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USGBC and CSTC Collaborate to Promote LEED Data Center Certifications in China

October 18, 2017
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LEED-certified green data centers use less energy and fewer resources

Oct. 18, 2017—(Shanghai, China)—Today, during the first Greenbuild China conference being held in Shanghai, USGBC and China Software Testing Center (CSTC) signed an MOU to collaborate on promoting sustainable, energy-efficient LEED data centers in China.

“Energy efficiency in our data centers is an incredibly critical issue because of the estimated continued rapid growth of direct energy use in data centers and the resulting impact on both the power grid and industries across China and the world,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, President and CEO, USGBC and GBCI. “LEED-certified data centers provide all the benefits of green building, including reduced energy use, reduced impact of the building on the environment, resource conservation and a better indoor environmental quality.”

“CSTC has been actively following the national green development strategy,” said Fawang Liu, Executive Vice Director of CSTC. “We have published data center energy evaluation guidelines and other white papers. LEED is highly recognized and authoritative in the global data center industry. CSTC will work closely with USGBC to organize Chinese industry experts to set up a LEED Advisory Committee for data centers, to discuss the adaptability and feedback of LEED standards in China. At the same time, CSTC will also leverage our own resources and work with industry colleagues to promote the development of green data centers and contribute to energy conservation.”

“China is the ideal market for this collaboration on data centers, and CSTC is the perfect partner,” added Ramanujam.

The Chinese data center market is currently growing, with research analyst firm Technavio predicting a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 13 percent over the next four years because of an increased reliance by multinational and domestic enterprises on cloud storage and other colocation solutions.

China is currently the largest market for LEED green building outside the U.S., and it continues to be a main player in the global green building movement, with more than 1,000 LEED-certified projects in the country. The Chinese government has also deemed sustainable growth as a high priority.

LEED is a globally recognized symbol of excellence in green building. LEED certification ensures electricity cost savings, lower carbon emissions and a healthier environment.

LEED in Motion: China report released

October 17, 2017
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Today, China has assumed a tremendous leadership position in stemming the tide of climate change and protecting its citizens and precious natural resources. As mandated in President Xi’s 13th Five Year Plan, an important part of this role involves improving the efficiency and sustainability of its infrastructure. Please know that all of us who care about the future applaud those efforts. They will greatly benefit each and every one of us who call this planet home.

In support of those efforts, I’d like to call your attention to a new report, LEED in Motion: China. It’s about LEED and the many leaders across China who are working to build a sustainable country and planet. The report is in English, with a version in Chinese to be available soon.

LEED in Motion: China includes

  • Profiles of the many remarkable leaders in China who are doing the right thing for people and the planet.
  • Project profiles that showcase China’s sustainable marvels.
  • An overview of LEED’s evolution over two decades.
  • Insight as to how LEED contributes to China’s 13th Five Year Plan and how it is being used for city- and community-scale projects, mass transit systems, industrial facilities, health care facilities, residences and more.
  • Perspective on how LEED is being adapted for global, regional and local applications.
  • Ideas as to how LEED is being applied to benefit human health.
  • An introduction to a new online platform, Arc, that can be used to monitor and track building efficiency.
  • An overview of LEED’s professional credential program, which shares expertise in green building.

I hope you enjoy the report. If you would like to be featured in an upcoming version, please contact us.

LEED on!

Explore LEED in Motion: China

LEED v4 stories: NOI Techpark Suedtirol

October 9, 2017
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The LEED v4 stories article series features the people the behind diverse LEED v4 projects. Project team members and project owners tell of their experiences—both the wins and the challenges.

For more perspectives on LEED v4 Neighborhood Development, check out our interviews with team members from Brooklyn Basin and Kashiwa-no-ha Smart City. To dive deeper into LEED v4 Neighborhood Development, take a look at “Getting to know LEED: Neighborhood Development.”

NOI Techpark Suedtirol achieved LEED Gold under LEED ND: Plan in February 2017. Originally home to an aluminum factory in Northern Italy, this site is being transformed into a hub for innovative sustainable technologies through a partnership between the City of Bozen, Business Location Südtirol (BLS), and private developers.

NOI Techpark Suedtirol

The project has been designed to revive the surrounding area through a combination of private and public amenities, including four large parks. ​To ensure the project’s high design standards are implemented, strict guidelines are provided to developers for the design and construction of all new buildings.​

I spoke to Alexander Alber, engineer at BLS, about their project and their experience implementing LEED ND.

What drew you to pursue LEED for Neighborhood Development for the project?

NOI Techpark is a regional development project with a long-term perspective. Over 1 million cubic meters of construction volume are going to be developed for public and private businesses. The goal: a new and innovative, thus sustainable, district that responds to excellent quality standards. From a single building, up to a large scale area. To achieve this objective, it was necessary to define and find a standard that emphasizes holistic and well-established practices that benefit all parties involved. LEED perfectly responds to that demand.

NOI Techpark Suedtirol

Another positive effect, needless to say, is the international reputation LEED has gained. Using the LEED standard has helped NOI Techpark create the foundations for authentic communication and marketing. It is one of the largest infrastructure projects of the region of Trentino-Alto Adige, Italy. Considering that NOI Techpark aims to attract young talent and create an innovative working environment, LEED is a tool to foster innovation and the competitive landscape of the region.

Having these two aspects in mind, the planning team decided to apply for LEED ND: Plan certification, which would not only help promote the project internationally, but also identify the project’s main characteristics regarding sustainable development. Our Gold-level certification represents a huge step forward, and we hope it can foster the development of more sustainable projects within the region.

What is the coolest credit in LEED ND?

The credits on Access to Quality Transit and Bicycle Facilities, within the Smart Location and Linkage section. The topic of green mobility has been under special attention worldwide in recent years. We know that climate change is real, and reducing emissions is an important step to tackle it. The LEED credits regarding access to public transit and connection to cycling infrastructure are important tools to foster the implementation of sustainable initiatives in the mobility sector of new planned areas.

NOI Techpark is happy to surround itself with more than 20 bus stops, a train station within a 400-meter reach, and a well-established bike lane network that connects our location with the city center in approximately 15 minutes. Combined, these strategies made a significant contribution to our total points.

NOI Techpark Suedtirol

Was there a cost difference between this and other projects you’ve done?

NOI Techpark is the first project of this type carried out by BLS. Since the project was based on sustainability claims right from the beginning, acquiring LEED ND certification did not interfere much with the project´s budget composition.

What were the biggest lessons learned in pursuing LEED v4?

One of the most important lessons learned in this process is that considering and implementing sustainability guidelines during the project planning phase can be done easily without increasing the project´s costs, but massively improving the overall project quality on a long-term scale.

How are you preparing for LEED ND: Built certification?

Currently we are focusing on the implementation of our sustainability objectives, which were defined in the planning phase. In this context, it is necessary to find the right detailed solutions in the now given framework. NOI Techpark will grow in multiple expansion stages. Once the appropriate development grade is obtained, we will apply for certification as a Built Project.

Learn more about LEED ND pathways to certification

LEED addenda update: October 2017

October 6, 2017
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The October 2017 quarterly LEED rating system and reference guide addenda is now available.

To view the changes:


Three new interpretations were published (LI 10466–10468).

  • LEED interpretation 10466 provides clarifications for the applicability of structural engineered wood products in the LEED v4 IEQ Low-emitting Materials credit.
  • LEED interpretation 10467 provides guidance on what qualifies as a surface that is “designed to be illuminated.”
  • LEED interpretation 10468 provides guidance for net zero or off-grid projects attempting to achieve points under the LEED v4 EA credit Demand Response.


  • The LEED v4 for Homes Design and Construction Rating System was updated to remove language regarding “qualified energy raters” and “verification team.”
  • The LEED v4 for Homes Design and Construction reference guide was updated to include guidance regarding the Extended Producer Responsibility.
  • The LEED v4 for Neighborhood Development Reference guide was updated to replace guidance on ISO/IEC Guide 65 or 17065 requirements for non-LEED rating systems.

To see all corrections, download the reference guide tables.

Calculator updates

Take the LEED AP exam from your own location

October 4, 2017
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Achieving your LEED AP credential demonstrates your expertise in green building to the world, and the GBCI-administered exams to qualify for the credential are delivered at Prometric testing centers in 160 countries.

Now, however, for regions where traveling to a testing center presents a challenge, or for large groups wishes to schedule their exams together, GBCI offers a still more convenient option: the Alternative Exam Delivery (AED) program.

AED events allow candidates to sit for any GBCI credentialing exam alongside their peers in the familiar surroundings of their classroom, conference room or computer lab. GBCI partners with Prometric and the hosting facility to make sure the candidate testing experience is identical to that of a traditional Prometric testing center.

This is a good option for employers and educators who prefer to test as a group without requiring that participants travel. For groups who prefer the traditional test center experience, GBCI also offers the option to reserve seats at a preferred Prometric testing center so your group can test at the same place and time.

To get started, take a look at the AED guidelines and fill out the application form. GBCI will work with your organization to schedule an AED event that fits your schedule and location.

LEED Link: How does Arc fit in with LEED?

October 3, 2017
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LEED has been the leading green building rating system worldwide for a long time. Last December, USGBC introduced a new, complementary tool: Arc, a state-of-the-art digital platform for measuring and tracking building performance.

Arc allows buildings and spaces to compare performance metrics across the globe and connect them to green building strategies. LEED-certified buildings can use Arc to improve and benchmark with their peers, as well as verify LEED performance on an annual basis to keep their certification up to date.

Projects that are not yet certified can also use Arc to make sustainability improvements over time, to eventually achieve LEED certification.

Learn more about Arc

Watch our video introducing Arc:

LEED certification update: Third quarter 2017

October 2, 2017
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Earlier this year, we revitalized this recurring feature to make it more dynamic and easier to read. Now, you can check in quarterly on LEED certification activity, broken out by achievement level, rating system and location. We will remind you of this feature and the new numbers in the first week of every quarter through a USGBC article.

Additionally, be sure to check out the suite of market briefs for your state and country, as well as our state-by-state LEED for Homes rating system brief. For project-specific information, head to the LEED project directory for a closer look at LEED projects in your area.


Track, perform and excel with LEED

September 26, 2017
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At USGBC, we often talk about the fact that you can’t manage what you can’t measure. There are many factors that can impact the performance of a building, and knowing your energy and water usage is the first step in spotting and addressing any issues as soon as they crop up. This is also why GBCI requires LEED projects to provide energy and water data on an ongoing basis.

Meet energy and water data sharing requirements

  • All LEED 2009 projects are required to share whole building energy and water data, as stated in Minimum Program Requirement 6: Must commit to sharing whole-building energy and water usage data.
  • In LEED v4, the MPR was shifted to a set of prerequisites: EA prerequisite Building-Level Energy Metering and WE prerequisite Building-Level Water Metering.

All projects that are up to date in sharing data will receive recognition in the LEED project directory.

Historically, performance tracing tools have been limited by location or local standards. GBCI has understood these various barriers to reporting and the associated costs, and has been mindful of implementing this requirement. With the introduction of Arc, the new performance platform from GBCI that allows you to collect and measure data, GBCI is providing LEED projects with a mechanism to report performance data, regardless of where they are in the world, that has been fully tested across a number of projects and project types. All LEED projects have access to Arc.

LEED is holistic system, though, so why stop at energy and water? We encourage project teams to share data on other categories—transportation, human experience and waste metrics—as it will help them validate and track how they are performing against their LEED certification. No other platform available today does this.

Tracking data across these categories generates a score for the project and enables you to understand how your building performs compared to similar buildings in your local area and across the globe.

Evaluate performance

You’ve done all of the hard work of implementing green building best practices, whether in design, construction or operations, and now is the time to see how your work has paid off.

If you have any questions regarding data-sharing requirements specific to your project, please contact us. See what Arc can do for your project, and if you haven’t already, link it to your projects in LEED Online.

Explore Arc

How to precertify your LEED 2009 BD+C project

September 26, 2017
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In December 2016, GBCI announced that LEED precertification would be available to all LEED v4 Building Design and Construction (BD+C) and Operations and Maintenance (O+M) projects pursuing the performance path to certification. The same LEED precertification is now available to all LEED 2009 BD+C projects as well.

Precertification is granted to projects after successfully completion of a GBCI review of early design stage documentation. This documentation, which reflects a studied and realistic set of project goals and intentions, forms the basis for an award of precertification at the project’s anticipated LEED certification level. It helps owners to ensure that their projects are on the right path to achieve certification, to demonstrate their commitment to LEED certification and to market the unique and valuable green features of the proposed project to future tenants and financiers.

Steps to precertification for LEED 2009 BD+C projects

(For details on precertification for LEED v4 projects, read our initial announcement.)

  1. Let us know that you will be pursuing precertification by choosing the precertification review option in your certification timeline.
  2. Map out your pathway to LEED certification by downloading and completing the precertification worksheet for LEED 2009. The precertification worksheet allows you to decide your compliance path for each required prerequisite and each credit that you will be pursuing. In the worksheet, you’ll also describe your strategy for meeting the requirements of that credit and the pathway that you’ve chosen. You will also complete your preliminary scorecard in LEED Online to demonstrate which and how many points you will be pursuing.
  3. Submit your project for review to GBCI. GBCI will review your intended compliance path for each prerequisite and credit, along with your strategy for meeting the requirements, and will provide you with formal feedback. Similar to the review for full certification, you’ll have two rounds of review.

Once the compliance pathway and strategy for all prerequisites and pursued credits (must be enough to achieve certification) has been approved by GBCI, the project will achieve LEED precertification.

Review the precertification section in the Guide to LEED Certification

Affordable green neighborhoods for all

September 22, 2017
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This spring, USGBC wrapped up the fourth and final round of the Affordable Green Neighborhoods (AGN) grant program, supported by generous funding from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation. This offers an opportunity to look back at the 36 projects awarded an AGN grant since the program’s launch in 2010.

Making homes affordable and sustainable

Eleven have achieved certification since the inception of the program, representing over 400 acres, 7,800 dwelling units and 11.3 million gross square feet of new construction or major renovations that meet the global standard for sustainable neighborhood planning, design and construction. One more project is currently under review, several are anticipated to submit within the next few months and the remainder are all in some phase of the planning, design and development process.

The program was conceived in 2010 with the Bank of American Charitable Foundation as a way to support the growing interest in applying LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED ND) to the redevelopment of affordable housing. As a large number of older, well-located affordable housing developments reach the end of their expected lives and are in need of reinvestment, LEED ND has proven to be a useful tool in helping to shape the inclusion of best practices in sustainable urbanism.

Providing education and support

The rating system incorporates all the best practices espoused by modern practitioners and policy experts in affordable housing construction, including a focus on mixed-use, mixed-income development with access to transit, walkable designs and efficient construction that saves money and improves occupant health and well-being. LEED ND is so well aligned with HUD’s priorities that their Choice Neighborhoods Initiative awards preference points in the application process for projects that have achieved LEED ND certification.

USGBC found that many developers of affordable housing were lacking the experience with LEED and the funding to support their pursuit of certification. The AGN grant program supported these projects both financially and with capacity-building educational and staff support to help developers incorporate sustainability into their redevelopment projects and achieve LEED ND s quickly and easily as possible. After all, no one needs improved access to transportation options, healthy living conditions and lower utility bills more than the residents of affordable housing.

A list of all AGN grantees is included below.


  • 9th and Berks TOD (Paseo Verde) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
    LEED ND (Stage 2 Platinum)
  • Church Lane Gardens in East St. Louis, Illinois
  • Jordan Downs in Los Angeles, California
    LEED ND (Stage 2 Silver)
  • Lamar Station TOD in Lakewood, Colorado
    LEED ND (Stage 2 Silver)
  • Old Colony Redevelopment in South Boston, Massachusetts
    LEED ND (Stage 2 Gold)
  • Sunnydale Hope SF in San Francisco, California
    LEED ND (Stage 1 Gold)
  • The Village at Market Creek in San Diego, California
    LEED ND (Stage 1 Silver)
  • Veterans Place at The Lancaster Corridor in Dallas, Texas
  • Wyandanch Rising in Wyandanch, New York

Paseo Verde

Paseo Verde in Philadelphia.


  • Brightwalk at Historic Double Oaks in Charlotte, North Carolina
    LEED ND (Stage 2 Certified)
  • East Market Street District in Louisville, Kentucky
  • Mariposa Redevelopment in Denver, Colorado
    LEED ND (Stage 2 Gold)
  • Mapleton Fall Creek 20/21 Project in Indianapolis, Indiana
    LEED ND (Stage 1 Silver)
  • Paradise Creek Affordable Housing in National City, California
  • Renaissance in Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Westlawn Gardens in Milwaukee, Wisconsin
    LEED ND (Stage 3 Silver)

Westlawn Gardens

Westlawn Gardens in Milwaukee.


  • Bartlett Place in Roxbury, Massachusetts
  • Butler Street Y Lofts in Atlanta, Georgia
  • Essex Crossing in New York, New York
  • Faubourg Lafitte in New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Northwest Gardens in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
  • Rebuild Potrero in San Francisco, California
    LEED ND (Stage 1 Gold)
  • Sheppard Square HOPE VI Revitalization in Louisville, Kentucky
  • TNT Eco-Innovation District in Dorchester, Massachusetts
  • Villages at Cabrillo in Long Beach, California
  • Westview Village in Ventura, California


  • Beecher Terrace in Louisville, Kentucky
  • Edison-Eastlake Choice Neighborhood in Phoenix, Arizona
  • Indigo Block in Dorchester, Massachusetts
  • Lathrop Homes in Chicago, Illinois
  • Sun Valley EcoDistrict in Denver, Colorado

Learn more about LEED for Neighborhood Development


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