How can energy storage help commercial, industrial and municipal buildings achieve Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED) certification? There are several ways – let’s go over how energy storage fits into standards set by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).
Storage Goes Where?
“LEED certified” is a phrase often used during ribbon cutting ceremonies for new, expansive, centerpiece buildings. This association leads to many misconceptions surrounding the program. LEED is not for new construction alone. On the program’s website, retrofitting existing infrastructure over demolition and new construction is highly recommended; the “greenest” building is the one already built. LEED’s Building Operations + Maintenance (O+M) standards were assembled with retrofit projects in mind. LEED for Building Design + Construction (BD+C), as its name suggests, focuses on new construction or major remodels. An energy storage installation earns points for certification in both cases.
Show Me the Points
To earn a LEED certification, buildings must meet rigorous standards for sustainable construction and operation. The USGBC’s LEED Green Building Rating System recognizes the value of energy storage, enabling installed systems to earn points in several categories. These add up to 28 point opportunities as detailed below.
Possible Certification Points Energy Storage Can Earn (LEED V4)
Optimize Energy Performance – 18 points possible
Advanced Energy Metering – 1 point possible
Demand Response – 2 points possible
Renewable Energy Production Distributed Generation – 1 point possible
Innovation – 5 points possible
Green Vehicles – 1 point possible (Green Charge offers free EV chargers with many installations of energy storage)
While intelligent energy storage alone will not bring in all 28 points, it can earn points in multiple categories. In many cases, energy storage could be the difference between a basic Certification, Silver, Gold or Platinum rating.
Earning points through energy storage is also cost effective thanks to demand charge reduction; lowering electric bills every month. With a shared savings model, energy storage systems can be installed, operated and maintained at no cost to the owner of the building. With no upfront costs, energy storage is an inexpensive way to earn LEED points.
LEED by Example
The Shore Hotel is a groundbreaker in sustainability among Santa Monica’s luxury hotels and the only newly-built LEED – Gold certified hotel. Santa Monica’s Office of the Environment & Sustainability recently awarded the Shore the SQA Grand Prize, given to businesses that make significant achievements in the categories of sustainable economic development, social responsibility and stewardship of the environment.
The Shore recently unveiled an installation of energy storage coupled with fast DC charging. The storage system was installed to counteract power demands of the fast charger and other equipment used throughout the hotel. With this system in place, the Shore is eligible to earn even more LEED points and achieve a higher ranking within the program.