LEED Certification


LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) is a registered trademark of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC). LEED is an internationally recognized green building certification system, providing third-party verification that measures how well a building or community performs across all the metrics that matter most: energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, and stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts.

R3 Energy assists with LEED New Construction, LEED Commercial Interiors, and LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance. Our Existing Building Projects examples can be seen here.

A snapshot of the LEED Certification process

  • STAGE 1: Feasibility

    The goal is to create an overview of where your building ranks in terms of the LEED system and when it would be practical to submit for certification. This is assessed with the R3 Benchmarking Process: R3 utilizes the EPA Portfolio Manager tool to produce a benchmarking report that incorporates a full year of data on your building's total energy use. With the report produced, R3 will gauge if your building will qualify for the pre-requisite Energy Benchmark score for LEED: 75. Building plans, systems, and operations will undergo a preliminary checklist evaluation to determine the level of LEED Certification: Certified, Silver, Gold, and Platinum.
  • STAGE 2: Building Audit and LEED Compliance

    The goal is to conduct a full-scale audit of the building's operations and systems to ensure compliance and target specific improvements that are necessary for LEED certification. The audit will result in a scope of work for the necessary building improvements. This stage also includes calculations and analyses necessary for all chosen LEED credits, researching federal and state grants and incentives, policy development for all relevant LEED credits, and training for building staff and tenants.
  • STAGE 3: LEED Documentation/Certification

    Attaining the level of LEED Certification is accomplished through communication with the USGBC and the final submission of all necessary calculations and supporting documentation. R3 Energy will undergo reviews with the USGBC to attain the designated certification for the building.

What are the changes with LEED?

In 2013, LEED v4 was officially announced by the USGBC. It places a larger emphasis on having an energy efficient building, and a healthier building for occupants. New markets for certifications were introduced, including: warehouses and distribution centers, hospitality, existing retail, and mid-rise residential projects. Projects can still register under v2009 until October 2016.

USGBC has also recently launched LEED Dynamic Plaque, a streamlined performance-based method to maintain LEED certification for any building or project that has previously been LEED certified.

LEED and Local Laws 31 & 32

In March 2016, Mayor Bill de Blasio signed laws that increase the environmental standards for City-owned buildings in order to limit New York City's contributions to climate change and help the City to move toward its 80 by 50 plan. The 80 by 50 plan aims to reduce the City's greenhouse gas emissions to 80% of 2005 levels by 2050. To reach the goal, the City must reduce 43 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions and more than half of it will be achieved by reducing the energy used in buildings (25 million metric tons).

The new legislation, Local Law 31/2016 and Local Law 32/2016, set the goal to lower energy intensity for new municipal buildings and increase the LEED green building standards major capital projects must meet. These laws are expected to be implemented for projects in July 2017.

Local Law 31: New capital projects for new construction, addition, and substantial reconstruction for City owned properties are covered under Local Law 31. The law requires city properties to cut energy use by half compared to what is used today. These are known as "Low Energy Intensity Buildings" and the requirements are as follows:

  • ASHRAE 90.1.2013 will be the City's new energy code in October 2016. The law allows both an energy budget path to reductions based on the median energy use for the building type as measured in the LL84 benchmarking, or an energy modeling path based on the energy used by a building designed to meet ASHRAE 90.1.2013.
  • Capital projects with an estimated construction cost of $2 million or more involving new construction or substantial reconstruction must be designed and constructed at least in accordance with LEED Gold or higher rating.
  • Projects must consider the feasibility of providing at least 10% of energy from onsite renewables.
  • Projects three stories or less must consider the feasibility of net zero energy use.
  • Capital projects should be designed to use no more than 38 kBTU/sf/year for new construction and 42 kBTU for substantial renovations.

Local Law 32: City property projects with an estimated cost of $12-30 million or more, are covered under Local Law 32. Depending on the type of the building, the following must be achieved:

  • Most new projects will be required to achieve LEED Gold (under v4) and must be designed and constructed to reduce energy cost by a minimum of 20-25%.
  • Schools and hospitals are required to achieve LEED Gold (under v4) or other alternative standards.
  • Residential buildings are required to comply with Enterprise Green Communities Criteria - HPD Overlay (version 2015).
  • Industrial, factories, and high hazard are required to achieve LEED certification.

R3 Energy can help by providing LEED and Enterprise Green services for your project, as we have done with these previous projects.

LEED and Local Law 87

Local Law 87 mandates that buildings over 50,000 gross square feet undergo periodic energy audit and retro-commissioning measures, as part of the Greener, Greater Buildings Plan (GGBP). Buildings that pursue LEED Certification might be exempt from the LL87 requirements.

No energy audit is required for buildings that have either:
  • Earned an EPA ENERGY STAR certification for at least two of the three years prior to filing the Energy Efficiency Report (EER), or
  • Earned the LEED for Existing Buildings certification within four years prior to filing the EER.

No retro-commissioning is required for buildings that have:
  • Been certified under the LEED for Existing Buildings rating system within two years prior to filing the EER, and
  • Have earned both LEED points for:
  • EAc2.1: Existing Building Commissioning - Analysis
  • EAc2.2: Existing Building Commissioning - Implementation

Contact us to talk on exemptions for your building.