The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building rating system has existed for 15 years and has been certifying between 1.7 million and two million square feet of space per day around the world since January 2010, but its growth has slowed since 2008.
As a result, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has launched the LEED Dynamic Plaque to enhance interest, drive a more performance-based approach to LEED and become an efficient option to maintaining LEED certification.
“We need to help people understand that a green building is a living thing that goes on and on,” USGBC chief product officer Scot Horst told attendees at a Feb. 25 breakfast meeting held by the Greater Toronto chapter of the Canada Green Building Council and sponsored by Honeywell at Toronto’s Fairmont Royal York.
The LEED Dynamic Plaque is a building performance monitoring and scoring platform for LEED-certified projects that provides annual LEED recertification and global benchmarking. It displays the LEED Performance Score, which reflects the measured performance of the building across five categories: energy, water, waste, transportation and human experience.
“What has clearly driven the growth of LEED is tenants asking for it in different parts of the world,” said Horst, the lead inventor of the LEED Dynamic Plaque who led the development of LEED v4 and established the global, regional and local growth strategy that led to LEED as a global benchmark.
“They’re saying that they recognize it as a symbol of quality, but they really don’t know what it means. For a lot of people, it’s a very opaque system.”
Plaque makes the invisible actionable
The LEED Dynamic Plaque makes the invisible actionable and offers a means for interacting with buildings of all types and sizes on multiple levels to enable property owners and tenants to track and manage performance. Data from building management systems can be inputted to update the LEED Performance Score, which works on a 12-month rolling average and changes every time new information is added.
Energy and water use must be tracked for 12 consecutive months, at least one compliant set of readings for total weight of waste generated and diverted from landfill must be provided every year, and at least one compliant set of readings for interior carbon dioxide and volatile organic compound concentration must be submitted annually within the performance period in order to earn recertification.
All building occupants must also complete a transportation survey and a satisfaction survey at least once a year.
“The goal is to have tenants understand what a LEED building is because once in a while they’re asked if they’re happy,” said Horst.
“There are some burdens associated with collecting this information, but we feel confident that they’re so significantly less than the burden of documenting LEED credits, and what it does is help you focus on the bottom line of your building performance instead of your LEED certification. We certify you based on the performance instead of on the documentation of credits.”
Strategies to improve building performance
The LEED Dynamic Plaque’s dashboard displays a variety of elements, including a timeline of certifications that have taken place in the space and the LEED Performance Score for the current period, the previous month and the same period a year earlier, as well as local and global averages derived from a data set from about 800 certified buildings around the world.
This information can be used to provide strategies to improve building performance and act as a reflection mechanism to show people they can do things better if the building’s LEED Performance Score goes down.
“If people benchmark against themselves, they always improve,” said Horst.
LEED certifications will never be taken away from new construction projects once they’re awarded and Horst said new buildings will automatically get a subscription to LEED Dynamic Plaque as part of the certification process in the future.
He finds it “disturbing” that only half of structures that receive LEED EB:O&M (Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance) certifications in the United States apply to maintain their status after five years, and he expects implementation of the LEED Dynamic Plaque to improve recertification rates.
25 York will be Canadian pioneer
Menkes’ 25 York became Toronto’s first LEED EB:O&M Platinum building in 2012 and the class-A office tower will become the first property in Canada to install the LEED Dynamic Plaque next month. Menkes has been working with Honeywell in preparation and Honeywell Americas construction industry leader Debra Gondeck-Becker attended Wednesday’s breakfast.
“We need high-performing buildings to begin with, like Menkes has at 25 York,” she said.
“But then it’s the operations and engagement of the occupants in how they work within that building that absolutely drives sustainability, so we’re really excited to partner with the USGBC in integrating the LEED Dynamic Plaque with Honeywell systems so that we can power the plaque and monitor real-time performance by pushing energy, water and indoor air quality data to the plaque to provide updates for performance scores.”