Majority of 2015 ZNE Verified Buildings are LEED Projects

Jeremy Sigmon
Of the 39 buildings that NBI has verified to have achieved zero net energy performance, more than half are LEED Gold or Platinum buildings. More needed (LEED On!)

Last week, the New Buildings Institute (NBI) released their second annual list of buildings in the U.S. and Canada with verified zero net energy use (ZNE).  Great news: the list is growing!  (view list)  What’s more, of the 39 verified energy-neutral-verified buildings, 20 of them have certified to LEED’s top levels of green building achievement.  Yes, more than half of today’s top energy-performing buildings go the extra mile to reduce impacts across a full range of human and environmental health metrics!

When the first list was released last January, I was pleased to report that almost half of US energy-neutral buildings also show leadership with LEED.  It’s good news for people and the planet that zero net energy buildings are investing in areas beyond building energy use.  Whether it’s water conservation and quality, healthy indoor air, location and transportation efficiency, habitat conservation, or reducing the urban heat island, we all benefit from buildings that take action on these local, regional and global sustainability challenges.

“It’s good news for people and the planet that zero net energy buildings are investing in areas beyond building energy use.”

And why not leverage buildings as instruments of change and action?  The 2014 report finds that green and net-zero can be achieved at conventional construction costs, so expecting a dramatically lower energy, water and environmental footprint from our buildings is certainly within reach.  After all, we spend 90% of our time in these human-engineered environments.  Let’s expect more from our buildings!  Here’s a thought on how…

All LEED-certified projects carry forward many lasting efficiencies, policies, systems and infrastructure compelled by the LEED certification process.  But an ongoing and careful focus on our building performance after the point of LEED certification is critical to ensure our buildings deliver on their green building goals.  Like NBI’s annual list of zero net energy verified buildings, we know that we must continually measure, calibrate, validate and improve.

Indeed, our buildings are alive… enter the LEED Dynamic Plaque.

The LEED Dynamic Plaque enables building owners and managers to keep close tabs on ongoing performance and measurement. It’s a gap we’ve witnessed in the marketplace, and one that USGBC is committed to filling. Which of the growing list of zero-net energy verified buildings will be the first to use the LEED Dynamic Plaque to also continually measure, monitor and celebrate their ongoing performance excellence in energy, water, waste, transportation and human experience?

Explore these wonderful LEED Gold- and Platinum-certified, zero-net-energy verified projects in an updated collection on the Green Building Information Gateway (GBIG). Use the collection to discover the many complementary sustainability strategies these projects have implemented by clicking on the individual projects and exploring the LEED Dashboard.

Jeremy Sigmon
Director, Technical Policy, U.S. Green Building Council