LEED and HVAC Systems

3d LEED brainstorming papersWhen it comes to energy efficiency, there are many ways to improve the outlook for an existing building. Still, once construction is complete and the ribbon is cut, you do lose some options.

If you’re involved in new construction, however, the sky’s the limit.

New technologies and construction methods have made it possible for commercial structures to achieve levels of efficiency that were unheard of ten years ago. In turn, new standards have been developed to support best practices in applying innovative techniques.

LEED – Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design – Represents the Gold Standard.

What is LEED and Why Does it Matter for Large Commercial Structures?

LEED was developed in 2000 by the U.S. Green Building Council, a nonprofit. Since then, more than 3,000 building projects have been registered or certified according to LEED standards – totaling more than 400 million square feet of the built environment.

To become LEED certified, buildings have to meet a number of strict energy efficiency standards. Although these standards can be tough to accomplish, there are many ways to reach the required targets, and they may amount to millions in savings over a building’s lifetime.

LEED certification can be complicated, but it’s a strategic choice that pays off in the long run.

How Does Your HVAC System Fit Into Your LEED Certification Planning?

Where does the HVAC system come in? Easy – as one of the major energy consumers in your structure, it can make or break you!

Commercial LEED certification uses a point-based rating system with four tiers of certification from “Certified” to “Platinum.” The more your project adheres to LEED, the more points you’ll get, and the more likely you’ll qualify for the highest level of recognition.

Making your HVAC system a focal point of your approach can make things a lot easier.

What Kind of Standards Does LEED Have in Place for Your HVAC System?

LEED standards touch on every aspect of building construction and performance. That said, the standards for HVAC systems are relatively easy to understand.

When planning your HVAC system, you have two options – A and B – which each come with their own cluster of requirements. You can implement either or both but must maintain a certain number of points related to the system.

  • Option A: Calls for installation of a system compliant with the Green Buildings Institute’s Energy Benchmark for High-Performance Buildings. It also specifies zoning and control requirements.
  • Option B: Calls for a demonstration that the HVAC’s system component performance is 15%-30% better than a system minimally compliant with ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1- 2004.

Having expert assistance in your corner makes the difference when implementing LEED standards. Contact Donnelly Mechanical for advice you can trust.

Back to Blog