“Net-zero is a powerful target that will move the entire industry forward,” said Melissa Baker, SVP of technical core at USGBC. “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.”
LEED Zero was informally released by USGBC in September at the Global Climate Action Summit. LEED Zero is open to all LEED projects certified under the BD+C, ID+C or O+M rating systems, or projects registered to pursue LEED O+M certification. LEED projects can achieve LEED Zero certification when they demonstrate any or one of the following: net zero carbon emissions, net-zero energy use, net-zero water use or net zero waste.
“For more than two decades, LEED has provided a framework for high-performance buildings and spaces, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions through strategies impacting land, energy, transportation, water, waste, and materials,” Baker said. “Building on that work, LEED Zero is a complement to LEED that verifies the achievement of net zero goals and signals market leadership in green building.”
LEED certification recognizes that a project has implemented a number of sustainability strategies, reflecting reduced contributions to climate change as well as beneficial impacts on water resources, biodiversity, human health and well-being, regenerative material resource cycles, social equity and quality of life.
LEED Zero builds on LEED by recognizing specific achievements in building operations and rewards projects that have used LEED as a framework to address important aspects of green buildings and taken their buildings to the next level by designing and operating toward net zero goals. LEED Zero encourages a holistic approach for buildings and places, which will contribute to a regenerative future. This is part of a vision to ensure that the next phase of USGBC’s efforts will be LEED Positive, where buildings are actually generating more energy than they use, and removing more carbon than they produce.