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Fremont Office Building | LEED Gold | Photo: Built Work Photography

Fremont Office Building

The world faces staggering challenges through 2050 in terms of health, water scarcity, air quality, resilience and climate change. Addressing these issues requires us to build a world that is regenerative. That is why USGBC introduced LEED Positive, a vision that will help us push the market beyond lessening the negative impact of buildings to reach a future that allows buildings, cities and communities to become vehicles of restoration and repair.

LEED Positive includes four elements:

  1. Continued investment in LEED v4.1
  2. Performance category certificates that existing buildings can earn in categories like water or energy, using the Arc performance platform
  3. More stringent energy goals for existing buildings
  4. Required net-positive performance in carbon, energy and other LEED categories for both new construction and existing buildings

Continued investment in LEED v4.1

LEED is the world’s leading green building program and performance management system, delivering a comprehensive framework for green building design, construction, operations and performance. Today’s version of LEED, LEED v4.1, raises the bar on building standards to address carbon, energy efficiency, water conservation, site selection, material selection, day lighting and waste reduction. With a rigorous focus on material selection, air quality and human health and comfort, project teams can prioritize the most important asset of a LEED project—people.

USGBC has invested close to $2 million in LEED v4.1’s development to increase simplicity and user friendliness through system improvements, new apps and a rebuilt credit submissions architecture. The work done here is critical and serves as the launching point for the framework that LEED Positive will present for buildings and cities.

Required net-positive performance

While the proposed energy reductions can apply to both new and existing buildings, we will require new buildings to accelerate their reduction and quickly become LEED Positive. One of the proven ways to accomplish this is through our certification levels and prerequisites.

USGBC will begin to define LEED Positive targets for LEED credit categories beyond energy and carbon. We will also communicate how LEED, as a holistic rating system, contributes to raising the living standard of people around by the world by supporting concepts such as ESG, circular economy, health and wellness, resilience and social equity.

Arc Performance Certificates

LEED Positive is grounded in the belief that all buildings can start where they are to move towards becoming regenerative.

Many buildings are still unable to meet the minimum requirements of LEED. To help these projects have an on-ramp to LEED certification, we have introduced category level certificates available through the Arc platform. By reporting performance data and obtaining a performance score, a project can earn a category certificate for any or all categories that are tracked within Arc: energy, water, waste, transportation and human experience. Once a project achieves higher performance scores across all categories, they will be able to pursue LEED certification.

Arc Performance Certificates are an easy-to-use complement to certification that helps engage more projects to create better buildings for people and the environment.

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