Building owners can get the most out of their LEED status by focusing on energy efficiency over other LEED aspects, according to research conducted by the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT).
CNT’s research and findings are part of the recently released Year 1 Final Report of the Regional Green Building Case Study Project: a Post-Occupancy Study of LEED Projects in Illinois (PDF), published by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) — Chicago Chapter in collaboration with CNT and other regional partners. The study is based on a review of 25 Illinois commercial projects that received LEED certification.
CNT analyzed how projects performed over multiple years in areas including energy and water use, greenhouse gas emissions, operating costs, commute transportation and occupant comfort.
The research shows the importance of looking beyond the planning and construction phases of green building projects to implement regular tracking of the use and cost of energy, water and other resources, and to establish operation and maintenance practices that improve performance.
The study also finds that is important to continue to collect and analyze energy use data on an ongoing basis in order to understand the impact of changes over time. Performance evaluations must take into account changes in building occupancy, use, operations, and maintenance, as well as systems improvements, according to the study.
The USGBC launched its Building Performance Initiative in August that aims to create a system for collecting and analyzing energy and other resource use data from LEED certified buildings that will be shared with building owners and project teams.
This research is funded by Grand Victoria Foundation. The second phase of this research will kick off later this fall and will include up to 50 new and returning projects.