The U.S. Green Building Council recently announced that it will recognize energy and water requirements from the Living Building Challenge (the Challenge) green building system within the LEED green building program. Projects achieving the energy and water requirements in Living Building Challenge will be considered as technically equivalent to LEED.
“USGBC and the International Living Future Institute, developers of the Living Building Challenge, share a common commitment and goal to transform the way we design, build and operate our buildings,” said Scot Horst, chief product officer, USGBC. “The Challenge plays an important role on the green building performance curve and is a complement to LEED.”
Added Horst, “The LEED steering committee approved this approach; in the world of rating systems there is a sense of competition between systems, and what we’re saying is that what matters is that people are doing good environmental work. We want to focus on them and create harmonization between systems.”
The Challenge requires projects to be net water positive, in other words, to gain all of their needed water from within the site boundaries. This includes potable water, rainwater, and sewage. Chemical treatment of potable water is not allowed. All black and grey water (sewage) must be treated on site and returned to potable status.
Energy requirements include getting 105% of the project’s energy needs on an annual basis from on-site renewable sources without the use of combustion. On-site energy storage must also be provided.
Over the last several years, USGBC has made concerted efforts to streamline LEED requirements and better complement existing rating systems around the world. In 2012, USGBC announced that it recognize energy credits from Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) International, the United Kingdom’s green-building rating program, in applications for LEED certification.
LEED is the most widely used green building rating system in the world, with nearly 69,000 LEED-certified commercial buildings in more than 150 countries and territories globally. LEED-certified buildings offer lower operating costs and better indoor environmental quality, making them attractive to a growing group of corporate, public and individual buyers. High-performing building features increasingly enter into tenants’ decisions about leasing space and into buyers’ decisions about purchasing properties and homes.