Green architecture and design is so important in the world's quest for greater energy efficiency, but a green design is only as good as the person using it. A low-flow shower head is a great tool for cutting back on water use, but if the owner takes 45-minute showers, the shower head becomes negligible. Luckily, the U.S. Green Building Council wants to make sure its LEED program stands for more than just Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, but also leadership in energy and environmental performance.
The USGBC announced last week that all projects seeking LEED certification will be required to report their energy and water use as a condition of certification. This new requirement will allow the USGBC to collect information for future versions of LEED and to ensure that the certification doesn't just mean a building has green features, but is also operating in the most efficient way possible.
The USGBC hopes that energy reporting will highlight any gaps between design and performance that can lead to both better design and better behavior on the part of building occupants. Any projects applying for certification will have three options for fulfilling this requirement. They can report energy and water usage on a yearly basis, apply for recertification every two years under LEED for Existing Buildings or they can sign a release authorizing the USGBC to access their energy and water usage directly from their utility.
The council is working to eventually have all LEED buildings metered in some way so that this information is collected automatically.