USGBC Announces LEED Zero Certification for Net Zero Projects

Photo by  OregonDOT ,  CC BY 2.0

Photo by OregonDOTCC BY 2.0

After being informally announced at the Global Climate Action Summit earlier this year, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has officially launched LEED Zero to address net zero operations in buildings.

LEED Zero will be open to all LEED projects that are certified under the BD+C, ID+C, or O+M rating systems, as well as projects that are registered to pursue LEED O+M certification. In order to achieve LEED Zero, the project must meet one of the following characteristics:

  • Net zero carbon emissions

  • Net zero energy use

  • Net zero water use

  • Net zero waste

In addition to meeting one or more of the characteristics above, 12 months of performance data also has to be submitted for verification. By definition, “net zero” means to produce at least as much as you use.  Examples of net zero include producing renewable energy using solar panels, harvesting rainwater, or keeping waste out of landfills.

“Net zero is a powerful target that will move the entire industry forward,” said Melissa Baker, senior vice president of technical core at USGBC, in a press relase. “For years, LEED projects around the world have aspired to net zero milestones. We are recognizing the leadership of these projects—and formalizing our commitment to focusing on carbon and net zero across the entire LEED community. These new certification programs will encourage a holistic approach for buildings and places to contribute to a regenerative future and enhance the health and wellbeing for not only building occupants, but all of humanity.”