ruling. Used by design team members experiencing difficulties in the application of a LEED prerequisite or credit to a project. Typically, difficulties arise when specific issues are not directly addressed by LEED information/guide or LEED Interpretation. The only LEED benefit you are likely to get here is through SSc7.1—shading your hardscapeThe inanimate elements of the building landscaping. It includes pavement, roadways, stonewalls, wood and synthetic decking, concrete paths and sidewalks, and concrete, brick, and tile patios. with PV panels.

    A biofuel-based cogenerator is being used to produce both electricity and heat (CHP). Can I consider all the energy produced, or just the electricity?

    Yes, all the energy would qualify. Check the CHP guidance in the district energy systems modeling protocol.

    Can a backup generator qualify, if it runs on biofuels?

    If it is only used for backup—no. It might be able to contribute if it is run regularly run, for peak shaving, for example.

Legend

  • Best Practices
  • Gotcha
  • Action Steps
  • Cost Tip

Pre-Design

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  • Analyze the site to find out what renewable energy resources it offers. See Resources for help on this. 


  • Identify relevant technology options for the available resources. 


  • Incentives of various kinds often mean the difference between pursuing this credit and not. Identify tax rebates, subsidies, cost-sharing, long-term leasing, net metering opportunities, and other incentives available from local, regional and national authorities as well as utilities. See Resources for help on this. 


  • Consider the location, available space, structural and maintenance requirements of possible renewable technologies, bringing your focus to the most applicable. 


  • Stillwell train stationThe Stillwell Avenue Train Station of the New York Metro Transit Authority used RWE/Schott PV glazing for the 76,000 square-foot curved roof; these custom ASI THRU panels provide 20 to 25% light transmission and are expected to produce 250,000 kWh per year. Photo – Schott North AmericaBuilding-integrated installations can work even if space is tight on the site. Consider wall-mounted PV panels, vertical terrace-mounted solar thermal, or PV integrated into the glazing, for example. These technologies often sacrifice some efficiency for convenient placement. 


  • Start by reducing the building’s energy load. The smaller the load, the less renewable energy you have to generate to meet the credit thresholds, which saves money and might expand the options you can use. For example, a 100-MMBtu/year building needs to produce 1 MMBtu/yr to reach the 1% credit threshold, while an 80-MMBtu/year building needs only 0.8 MMBtu/year. 


  • Conduct a preliminary cost-benefit analysis to determine the first cost and life cycle payback. Most teams use LEED point thresholds as a way to frame the analysis. For example, what is the cost and the payback of meeting the 1% threshold?


  • Contact an experienced renewable energy provider who can provide generation capacity for solar, wind or hydro systems installed onsite in a pre-feasibility study and identify potential obstacles. It is easiest to locate the providers through the trade organizations or manufacturers. For example, a wind turbine manufacturer should be able to provide names of qualified vendors who can visit the site and provide a written feasibility report based on the site specific wind speed, hourly generation capacity, and major obstacles like neighboring buildings. If a systems provider is not available, get names of electrical engineering firms who can do the analysis. Look up NREL and trade organizations to obtain the directory listed in Resources.  


  • Cost is a huge issue for renewable energy installations. In initial assessments from the renewable energy provider, look for generation capacity estimates and a cost-benefit analysis for long-term operations. Some providers may offer an initial assessment at low or no cost. 


  • If your project is located in the U.S., consult wind and solar maps developed by the Department of Energy (see Resources). 


  • The owner and team establish goals for onsite renewable energy based on the initial assessment. Include goals in the Owner’s Project Requirements developed during early design for Fundamental (EAp1) and Enhanced (EAc3) commissioning.


  • Find out if net-metering is available in your area. Net metering allows you to feed power that your system generates into the electrical grid and get paid for that power. This allows you to use the grid as a battery, which saves the cost and hassle of installing and maintaining a battery system. (Without batteries, however, you won’t have back-up power to use in a power failure or idle periods). Typical PV, wind and other on site systems generate DC current which has to be stored for future use and converted to AC current for onsite application. This is one of the biggest barriers to generating onsite electricity as battery storage is expensive, inefficient and hazardous. Now, many utilities allow excess electricity to be supplied into the grid, thus eliminating the need of an onsite battery. Confirm whether if your project site is connected to a utility or grid-tied where net metering is available. 


  • Onsite generation can reduce peak utility loads, reducing utility costs and need for electricity generation capacity. Utilities often encourage onsite generation and support it with subsidies and incentives.


  • Account for inflation and increases in utility costs over the next few years to obtain a realistic cost-benefit analysis, as ROI and payback are highly dependent on utility charges for conventional energy. Look up the costs of electricity in your state and projected price for the calculations. Also obtain the actual inflation rate current at the time of the ROI analysis. Retail residential electricity prices increased an estimated 8% during the first quarter of 2009 compared to the first quarter of 2008 according to a June 2009 report by the U.S. Energy Information Administration. (See Resources.) 


  • Look for partnerships with local utilities and other groups who can purchase excess electricity. Some utilities are looking to encourage more existing facilities to generate electricity from renewable sources to increase their renewable portfolio. Also, they may be short on space to install their own system or need an experimental site for net metering. 


  • Allocate space on or around the building for solar arrays or wind turbines, and include this early in site plans and budget considerations. 


  • Roof mounted or on-site generation technology is considered a mechanical system so the area it takes up is excluded from calculations for the heat island reduction credits, SSc7.1 and SSc7.2.


  • Consider standalone systems that are easier to install. Electrical vehicle charging stations can be easily hooked up to PV panels, for example. Standalone solar-powered site lighting (in which a small PV panel is integrated into each fixture) can be solar powered throughout the year and reduces the infrastructure requirements of wiring and maintenance. These systems are not likely to add up to enough energy to earn the credit, though.


  • It tends to be easier to earn this credit on low-rise buildings with relatively large roof areas, because they often have large unobstructed areas for installing solar panels.


  • Onsite electricity generation is one of the most visible ways to demonstrate a building owner’s commitment to green building and a conscious attempt to reduce the building’s carbon footprint. A visible solar panel or wind turbine on the building rooftop is a strong statement in public and occupant relations.


  • When selecting a specific technology, consider the long-term operation and maintenance requirements. Some PV systems come with a 20-year warranty while wind turbines often require annual oiling and checkups. Solar thermal may require glass replacement in case of some accident.


  • Geothermal energy, which uses heat generated deep within the Earth, is considered renewable by LEED. But technologies that use the surface of the Earth as a heat source and sink for heating and cooling with heat pumps, are also commonly called “geothermal” or “geo-exchange,” and these don’t count.


  • You can double-dip with onsite renewable energy—in addition to this credit, it helps to offset total annual building energy use, contributing to EAp2, and EAc1, if using Option 1, Whole Building Optimization Energy Modeling.


  • Excess energy beyond the building energy demand can be sold using net-metering, but only at market electricity rate. The building owner cannot charge a premium for the renewable energy. If the excess energy is sold at a price higher than market rate because it carries a green premium, it cannot be counted towards this credit, because you’re selling the environmental attributes of the power as RECs for someone else to claim. Although a bit convoluted, you can claim that electricity by purchasing RECs from a Green-e certified source (similarly to EAc6: Green Power). These RECs can be generated by any energy source, such as solar, wind, or biomass, and doesn’t have to be same as the LEED project fuel source.


  • Fuel cells are often touted for renewable energy systems, but they consume hydrogen as fuel, usually from natural gas. They are only considered renewable if their hydrogen is generated by renewable sources.  


  • Energy from solid-waste incineration, also known as “waste-to-energy,” does not contribute to this credit. 


  • Cogeneration with natural gas as a fuel is not renewable energy.


  • Transportation energy use is not a factor in this credit. For example, biofuels generated onsite from waste cooking oil is not eligible if used for vehicles and not buildings. 


  • In the case of generating onsite electricity and waste heat with a renewable source, e.g. biomass generator, all of the generated energy may be considered as on-site renewable energy. Use the latest LEED Combined Heat and Power guidance to determine credit.


  • If a PV vendor purchases and installs system on the project site, then the project does not have ‘ownership’ of the renewable system. To obtain LEED credit, the project must get into a ‘power purchase agreement’ where the building buys the electricity from the PV vendor at or lower than market price. The electricity has to flow into the building. The PV vendor may not retain the Renewable Energy Credits (RECs) of the system. If they are retaining the RECs then the LEED project can’t claim credit under EAc2. This is done to avoid any double counting of renewable energy by one plant.


  • If a system is owned and operated off-site by the project owner with the project receiving the energy generated, then the project may be able to count that renewable energy towards LEED EAc2.


  • Energy produced by wood pellet stoves from untreated wood waste would qualify as renewable energy.


  • Wood harvested from a project site is considered ineligible as a fuel source for non-renewable energy and doesn’t count under EAc2.

Schematic Design

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  • Consider building design and optimized energy performance before finalizing renewable energy calculations. Use estimates of the project’s annual energy use and costs to help determine what percentage of onsite renewable energy will be required to meet the credit threshold. 


  • The key factors in implementing renewable energy for onsite generation include:

    • envelope optimization and efficiency;
    • studying feasibility; 
    • selection of appropriate technology;
    • optimizing the mechanical and onsite systems; 
    • integrated design development;
    • space and resource allocation;
    • budget allocation;
    • Identifying available incentives.

  • Consider space requirements and access. For PV, look for shadows, evaluate for optimal solar radiation and the angle of incidence during peak generating season. If possible, consider solar tracking system that follows the sun during the day and throughout the year. This would allow more electricity generated from the same area, though with more infrastructure cost. (See Resources.) 


  • For possible wind generation, consider any obstruction like nearby buildings or future planned developments. 


  • Many PV panels are very sensitive to shading, so shade on even a small part of the panel reduces its output significantly. Discuss the structural requirements with a qualified vendor and structural engineer. Some types of PV, such as thin-film, are less sensitive to shading, but are also less efficient overall. 


  • Initiate the process for financial support and subsidies. Some programs require applications early in the design period and designate only approved vendors. 


  • Compare the various available renewable energy technologies for cost, capacity, and project goals. 


  • Consider the onsite environmental impact of the technologies. Will wind turbines affect migratory birds? Will solar panels cause unwanted glare?


  • Determine an annual energy-cost estimate using your energy model, if developing one for EAc1: Optimize Energy Performance, or by basing it on the estimates of average building energy usage developed by CBECS—see the LEED Reference Guide.


  • Conventional developer-driven projects do not allow room for long payback. It is helpful to run a long-term cost-benefit analysis to estimate the savings after the first ten years of the installation, presenting onsite renewable system as a cost-effective investment to the future occupants. Spec projects can still pursue this credit and install renewable energy with the promise of lower utility bills and future energy freedom to the occupants of the building. The cost can be transferred to the occupant either in the form of higher rent or fees, or an escrow account where the occupant pays monthly dues for the cost of installation over a period of time. It’s also possible to purchase the system on loan and transfer the loan to the future owners. Work creatively to reduce the financial impact and allow as much energy generation as possible. 


  • Current technologies for generating small-scale renewable energy systems have two major barriers: low efficiency and high installation expense. The expenses consist of the actual generating technology (photovoltaic panels, wind turbine, or a hydro plant) and the “balance of system” components: inverter, battery or grid-interface, and wiring. System components and wiring is often a major cost element. 

Design Development

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  • The renewable energy designer provides layout, sizing, electrical load requirements and other design parameters to the design team. Integrate these into the overall project design and check for impacts on structural design and mechanical system sizing. 


  • Solar thermal systemA solar thermal installation provides hot water at the Snowmass Recreation Center in Snowmass, Colorado.Backup power may be needed. For example, solar-thermal hot water may be combined with a hot water tank and a boiler. This will require integrated controls. A building management system can track which fuel is used when to optimize efficiency. 


  • If you are considering building-integrated systems that have PV integrated into windows, skylights, canopies, parking shades, or roof tiles, have the manufacturer and contractor do a constructability review. Some glazing manufacturers provide the technical input and work with the team to develop a custom product like BIPV glass laminate panels. (See Resources for more on BIPV.)


  • Include all renewable energy systems within the scope of commissioning when writing the RFP for a commissioning agent. 


  • Submeter renewable energy systems so that energy use is recorded and verified. Compare it with the rated capacity of the system. Include this within the scope of EAc5: Measurement and Verification


  • Be sure to design for adequate access to the systems, for maintenance and inspection after the project is completed.

Construction Documents

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  • Include the renewable energy systems in the specifications and construction documents. 


  • Make sure elements that are needed to attach the systems, such as anchors or flanges, are clearly called out in the appropriate drawings and specs because workers who aren’t installing the actual systems might not have experience with them. 

Construction

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  • Discuss the system with the construction team during bidding, and address any potential conflicts in construction issues and scheduling. 


  • Coordinate the project schedule to account for installation and connection requirements of the renewable energy systems. Often, when unfamiliar with the system, the construction team does not account for the additional time and interaction required with steel, electrical, mechanical and plumbing subcontractors. For example, the vendor, electrician, window contractor, and façade consultant all have to coordinate on the installation of glass-laminated PV. 


  • Schedule the installation to be completed before final commissioning, both to allow ample time for commissioning and for any changes or adjustments. 


  • Make final calculations of the estimated building energy loads. Confirm that renewable energy generation capacity is 1% of building energy, at minimum for the LEED credit, or that the project’s goals are met.


  • Double-check that you will earn any incentives or rebates you are counting on.

Operations & Maintenance

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  • Obtain warranty information and a maintenance contract with the system installer for future visits. Some of the technologies such as hydroelectric and wind include moving parts that will need regular maintenance. Solar panels need to be cleaned of bird droppings and snow to operate at highest possible efficiencies. Incorporate these measures into the facility maintenance manual.

  • USGBC

    Excerpted from LEED 2009 for New Construction and Major Renovations

    EA Credit 2: On-site renewable energy

    1–7 Points

    Intent

    To encourage and recognize increasing levels of on-site renewable energy self-supply to reduce environmental and economic impacts associated with fossil fuel energy use.

    Requirements

    Use on-site renewable energy systems to offset building energy costs. Calculate project performance by expressing the energy produced by the renewable systems as a percentage of the building’s annual energy cost and use the table below to determine the number of points achieved.

    Use the building annual energy cost calculated in EA Credit 1: Optimize Energy Performance or the U.S. Department of Energy’s Commercial Buildings Energy Consumption Survey database to determine the estimated electricity use.

    The minimum renewable energy percentage for each point threshold is as follows:

    Percentage Renewable Energy Points
    1% 1
    3% 2
    5% 3
    7% 4
    9% 5
    11% 6
    13% 7



    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

    Potential Technologies & Strategies

    Assess the project for nonpolluting and renewable energy potential including solar, wind, geothermal, low-impact hydro, biomass and bio-gas strategies. When applying these strategies, take advantage of net metering with the local utility.

Publications

Energy Information Administration Electricity Consumption and Price Data

Charts showing total U.S. energy consumption and U.S. residential electricity prices.


National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)—Building Integrated PV Research (BIPV)

Compilation of research and technological breakthroughs in BIPV.


U.S. Department of Energy, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy, Renewable Energy Maps and Data

The maps and data section of DOE’s EERE website provides information on regional distribution of 
renewable energy sources and technologies in the United States. 


Energy Information Administration Electricity Consumption and Price Data

Charts showing total U.S. energy consumption and U.S. residential electricity prices.

Web Tools

U.S. Department of Energy—Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Maps & Data

Maps and data showing statistics, trends, and the availability of renewable energy resources throughout the United States.


North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) Installer Locator

Interactive map to help consumers find certified solar PV and solar thermal installers.


PV Watts Performance Calculator for Grid-Connected PV Systems

Helps non-experts to quickly obtain performance estimates for grid-connected PV systems.


U.S. Department of Energy—Energy Savers: The Economics of a Small Solar Electric System

Covers cost considerations for PV systems.


PV Watts Solar Calculator

Links to multiple educational tools for examining cost and performance of various energy-efficient and solar energy technologies and products.


Wisconsin Focus on Energy—Renewable Energy Site Assessment

Provides guidance for determining renewable energy potential of residential and non-residential sites.


U.S. Department of Energy—Green Power Network: Net Metering Policies

Resources on net metering laws, policies, and guidelines.


U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

This website is a comprehensive resource for U.S. Department of Energy information on energy efficiency and renewable energy and provides access to energy links and downloadable documents. 


U.S. Department of Energy—Energy Savers: The Economics of a Small Solar Electric System

Covers cost considerations for PV systems.


National Renewable Energy Lab Tools

This comprehensive website provides energy data and tools that can assist in learning more about our main renewable energy technologies and their uses. Evaluate solar and wind potential with the listed tools under the Technology Analysis Models and Tools.


RETscreen

RETScreen 4 is an Excel-based clean energy project analysis software tool that helps decision makers quickly and inexpensively determine the technical and financial viability of potential renewable energy, energy efficiency and cogenerationThe simultaneous production of electric and thermal energy in on-site, distributed energy systems; typically, waste heat from the electricity generation process is recovered and used to heat, cool, or dehumidify building space. Neither generation of electricity without use of the byproduct heat, nor waste-heat recovery from processes other than electricity generation is included in the definition of cogeneration. projects.


Transol

Transol is a tool available for a fee for design, calculation and optimization of solar thermal water systems.


U.S. Department of Energy—Other Renewable Energy Tools

A collection of renewable energy building analysis tools.

Technical Guides

California Energy Commission—A Guide to Photovoltaic (PV) System Design and Installation

Detailed description of design considerations and installation instructions for PV systems.


Building-Integrated Photovoltaic (BIPV) Designs for Commercial and Institutional Structures: A Sourcebook for Architects

Illustrates 16 case studies across U.S. that incorporate BIPV and prepares readers with common BIPV terminology, pitfalls, and design basics.


California Solar Center—Solar Power Purchase Agreement Guide

Free article explaining how  third-party providers can install and maintain solar electrical systems on private property.


ENERGY Guide

This website provides information on different power types, including green power, as well as general information on energy efficiency and tools for selecting power providers based on economic, environmental, and other criteria.

Organizations

Solar Energy International

Links to publications, workshops, courses, outreach programs and other renewable energy education opportunities.


Low Impact Hydropower Institute

A non-profit organization that supports a voluntary certification program designed to help identify and reward hydropower dams that are minimizing their environmental impacts.


National Center for Photovoltaics

NCPV provides clearinghouse information on all aspects of photovoltaic systems. 


Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency (DSIRE)

Comprehensive listing of federal, state, local, and utility incentives that subsidize renewable energy use and energy efficiency.


American Wind Energy Association

A national trade association that provides resources and information about the domestic and international wind industry.

Articles

Low Emissions, Quick Energy Payback for Thin-Film PV

A BuildingGreen.com article about a 2008 study showing that all current photovoltaic technologies offer at least an 89% reduction of air emissions compared with conventional electricity while also offering an energy-payback time of less than three years.

Photovoltaic (PV) Calculator

Use of photovoltaic (PV) electricity is the most common way to earn LEED points. This spreadsheet helps you analyze how much PV you need to earn LEED points, what it will cost, and how much it will reduce your project's carbon emissions.

Renewable Energy Feasibility

Careful analysis of renewable energy feasibility is required for most projects. The example shown here was for a 20-kW system on a commercial building.

Photovoltaic Project Work

Sample documents showing PV infrastructure and calculations with an onsite PV project.

Design Submittal

PencilDocumentation for this credit can be part of a Design Phase submittal.

LEED Online Forms: NC-2009 EA

Sample LEED Online forms for all rating systems and versions are available on the USGBC website.

309 Comments

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PAULA HERNANDEZ MRS. INGENIERO MARIO PEDRO HERNANDEZ
Jan 09 2017
LEEDuser Member
1270 Thumbs Up

Solar Panels

Project Location: Argentina

Hello,
I am working on a Project that wants to claim all the available points on EA-c2. But they don´t have the space needed to place all the solar panels inside the LEED boundary.
The owner has another parcel about 0.06 miles from the building and he is planning to install the panels on this parcel. The panels will provide energy only to this Project.
Will this be acceptable to reach the credit?,
Do we have to include this other parcel into the LEED boundary for this option to be accepted?
Thank you!

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Marcus Sheffer LEED Fellow, 7group Jan 10 2017 LEEDuser Expert 69427 Thumbs Up

Yes there are LEED Interpretations that allow you to take credit for renewables installed outside the LEED project boundary, either on a campus or on another property owned by the same owner. You do not have to include that parcel in your boundary.

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PAULA HERNANDEZ MRS., INGENIERO MARIO PEDRO HERNANDEZ Jan 10 2017 LEEDuser Member 1270 Thumbs Up

Thank you Marcus!

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Hernando Miranda Owner, Soltierra LLC Jan 10 2017 Guest 14105 Thumbs Up

The original LEED interpretationLEED Interpretations are official answers to technical inquiries about implementing LEED on a project. They help people understand how their projects can meet LEED requirements and provide clarity on existing options. LEED Interpretations are to be used by any project certifying under an applicable rating system. All project teams are required to adhere to all LEED Interpretations posted before their registration date. This also applies to other addenda. Adherence to rulings posted after a project registers is optional, but strongly encouraged. LEED Interpretations are published in a searchable database at usgbc.org. regarding this is # 10128. I made the original request and Marcus would be the most likely to know if any revisions were made.

Important to note about On-Site Renewables for Campuses—Communities would be more appropriate these days—are the following.

– The Renewables must be commissioned.
– If the M&V is a credit for the project it must be included.
– Different commissioningThe process of verifying and documenting that a building and all of its systems and assemblies are planned, designed, installed, tested, operated, and maintained to meet the owner's project requirements. and M&V agents can document the renewables. Multiple agents can actually be used for any project.

– There is a limit how farFloor-area ratio is the density of nonresidential land use, exclusive of parking, measured as the total nonresidential building floor area divided by the total buildable land area available for nonresidential structures. For example, on a site with 10,000 square feet (930 square meters) of buildable land area, an FAR of 1.0 would be 10,000 square feet (930 square meters) of building floor area. On the same site, an FAR of 1.5 would be 15,000 square feet (1395 square meters), an FAR of 2.0 would be 20,000 square feet (1860 square meters), and an FAR of 0.5 would be 5,000 square feet (465 square meters). away a different site can be—10 miles. That is my fault. I wrote the original request with the goal of getting the request accepted, and did not want to reach too far and get a rejection for the request. The distance to a different site could be greater if a LEED Interpretation allows it.

– Provide a map with scale of the LEED project and renewable locations.

– Make sure a narrative is provided. State the total renewable energy provided and provide supporting calculations. State how much of that energy is allocated to the project. Unclaimed renewable energy can be used for future LEED projects. A revised letter can be provided for future projects if they pursue LEED.

– It isn't necessary for the LEED project owner to own the renewables but they must own the land—at least long-term control of use—and have an agreement with the renewables provided to install and operate the system for a long period—maybe 10 years; I am not sure what the current requirement for this type of renewable ownership is.

I hope the above is helpful. I used the interpretation to for one owner with nine LEED projects and six different renewables locations. All of the project ended up as Zero Net Energy Use as well as Zero Net Energy Cost. Five of those earned LEED Platinum because of the multiple renewable systems installed on the owner's campuses.

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Vassil Vassilev Manager Termoservice OOD
Aug 31 2016
LEEDuser Member
454 Thumbs Up

Wood pellets as a Renewable energy source

Project Location: Bulgaria

We are at conceptual design stage for a new school building. The building will have its own boiler plant with oil fired burners as the only possible option available in the region.
While investigating various form of energy conservation features and possible renewable energy sources, the designers are considering to apply pellet burning boiler plant.
The question related to complying to EAc2 is:

As the pellets are available off-side and has to be firstly delivered on-site and then used as energy source, should this be an obstacle?
If yes, there would be few more clearing questions, but could you please put some light on this one.
Thanks

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Marcus Sheffer LEED Fellow, 7group Aug 31 2016 LEEDuser Expert 69427 Thumbs Up

Wood pellets usually do not qualify as renewable.To qualify they would have to be made from untreated wood waste generated on-site. There are some exceptions to the on-site part in the LEED Interpretations.

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Ward Miller Chief Environmental Officer, Alpenglow Advisory Aug 31 2016 Guest 891 Thumbs Up

With regards to the same project Eng. Vassilev is asking about, just to add that a tail end chimney filter (exact technology not yet determined, but likely to be electrostatic) is being considered to reduce particulate matter related to the combination of the biomass fueled boiler plant. And a slight correction should be mentioned that the pellets would actually be made from agricultural waste rather than wood, although I am not sure this would influence anything.

We looked at a few LEED Interpretations as you suggested:
ID# 6041 (Interpretation - 2003)- appears to set precedent that locally produced and sourced renewable energy sources (biofuel in this case) that are purchased as a commercial product may be used to count toward credit compliance.
ID# 2591 (Interpretation, 2009) - appears to set the contrary precedent that the source of the material (wood in this case) must be from the site itself or a contiguous property with the same owner.
ID# 100001081 (Addenda, 2011) - appears to clarify this discrepancy by clearly stating credit may be awarded, "if the fuel source is not owned, and in cases where use of a substitute, non-renewable fuel is possible, projects must enter into a 2-year contract for purchase of the renewable fuel source, with an ongoing commitment to renew for a period of 10 years total."

As such, it would follow that purchasing pellets produced from agricultural waste that is off-site would contribute to credit compliance provided the proper contractual documents are in place. Could you confirm this Marcus?

Last question slightly related to EAp2: if we proceed with the boiler plant that uses pellets produced from agricultural waste, it is clear we would use the contracted value of the pellets as the cost in the design model, but what cost would we use in the base case, as LEED Interpretation ID#5332 states fuel switching is not allowed by ASHRAE 90.1 and diesel would be the other option? Does this mean no cost savings could be realized?

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Marcus Sheffer LEED Fellow, 7group Aug 31 2016 LEEDuser Expert 69427 Thumbs Up

Agricultural waste makes a big difference as that tends to be a qualifying renewable. Based on ID#100001081 if you can meet that criteria it sounds like it may qualify relative to fuel source and purchase term. The other issue that comes up in these situation is distance from the site, since the credit is for On-Site renewables. LI #1789 and #5332 deal with this issue for wood and landfill gas. I have not seem anything that deals with this issue relative to agricultural waste pellets. You might consider submitting a CIRCredit Interpretation Ruling. Used by design team members experiencing difficulties in the application of a LEED prerequisite or credit to a project. Typically, difficulties arise when specific issues are not directly addressed by LEED information/guide to determine if you need to address that issue.

Regarding EAp2 - see the exception to G2.4. This language has always been confusing to me but here is what I take it to mean. You count the cost of the pellets in your proposed model but subtract it off as a renewable.The baseline would be your back up fuel source or electricity. This is counter to LI#5332 which I think is an incorrect interpretation of G2.4. This is demonstrated in 90.1-2013 which changed this language to be more clear. To be certain you can count it the way I think you should be able to I would suggest you submit a project team inquiry or CIR or LI to USGBC. Let us know the result if you do.

Great questions as you seem to have uncovered some grey areas!

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Daniel Hartsig Sustainability Analyst, Transwestern Sep 27 2016 LEEDuser Member 194 Thumbs Up

You might want to contact your reviewer, client manager or LEED coach with the specifics. We had a project using an agriculture waste pellet burner get dinged by a reviewer citing LI 10300, which adds extensive requirements to a project and/or its power provider.

We're planning on countering with the fact that LI 10300 only calls out additional requirements for projects using the expanded material list and not the original accepted biofuel list (specified by ID# 100001081).

If anyone has any thoughts on this, I'd appreciate it. Otherwise I'll let you know how it turns out.

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Ward Miller Chief Environmental Officer, Alpenglow Advisory Sep 27 2016 Guest 891 Thumbs Up

Thanks for sharing Daniel! LI 10300 does not deal with agricultural waste specifically, but rather expanding the definition of renewable energy sources in general, as you mention. It appears to focus primarily on wood, as the project seems to be specifically related to an urban vegetation maintenance programs and logging operations as the energy source, which have both several other CIRCredit Interpretation Ruling. Used by design team members experiencing difficulties in the application of a LEED prerequisite or credit to a project. Typically, difficulties arise when specific issues are not directly addressed by LEED information/guide/LI. The ruling does have merit, but it appears to be a farFloor-area ratio is the density of nonresidential land use, exclusive of parking, measured as the total nonresidential building floor area divided by the total buildable land area available for nonresidential structures. For example, on a site with 10,000 square feet (930 square meters) of buildable land area, an FAR of 1.0 would be 10,000 square feet (930 square meters) of building floor area. On the same site, an FAR of 1.5 would be 15,000 square feet (1395 square meters), an FAR of 2.0 would be 20,000 square feet (1860 square meters), and an FAR of 0.5 would be 5,000 square feet (465 square meters). stretch as being applicable to agricultural waste that has a two year contract with a commitment to renew for 10 years, as per ID#100001081. Did the project you mention submit documentation demonstrating this purchasing commitment? If not, I would strongly encourage you to add this to your response.

As your project sounds like it is specifically related to agricultural waste, these ideas and additional documentation may also be useful arguments, but your planned argument hits very close to the heart of the issue, so please do let us know how this turns out!

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Stacey Olson Associate, LEED AP, ID+C, BD+C, CID Gensler
Aug 24 2016
LEEDuser Member
506 Thumbs Up

Planned/future Photovolatic installation

Project Location: United States

I'm working on a project that has installed the infrastructure to support a PV array, and is pursuing Enhanced CommissioningThe process of verifying and documenting that a building and all of its systems and assemblies are planned, designed, installed, tested, operated, and maintained to meet the owner's project requirements.. They are working with various partners for funding of the actual solar panels.

If an energy model and calculations are completed showing the percentage of onsite energy generation, and the commissioning agent agrees to revisit the site to preform commissioning upon installation, and if there is a signed contract in place guaranteeing installation of the solar panels within "x" amount of time, can the project take credit for the PV installation? If so, has there been a precedence set for what would the "x" amount of time be? (I did not see any LEED interpretations regarding planned or future solar installations). Thank you in advance.

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Marcus Sheffer LEED Fellow, 7group Aug 25 2016 LEEDuser Expert 69427 Thumbs Up

Yes if the system is under contract you can claim credit for it. I am not aware of a definitive X amount of time. It should be installed with a few months at most I would think.

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Marcus Sheffer LEED Fellow, 7group Aug 31 2016 LEEDuser Expert 69427 Thumbs Up

I have been doing some digging on this issue. The work needs to be done by substantial completion of construction according to the EAc2 credit form.

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Joe Manganelli designer/researcher
Aug 16 2016
LEEDuser Member
48 Thumbs Up

RE: Feeding renewable energy into the project

Project Location: United States

Hi All,

We have a campus with a substation on-site (on owner's property) that will be owned by the local utility. The Owner would like to tie in the power generated by an on-site solar energy production system at the transformer yard as the power is coming into the facility.

Does anyone have experience with such a strategy? On the face of it, this seems to be unacceptable, but at the same time, it seems to meet the intent and spirit of the requirements and is therefore a candidate for a CIRCredit Interpretation Ruling. Used by design team members experiencing difficulties in the application of a LEED prerequisite or credit to a project. Typically, difficulties arise when specific issues are not directly addressed by LEED information/guide request.

Any thoughts?

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Marcus Sheffer LEED Fellow, 7group Aug 17 2016 LEEDuser Expert 69427 Thumbs Up

Which side of the transformers would it tie into? Which side of the campus meter would it tie into? Who would own the solar system?

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Joe Manganelli designer/researcher Aug 17 2016 LEEDuser Member 48 Thumbs Up

The utility side of the transformer upstream from the campus meter but within campus project boundary. Not sure yet who will own the system.

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Marcus Sheffer LEED Fellow, 7group Aug 17 2016 LEEDuser Expert 69427 Thumbs Up

This will probably come down to an issue of ownership of the system and the contractual relationships rather than where it ties into the grid. It is cleaner if the power ties into the owner's side after the meter but it can tie into the grid.

If the energy is sold into the grid it is not eligible. If the energy is purchased by the owner, who must also retain or replace the RECs, then it may be eligible. If the system is leased the term must be at least 10 years. Check into the campus guidance and LEED v4 for additional guidance on this kind of situation.

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Joe Manganelli designer/researcher
Aug 16 2016
LEEDuser Member
48 Thumbs Up

RE: LI#10397

Project Location: United States

Hi All,

Does anyone have any experience with LI#10397?

This LI# stipulates an alternative compliance path for facilities that have 60% or more non-regulated loads.

QUESTION 1: I cannot find any documents or templates or guidance or examples for this credit so farFloor-area ratio is the density of nonresidential land use, exclusive of parking, measured as the total nonresidential building floor area divided by the total buildable land area available for nonresidential structures. For example, on a site with 10,000 square feet (930 square meters) of buildable land area, an FAR of 1.0 would be 10,000 square feet (930 square meters) of building floor area. On the same site, an FAR of 1.5 would be 15,000 square feet (1395 square meters), an FAR of 2.0 would be 20,000 square feet (1860 square meters), and an FAR of 0.5 would be 5,000 square feet (465 square meters). online. Do you know of any such documents?

QUESTION 2: I find the language a little confusing and want to make sure that I am interpreting it correctly. For instance, does the following note, "Note: % regulated load figures calculated by dividing whole building percentage targets by 40%," mean that if my whole building percentage target is 15% and I divide it by 40%, then my % regulated load is (.15/.4=.375=37.5%)? I think that is correct but it would be nice to have confirmation.

QUESTION 3: Is this alternative compliance path eligible for an exemplary performanceIn LEED, certain credits have established thresholds beyond basic credit achievement. Meeting these thresholds can earn additional points through Innovation in Design (ID) or Innovation in Operations (IO) points. As a general rule of thumb, ID credits for exemplary performance are awarded for doubling the credit requirements and/or achieving the next incremental percentage threshold. However, this rule varies on a case by case basis, so check the credit requirements. point (as is the standard compliance path)?

Thanks,
Joe

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Marcus Sheffer LEED Fellow, 7group Aug 17 2016 LEEDuser Expert 69427 Thumbs Up

No experience but here is the way I read it.

1. Not aware of any.
2. Me too. The "table" is confusing I think. The first option is pretty clear. If I exceed 150,000 kWhA kilowatt-hour is a unit of work or energy, measured as 1 kilowatt (1,000 watts) of power expended for 1 hour. One kWh is equivalent to 3,412 Btu. of renewables I get one point. The second option I take to mean that if my renewable energy is at least 3% of my regulated energy I get one point. So if I have 10,000,000 kWh of total energy use and 60% process energy use, I would need 3% of 4,000,000 kWh or 120,000 kWh for one point. If I had 80% process I would need 60,000 kWh. The note describes how the percentages were determined in the table. For EAc2 the first point is normally 1%, so the 3% was derived by dividing the 1% by 0.4 = 2.5% rounded to 3%.
3. I would think so. To try and claim one just exceed the next increment in the table. Looks like the first option increment is 300,000 kWh and the second options is another 5%.

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Joe Manganelli designer/researcher Aug 17 2016 LEEDuser Member 48 Thumbs Up

Marcus, I heard back from LEED Coach regarding LI#10397.

1. Referred me to LEED V4
2. Agreed with your calculation method.
3. Said the credit is not eligible for exemplary performanceIn LEED, certain credits have established thresholds beyond basic credit achievement. Meeting these thresholds can earn additional points through Innovation in Design (ID) or Innovation in Operations (IO) points. As a general rule of thumb, ID credits for exemplary performance are awarded for doubling the credit requirements and/or achieving the next incremental percentage threshold. However, this rule varies on a case by case basis, so check the credit requirements.. However, in LEED V4 (p.440), it is eligible --- so that is a difference between V3 and V4.

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Joe Manganelli designer/researcher Aug 17 2016 LEEDuser Member 48 Thumbs Up

Marcus, I heard back from LEED Coach regarding LI#10397.

1. Referred me to LEED V4
2. Agreed with your calculation method.
3. Said the credit is not eligible for exemplary performanceIn LEED, certain credits have established thresholds beyond basic credit achievement. Meeting these thresholds can earn additional points through Innovation in Design (ID) or Innovation in Operations (IO) points. As a general rule of thumb, ID credits for exemplary performance are awarded for doubling the credit requirements and/or achieving the next incremental percentage threshold. However, this rule varies on a case by case basis, so check the credit requirements.. However, in LEED V4 (p.440), it is eligible --- so that is a difference between V3 and V4.

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varun potbhare Sustainability Expert ASTAD
Aug 07 2016
Guest
8 Thumbs Up

PV Energy sent to Local Grid - Eligibility for EA c1 & EA c2

I am working on Museum Project in Doha. Owner of the Museum intends to install 3000 panels on the car park. The clients wants to enter a MoU with local electricity service provider wherein all the power generated on site thru Renewable Energy shall be supplied to Grid. In return, local electricity provider will deduct power generated by PVs from electricity bills.

The Solar PV installation is 100% funded by the client and is within the project boundary.

Considering that the Solar PVs are on site, and (indirectly) offsetting the power requirements of the project, can we take advantage in EA c1 and EA c2.

Currently, there is no discussion of RECs as it deduction in electricty bills (in lieu of electricity generation) is governed by MoU between client and local grid provider.

Please advice.

Thank you,
Varun

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Marcus Sheffer LEED Fellow, 7group Aug 09 2016 LEEDuser Expert 69427 Thumbs Up

Sounds like it would qualify. The agreement must address the RECA Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) is a certificate representing proof that a given unit of electricity was generated from a renewable energy source such as solar or wind. These certificates are able to be sold, traded, or bartered as environmental commodities, where an electricity consumer can buy the renewable energy attributes of electricty to support renewable energy, even if they are consuming generic grid-supplied electricity that may be supplied by nonrenewable sources. issue and they must be retained by your client. If there are no RECs there then demonstrate the equivalent.

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varun potbhare Sustainability Expert, ASTAD Aug 15 2016 Guest 8 Thumbs Up

Thank you, Marcus.

There are no RECs referred in the MoU as there is a limited mechanism to do so in this part of the world.

However, the MoU between the client and the local grid provider shall specify the power deductions from the electricity bills equivalent to power produced through onsite renewable energy souces (PVs in this case).

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GISELA FARHAT DE ARAUJO
Jul 12 2016
Guest
113 Thumbs Up

Form

Project Location: Brazil

The EAC2 Form asks for "Annual Renewable Energy Cost". You said in a post that is "It is the avoided energy cost associated with the renewables at the virtual rate from the Proposed model. So it is the savings."

So, if my system generates 49,725 KwhA kilowatt-hour is a unit of work or energy, measured as 1 kilowatt (1,000 watts) of power expended for 1 hour. One kWh is equivalent to 3,412 Btu./year and the Average energy rate is R$ 0,32 the annual renewable energy cost is 49,725 x 0,322 = R$ 15,912
Is that correct???

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Marcus Sheffer LEED Fellow, 7group Jul 12 2016 LEEDuser Expert 69427 Thumbs Up

Sounds right. Just make sure the "average" rate is the virtual rate. The virtual rate is the total kWhA kilowatt-hour is a unit of work or energy, measured as 1 kilowatt (1,000 watts) of power expended for 1 hour. One kWh is equivalent to 3,412 Btu. consumed in the model divided by the total electric cost.

The rate in the model can be entered as a simple rate $/kWh or as a complex rate with tiers, demand charges, rachets, etc. In the case of a simple rate it is the same as the virtual rate.

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GISELA FARHAT DE ARAUJO Jul 12 2016 Guest 113 Thumbs Up

Thank you!

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GISELA FARHAT DE ARAUJO Jul 13 2016 Guest 113 Thumbs Up

Marcus, good morning.
you said that the virtual rate is the total kwhA kilowatt-hour is a unit of work or energy, measured as 1 kilowatt (1,000 watts) of power expended for 1 hour. One kWh is equivalent to 3,412 Btu. consumed in the model, divided by the total eletric cost. would not the opposite?
the cost divided by the consumed?

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GISELA FARHAT DE ARAUJO Jul 13 2016 Guest 113 Thumbs Up

Another question:
In Brazil we have different rates of values according to the consumption of time. for example: in schedules where energy consumption is considered high the rate is R$ 1.95 and the times of small consumption rate is R$ 0.32.
Do I have to consider the average? can I include in this value the taxes?

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Marcus Sheffer LEED Fellow, 7group Jul 13 2016 LEEDuser Expert 69427 Thumbs Up

Yes reverse it. $/kWhA kilowatt-hour is a unit of work or energy, measured as 1 kilowatt (1,000 watts) of power expended for 1 hour. One kWh is equivalent to 3,412 Btu. is what you want..

You can use some type of average - this is the simple rate I mentioned above.

You can enter the rate schedule in the model and it will apply it to your consumption - this is the complex rate I mention above. We will generally use the actual rate in our models as this would produce a more accurate result.

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GISELA FARHAT DE ARAUJO
Jul 12 2016
Guest
113 Thumbs Up

Eac2 form

Project Location: Brazil

Hi.
I have a 34,2 Kw solar system that generate 49.425 kWhA kilowatt-hour is a unit of work or energy, measured as 1 kilowatt (1,000 watts) of power expended for 1 hour. One kWh is equivalent to 3,412 Btu./year.
I need help to fill the form:
1- In table: 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.- what information should I put in the item "Annual Energy Cost"? the final cost of the installation of my system?
2- The project is using SI units. Do I have to put the cost in Dollar or in Real?
3 - In table: Prescriptive Compliance Path - what information should I put in the item "Average energy rate - Non-Electrical Fuel (kWh/sq m per year)"?

Thank you http://www.leeduser.com/sites/all/themes/leeduser/images/form-submit.gif

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Marcus Sheffer LEED Fellow, 7group Jul 12 2016 LEEDuser Expert 69427 Thumbs Up

1. The renewable energy cost is the annual production times the virtual rate from the Proposed model.

2. Dollars is the metric.

3. If you are using Option 1 under EAp2- energy modeling then you do not use this.

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GISELA FARHAT DE ARAUJO Jul 12 2016 Guest 113 Thumbs Up

I´m not using option 1, but I don´t have Non-Electrical Fuel.

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Marcus Sheffer LEED Fellow, 7group Jul 12 2016 LEEDuser Expert 69427 Thumbs Up

Sounds like you can ignore it.

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GISELA FARHAT DE ARAUJO Jul 13 2016 Guest 113 Thumbs Up

Thank you

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Rebecca Bryant Managing Principle Watershed
Jun 30 2016
LEEDuser Member
93 Thumbs Up

Shared solar array on a campus with separate utility feeds

Project Location: United States

We are working on a hospitality project that is attempting LEED Gold, and is part of a larger campus. Installing the PV array on our roof is not ideal from a resiliency perspective, since we are in a high wind area, so we are evaluating installing the array as a shade structure in the parking lot.

The owner is building an educational facility on campus that also pursuing LEED Platinum certification. That facility is located a short distance down the road from this project. The owner would prefer to group the solar required for both projects in this one public location dedicated to education around sustainable living.

While these projects are on a shared campus, with common ownership, there is not a campus grid between the buildings, and the buildings will have separate electrical feeds from the public grid. The array would be net metered, and the power contributing to the LEED certification of each building would be allocated solely for that purpose and would not overlap.

I can't find a specific requirement for campus projects to be tied together with a campus grid, but it may be assumed that they are. Please advise if our shared solar approach meets the requirements of EAC2.

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Marcus Sheffer LEED Fellow, 7group Jul 01 2016 LEEDuser Expert 69427 Thumbs Up

Sounds like LEED InterpretationLEED Interpretations are official answers to technical inquiries about implementing LEED on a project. They help people understand how their projects can meet LEED requirements and provide clarity on existing options. LEED Interpretations are to be used by any project certifying under an applicable rating system. All project teams are required to adhere to all LEED Interpretations posted before their registration date. This also applies to other addenda. Adherence to rulings posted after a project registers is optional, but strongly encouraged. LEED Interpretations are published in a searchable database at usgbc.org. #10128 applies.

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Rebecca Bryant Managing Principle, Watershed Jul 12 2016 LEEDuser Member 93 Thumbs Up

Thank you, that's excellent news.

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SAMY Chamy Enginneer T&T Green
Jun 24 2016
Guest
770 Thumbs Up

Jute Boiler

Dear All:-

In our project we have Jute boiler in our project with 2.0 Ton capacity

This boiler utilizes the Jute scrap but the scrap is collect fro nearest jute making stations

As per ID-10300 we have some clarifications

1)The Raw Jute was not harvested within twenty-five miles of the facility but the jute scraps are collected within twenty-five miles of the facility because we just buy jute scraps from jute manufacturing industry
2) The project owner has a ten-year contract for the jute scraps with jute manufacturing facility but does not have ownership the rights to the jute scraps
3)Otherwise the Jute scraps has been burned or diverted to a landfill, and
4) The Emission is filtered by fabric filter with an PM removal efficiency of 70%

As per above details either our boiler qualify for renewable energy or not

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Marcus Sheffer LEED Fellow, 7group Jun 24 2016 LEEDuser Expert 69427 Thumbs Up

Hard to say. The first issue would require a further expansion of the current requirements. I think you need to submit an interpretation to get an answer.

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Zane Lichtneger Sustainability Analyst SAS Institute Inc.
Jun 23 2016
LEEDuser Member
142 Thumbs Up

Solar energy used with previous LEED project credit

Project Location: United States

We have a solar farm on our site that generates about 1.7 million kWhA kilowatt-hour is a unit of work or energy, measured as 1 kilowatt (1,000 watts) of power expended for 1 hour. One kWh is equivalent to 3,412 Btu. of electricity per year. The array is 100% grid tied selling all energy back to the public utility. We are exploring the idea of taking this array off the grid and using the energy to help power a new office building planned for completion in 2019. To do this will require a considerable capital investment.
In 2011, we used energy from this solar array for a single LEED credit with another building. Does this disqualify us from using the array for our current new construction office building?
The previous project was LEED-NC 2.2 building, certified gold in Dec-2011. This building earned 1 point for EAc2 On-site renewable energy. In Jan-2015, this building was recertified EB:OM v2009, gold level. The solar array is 100% grid tied and the EBOMEBOM is an acronym for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance, one of the LEED 2009 rating systems. project was not eligible to use any of the energy production for LEED credits.
Using the solar array energy in the new building could be worth up to 12 points from EAc1 and EAc4 putting us on the path platinum certification. The new construction project won’t be opened until late 1st quarter 2019, almost 8 years from the previous project utilizing the solar array for the LEED credit. Our hope is the change in intent/scope and additional investment required to actually use the energy in the building will qualify it for this new project.

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Marcus Sheffer LEED Fellow, 7group Jun 24 2016 LEEDuser Expert 69427 Thumbs Up

There should be a connection to the buildings somehow (solar array feeds campus grid or similar). So not sure you need to take it off grid but I there is not enough information above to say for sure. If the array produces farFloor-area ratio is the density of nonresidential land use, exclusive of parking, measured as the total nonresidential building floor area divided by the total buildable land area available for nonresidential structures. For example, on a site with 10,000 square feet (930 square meters) of buildable land area, an FAR of 1.0 would be 10,000 square feet (930 square meters) of building floor area. On the same site, an FAR of 1.5 would be 15,000 square feet (1395 square meters), an FAR of 2.0 would be 20,000 square feet (1860 square meters), and an FAR of 0.5 would be 5,000 square feet (465 square meters). more than has been allocated to previous LEED projects, you can then simply allocated some of the additional output to another LEED project. Subtract the allocation to the first project from the annual production and that is how much you could allocate to another project.

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Zane Lichtneger Sustainability Analyst, SAS Institute Inc. Jun 24 2016 LEEDuser Member 142 Thumbs Up

Thanks Marcus. Here is some more information.
For the 1st project (2011) 100% of the solar energy was contributed to the building to offset energy cost for LEED-NC 2.2 certification. We only earned one point for the credit EAc2 and it was not even necessary for our certification level. There was no connection from the solar array to the building.
We now want to take the solar array off grid and connect it directly to our new project building and use 100% of the energy to offset energy and cost. By doing this we could potentially earn 12 points for credits EAc1 and EAc4. The solar array will be connected only to the new project building using 100% of the energy with no connection to the grid.
We are basically trying to determine if we used the solar energy for a past project will we ever be able to use it for a future project? I hope this clarifies our situation.

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Marcus Sheffer LEED Fellow, 7group Jun 24 2016 LEEDuser Expert 69427 Thumbs Up

No. If you already allocated 100% of the power to a previous project you can't allocate it again to another project.

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SAMY Chamy Enginneer T&T Green
Apr 19 2016
Guest
770 Thumbs Up

REC Certificate - Renewable Energy

Dear All:-

Our project don't have any Renewable energy such as Solar, Windmill so we plan to Buy a RECA Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) is a certificate representing proof that a given unit of electricity was generated from a renewable energy source such as solar or wind. These certificates are able to be sold, traded, or bartered as environmental commodities, where an electricity consumer can buy the renewable energy attributes of electricty to support renewable energy, even if they are consuming generic grid-supplied electricity that may be supplied by nonrenewable sources. certificate for our Entire energy use (100%) as per ID -10161

1.Is it possible to get EAc2, EAc6 credits using RECRenewable energy credit: a tradable commodity representing proof that a unit of electricity was generated from a renewable resource. RECs are sold separately from electricity itself and thus allow the purchase of green power by a user of conventionally generated electricity. Certificate & how it is possible
2.Is the REC certificate claim acceptable in EAc2 - Renewable energy
3.Is the REC certificate claim acceptable in EAp2 - Minimum Energy performance under renewable energy
4.If it is possible means how many % of REC we need to buy compare with proposed case energy consumption
5.How long(Years) & How much(% of Proposed energy) we need to purchase the REC certificate to claim 13 % in EAc2 renewable energy

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Heather Holdridge Sustainability Coordinator, Lake/Flato Architects Apr 19 2016 LEEDuser Member 2135 Thumbs Up

ID 10161 is for a pretty specific application -- the renewable energy system is still located on-site. Do you have an on-site renewable energy system you could use for purchasing RECs?

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SAMY Chamy Enginneer, T&T Green Apr 20 2016 Guest 770 Thumbs Up

Please Explain Briefly "is it possible to use RECA Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) is a certificate representing proof that a given unit of electricity was generated from a renewable energy source such as solar or wind. These certificates are able to be sold, traded, or bartered as environmental commodities, where an electricity consumer can buy the renewable energy attributes of electricty to support renewable energy, even if they are consuming generic grid-supplied electricity that may be supplied by nonrenewable sources. certificate towards EAc2 Renewable Energy"

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Marcus Sheffer LEED Fellow, 7group Apr 24 2016 LEEDuser Expert 69427 Thumbs Up

1. RECs can be used for EAc6 but not for EAc2.
2. no
3, no
4. NA
5, NA

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SAMY Chamy Enginneer T&T Green
Mar 18 2016
Guest
770 Thumbs Up

Biomass Boiler

Dear all

our project is located in a rural area. then agriculture waste (Biomass) is available in anywhere near our site. We can get these biomass easily and free of cost.

so we plan to install a Biomass boiler for steam requirement. The fuel for biomass boiler is free(No cost).and now we have some doubts ,the same is listed below

1.Is this qualify for Innovation credit & Renewable energy
2. What is the cost we consider towards Renewable energy cost (Electricity is used for Lights and machines, Diesel fired boiler is act as a backup when biomass boiler is in maintenance /failure)
A. Can I take the Energy cost of Diesel fired boiler to produce the same Quality and Quantity steam produced by Biomass boiler towards renewable energy cost
B. Can I take the Energy cost of Electrical fired boiler to produce the same Quality and Quantity steam produced by Biomass boiler towards renewable energy cost

Awaiting for your reply

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Marcus Sheffer LEED Fellow, 7group Mar 21 2016 LEEDuser Expert 69427 Thumbs Up

1. It depends on the source of the biomass, some qualifies, some does not. It is not eligible for an innovation credit in and of itself.
2. You say the cost is free
2A/B. The baseline fuel source is the back up. In your case diesel fuel.

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SAMY Chamy Enginneer T&T Green
Mar 16 2016
Guest
770 Thumbs Up

Solar Energy

Project Location: Vietnam

Dear Al:-

Our project have 50 kWp Grid connected solar panel system with out battery back up. the project is individual and the solar panel is only for this factory alone

the factory operate 240 days per year but we get energy from solar panel for 365 days so we connect our solar power to Govt Electric grid so the energy from solar is sent to govt via electric grid (with sub Electricity meter) when the factory not operating, then electricity bill generated automatically subtract the electrical energy get from factory solar panel

Now the issue is

How much electricity cost we count towards renewable energy cost options are (the solar panel supplier gives the annual electricity production by 50kWp solar panel)

1.Entire electricity produced by solar panel In year
2.Electricity produced in factory operating time (240 days)

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Francesco Passerini engineer Mar 16 2016 Guest 1587 Thumbs Up

Reference Guide, p. 291: "Renewable energy produced on-site and then sold to the grid is not eligible"
The best solution is a calculation step of one hour or less.
Regards

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Marcus Sheffer LEED Fellow, 7group Mar 16 2016 LEEDuser Expert 69427 Thumbs Up

The answer is #1. You can count all of the renewable power generated by the system. What you are describing is simply net metering and does not violate the statement Francesco mentions. That RG citation only applies to systems that are set up to exclusively sell power to the grid and nothing is used by the LEED project.

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Francesco Passerini engineer Mar 17 2016 Guest 1587 Thumbs Up

Sorry, Marcus, I have always a lot of questions... but, how do you know that the citation applies only to systems that are set up exclusively sell power to the grid? I have read the following statement: "if a project building uses
photovoltaic panels to generate electricity on-site but does not store energy when output exceeds demand or use net metering, only the portion of renewable electricity actually consumed on-site counts." but it isn't so clear like your statements, Marcus.
Does an offical interpretation exist?

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SAMY Chamy Enginneer, T&T Green Mar 18 2016 Guest 770 Thumbs Up

Thank you Marcus

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Marcus Sheffer LEED Fellow, 7group Mar 22 2016 LEEDuser Expert 69427 Thumbs Up

Let me try to explain. The issue is not which side of the meter the power feeds into. The issue is related to the agreements in place. From the original post it sounded like the factory has an agreement with the PV provider and/or the utility. The factory uses the PV power when open and the excess flows to the grid when it is not open. This is essentially a net metering arrangement. So I am assuming that is the case in my reply above.

The other key component which must be in place to count this renewable energy for the project is that the building owner must retain the RECs associated with the PV power. Even if there is not a RECRenewable energy credit: a tradable commodity representing proof that a unit of electricity was generated from a renewable resource. RECs are sold separately from electricity itself and thus allow the purchase of green power by a user of conventionally generated electricity. market in Vietnam this issue must be documented to prove that no other entity has a claim on the RECs.

When you read the entire paragraph you are pulling sentences out of it basically says that the project must use some or all of the power generated in order to be eligible. If all the power feeds to the grid you can't count it. The first sentence says you can send some to the grid. The example allows for net metering. The way the documentation is submitted is that you provide the PV system calculation results for the amount generated by the system You are not required to indicate how much goes to the grid versus what is used in the building, only the total kWhA kilowatt-hour is a unit of work or energy, measured as 1 kilowatt (1,000 watts) of power expended for 1 hour. One kWh is equivalent to 3,412 Btu. produced.

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Mauricio Ramirez
Mar 15 2016
Guest
871 Thumbs Up

LEED EAc2 for Campus

Project Location: Mexico

Hello. I'm working on a Campus project that are designing a large PV installation in the roof and façade of the different building as they are built, but that will cover also areas outside of the buildings.
We are preparing to Pre-approve campus credits for master site infrastructure, and then certify the buildings taking advantage of the pre-approved credits. However during Campus review we will not have the individual buildings Energy Model, to define the individual design estimated consumption, to compare with the entire system of PV and define the percentage of renewables campus wide. We have a Master Site consumption estimation made by the energy designer, calculated with energy intensities, by FTEFull-time equivalent (FTE) represents a regular building occupant who spends 8 hours a day (40 hours a week) in the project building. Part-time or overtime occupants have FTE values based on their hours per day divided by 8 (or hours per week divided by 40). Transient Occupants can be reported as either daily totals or as part of the FTE.

Residential occupancy should be estimated based on the number and size of units. Core and Shell projects should refer to the default occupancy table in the Reference Guide appendix.

All occupant assumptions must be consistent across all credits in all categories.
and/or constructed area. Do you think that this numbers may help us to pre-approve the credit, and then confirm the values during individual certification?
Thanks!

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Marcus Sheffer LEED Fellow, 7group Mar 22 2016 LEEDuser Expert 69427 Thumbs Up

I would ask GBCIThe Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) manages Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building certification and professional accreditation processes. It was established in 2008 with support from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). what to do. The submission of EAc2 as part of the Master Site sounds like a bit of a mess. If you don't have the completed models anything you do submit will be a very rough estimate that will have to be adjusted for each individual submission. i would be tempted not to submit it under the Master Site submission and submit EAc2 with each project individually and allocate a portion of the campus PV to each individual project.

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Mauricio Ramirez Servicios Bovis MX, S.A. de C.V. Jul 01 2016 LEEDuser Member 10 Thumbs Up

Thanks Marcus.

For the moment, I think that would be the way we will proceed. We have this most probable decission for the considerations you mention and also because of the uncertainty of funding for such a large PV Project. That will most likely occur when each Building Project are budgeted and approved, and therefore the renewables will be more building-based rather than mastersite based. Thanks for your input.

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SAMY Chamy Enginneer T&T Green
Mar 12 2016
Guest
770 Thumbs Up

Renewable Energy Boiler

Our project have boiler (Rice husk fired boiler)

we buy the Rice husk from nearest stores for boiler

The boiler gives 500 kg/hr steam

can we count this boiler energy as 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.

can we consider a Rice husk annual cost as renewable energy cost

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Marcus Sheffer LEED Fellow, 7group Mar 15 2016 LEEDuser Expert 69427 Thumbs Up

If you can demonstrate it meets the definition of a qualifying renewable then yes you can.

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Kristopher Lashley INVIRO Engineered Systems Ltd.
Feb 29 2016
Guest
179 Thumbs Up

Hydrogen Production

Project Location: Canada

Hi,
We are looking to install an on-site hydrogen production station that will produce hydrogen that is then sent to hydrogen charging stations around the project to refuel and run a fleet of hdrogen powered forklifts.

1) Does anyone know how we can incorporate this into an energy model.
2) Can we use this as an ID credit?
3) Can we account for the bi-product of the hydrogen production (left over water) in our LEED submission as captured water if we use it for irrigation and/or toilet flushing?

regards,

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Marcus Sheffer LEED Fellow, 7group Feb 29 2016 LEEDuser Expert 69427 Thumbs Up

1. I don't think you need to do so. You can do the calculations separately as this is a process load. I am assuming that the process does not impact the heating/cooling of the spaces in which the hydrogen is produced. If it does then you would need to place a load within that space.
2. It is related to energy use and is not eligible for an ID credit.
3. Sure I don't see why not.

Curious about the source of the hydrogen. Natural gas? Solar?

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Hernando Miranda Owner, Soltierra LLC Feb 29 2016 Guest 14105 Thumbs Up

About your comment #1, Marcus. The USGBC has no definitive rules regarding how special process loads should be calculated. You are left to your own to figure out a reasonable and consistent method. Reasonable meaning it makes sense. Consistent meaning to not change basic assumption between the basecase and proposed model cases—schedules of operation, and similar.

The above said, I found that on one should-have-been Platinum project, that the owner decided not to complete certification on because of onerous demands by the LEED reviewer. The reviewer of that project made hard process load calculation requirements and failed to provide justification for—one energy analyst’s method vs. another’s. The reviewer was allowed to have the final say because no one at the USGBC-GBCIThe Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) manages Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building certification and professional accreditation processes. It was established in 2008 with support from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). understood how process loads should be determined.

On other projects I found that the reviewers didn't provide a single comment about process loads at all. Only on the above non-Platinum project did I ever run into a problem, which has always made me wonder why, and how, the USGBC allowed the reviewer to make unreasonable demands and prevent certification of that project.

FYI should-have been Platinum project: This is that odd project—an aquarium veterinary building with all major process loads outside the building—where the reviewer demanded comparison with an energy use "survey" that they refused to identify, and demanded a different schedule of operation—the schedule used was conservative, with greater hours of operation, and thereby higher loads generated—, and demanded we get signed letters from engineers of similar "local" projects—the closest aquariums more than 300 miles away—stating that the systems designer's (and energy analyst) basecase was standard, normal practice, efficiency. I can't image any engineer writing such a letter because it makes the engineer essentially state the firm they were writing the letter for can provide a better, cost-savings, design. I personally, would never ask any engineering firm to write such a letter.

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Marcus Sheffer LEED Fellow, 7group Feb 29 2016 LEEDuser Expert 69427 Thumbs Up

I certainly agree that USGBC has not provided clear guidance to project teams regarding process loads. When I was on the EA TAGLEED Technical Advisory Group (TAG): Subcommittees that consist of industry experts who assist in developing credit interpretations and technical improvements to the LEED system. I advocated for publishing clearer guidance but it did not happen. The guidance provided in the stock language is often not helpful for reasons you cite. There is too much reviewer discretion on this issue because that is how the system is set up to evaluate it. Not right IMO but that is what we have.

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Hernando Miranda Owner, Soltierra LLC Feb 29 2016 Guest 14105 Thumbs Up

There is no real reason for the USGBC to have the system in place they have for years. It can be changed, and it changes all the time. The basic rules for the review system come from the USGBC's LEED Department—which is, or was?, run by Brendan Owens. The GBCIThe Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) manages Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building certification and professional accreditation processes. It was established in 2008 with support from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). is tasked to enforce the system whether they like the rules or not.

On difficult projects I have recommended that owners hire an energy expert, such as yourself. But no matter how qualified the expert is they often experience grief getting through a LEED review. If your analysis method is accepted by one LEED Reviewer, and you use it again with success, a different LEED Reviewer might experience heartburn over the previously accepted method.

I experienced the above LEED reviewer peer disagreement for a group of nine similar projects for a single owner. Eight projects were documented using and identically process for "community" renewable energy shared by all of the projects. The ninth project went to a different reviewer who rejected the documentation method that was used just a few months prior for eight projects. Nothing could be done except meet the demands of the second reviewer using that person's preferred renewable energy allocation method. I ended up with an Excel table, one I previously created, listing all nine projects, and "tweaking" the math but only for the final project. I couldn't change the math for the projects that were already LEED certified. Unfortunately, this is what the LEED Department's rules can force to happen on projects; different rules for the same analysis method. There was no real difference in the overall end result doing math in a single spreadsheet two different ways. Out of 5,000,000 kWhA kilowatt-hour is a unit of work or energy, measured as 1 kilowatt (1,000 watts) of power expended for 1 hour. One kWh is equivalent to 3,412 Btu. to allocate the method difference was on the order of only a few allocated kWh between the original submittal, and forced redo.

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Marcus Sheffer LEED Fellow, 7group Mar 01 2016 LEEDuser Expert 69427 Thumbs Up

I feel your pain.

Did you request a call with the reviewer? Often in complex situations that can be a useful way to resolve these issues.

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Hernando Miranda Owner, Soltierra LLC Mar 01 2016 Guest 14105 Thumbs Up

Marcus, we were not allowed to discuss the issue with the reviewer. We were never told who it was, but we know the reviewer used an outside expert to comment on the process loads. The analyst thought the preliminary review comments required a simple explanation—that the method used resulted in greater energy use and lower percentage savings, and confirming the schedules were consistent—, and making some adjustments to the energy calculations. It was only with the final review that demands for surveys, letters, and references to a mystery existing survey were made by the reviewer.

I discussed these new demands as being onerous and unfair—should occur with the preliminary review—with Peter Templeton. He told me there was nothing the GBCIThe Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI) manages Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) building certification and professional accreditation processes. It was established in 2008 with support from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). could do because of some review rule imposed on them by the USGBC. Peter also spoke with the owner of the project—they previously completed Platinum for a different project—to discuss with her why the only option was to respond to the reviewers demands. She decided immediately to drop out of LEED altogether. Three future Platinum projects were dropped, as well as following LEED methods for all of their upgrade work. This owner (VP at the aquarium) implemented many non-LEED sustainability processes, including cafeteria processes and food sold to visitors. She is a true environmentalist, and for the USGBC to lose here prior hardcore support for LEED was truly amazing.

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Elodie DUMAS ALTO Ingénierie
Jan 29 2016
LEEDuser Member
1053 Thumbs Up

Sea water exchanger heat pump, considere as renewable energy ?

Project Location: France

Hello
We work on an office building connected to DESDistrict energy system: a central energy conversion plant and transmission and distribution system that provides thermal energy to a group of buildings (e.g., a central cooling plant on a university campus). It does not include central energy systems that provide only electricity. heating and colling (district level) and pursue Leed C&S v2009 certification. The DES generation is reversible heat pumps with sea water exchangers. With the option 2 (aggregate scenario) for the DES, could we considere the sea water based production as renewable energy elligible for credit EAc2?
Thanks for your reply

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Marcus Sheffer LEED Fellow, 7group Jan 29 2016 LEEDuser Expert 69427 Thumbs Up

I don't think so. This is similar to ground source heat pumps which do not qualify as renewable.

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