As mentioned in our last blog post, we recently conducted a study of a portfolio of our projects pertaining to LEED and energy performance. After analyzing energy consumption and cost over 20 buildings of similar size, type, and region over a wide range of year built and LEED status components we found some interesting results. This blog will cover one area of our findings, LEED vs LEED light.

I have not always been a big proponent of LEED due to the increases costs, point system and paperwork. But after my study on our projects performance I have to change my opinion as upon reviewing the data and talking with facility managers it became clear that making a true commitment to LEED increased performance versus projects that did not commit to LEED. We liken the results of someone training to run a 6 minute mile versus running fast. Per the chart below you can see that the top performing building was LEED gold but note that it also included a 110kw photovoltaic system provided through a grant. One might think that that doesn’t count but I suspect the grant would not have been obtained if it weren’t for the focus of the team to obtain LEED gold, in this case 1 point from platinum.

Also in the findings you will see that building designed to LEED Light did not fare better to their competition, many which are much older facilities. This could be due to the first year break in cycle but many of the building have been operational for three years and in this case by the same facility manger as a non LEED facility in the study.

Our final thought is that if you go with LEED light you still need to set real and measurable goals that the team can strive too. Sustainability should be a driver of the project if you want to outperform existing facilities.

Paul Wember, Wember Inc. ~ Owner’s Representative