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LEED addenda update: April 2017

April 17, 2017
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The April 2017 quarterly LEED rating system and reference guide addenda is now available.

To view the changes:


No new interpretations were published this quarter.

Existing LEED Interpretation 10457: EQ Credit Daylight was updated to include a definition for Automated Dynamic Façade System.


The LEED v4 for Building Design and Construction and LEED v4 for Building Operations and Maintenance reference guides were updated to clarify guidance for group and campus projects.

The LEED v4 for Building Design and Construction and LEED v4 for Interior Design and Construction reference guides were updated to clarify guidance for European projects using Materials and Resources credit Building Product Disclosure and Optimization—Material Ingredients.

To see all corrections, download the reference guide tables.

Pilot credit updates

The following pilot credit was added to the Pilot Credit Library this quarter:

WEpc115—Whole Project Water Use Reduction is an alternative compliance path for LEED v4 for Building Design and Construction projects. It allows you to quantify water use with whole-building water balance modeling, similar to the compliance path for whole-building energy modeling.

Form and calculator updates

Updates to the web-based reference guide

A new interactive module, “Whole Building LCA in Practice: Part 2,” has been added to the LEED v4 BD+C web-based reference guide under MR Credit Building Life-Cycle Impact Reduction, Option 4.

Haven’t seen the new guides? View the sample credits in the LEED credit library.

Courses to watch on Education@USGBC

View this month's selection of three courses to grow your LEED, green building and sustainability knowledge.

Visit the addenda database

LEED certification update: First quarter 2017

April 16, 2017
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In this recurring feature, we take a look at LEED certification activity in the first quarter of 2017, broken out by achievement level, rating system and location. Last year, we revitalized this feature to make it more dynamic and easier to read. Check out our graphic below.

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.

Get energy code training this spring (USGBC New York Upstate)

April 14, 2017
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In New York State, residential buildings three stories or less above grade must comply with the residential code, while any building with four or more stories—including some multifamily buildings—must comply with the commercial code.

These and other regulations are now part of the New York State Energy Code.

Working with the code

The course "Conquering the Energy Code" prepares architects and engineers to comply with the many new requirements in the 2015 New York State Energy Conservation Construction Code and to design more energy-efficient buildings in the process.

In an era of more stringent code enforcement, the course provides critical knowledge about significant changes, new provisions and best practices to avoid objections and stalled projects.

There are two course modules—Commercial and Residential. By the end of each eight-hour class, participants will

  • Understand the structure and rationale behind the energy code and know how to navigate it.
  • Be able to differentiate the various compliance pathways and understand the requirements for compliance.
  • Understand the interdependence of the building envelope, mechanical and lighting systems and their impacts on energy consumption.
  • Know what to expect at progress inspections.
  • Sharpen communications and coordination with clients, the design team, code officials and the construction team to remove barriers to compliance.

Each course is led by a certified instructor with more than five years of professional architecture or engineering experience, a passion for sustainability and in-depth knowledge of high-performance building practices.

CE credits

Continuing education credit is available for attending Conquering the Energy Code. Either session qualifies for 7 AIA Health, Safety and Welfare learning units (HSW/LUs), 7 GBCI CEs for LEED professionals, 7 Professional Development Hours (PDHs) and 7 Code Enforcement Official credits (CEO).

Please note, due to Department of State requirements, CEO credits must be requested at least 30 days prior to the course date. Please email for more information.

Course dates

April 21, 2017
Module: Commercial
Time: 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
Location: Urban Green, 55 Broad Street, 9th Floor, New York, New York 10004

Sign up for the course

April 27, 2017
Module: Residential
Time: 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
Location: Urban Green, 55 Broad Street, 9th Floor, New York, New York 10004

Sign up for the course

April 28, 2017
Module: Commercial
Time: 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
Location: Environmental Education Associates, 346 Austin Street, Buffalo, New York 14207

Sign up for the course

May 24, 2017
Module: Commercial
Time: 9 a.m.–5 p.m.
Instructor: James D’Aloisio
Location: OBG, 333 W. Washington Street, Syracuse, New York 13221

Sign up for the course

Don't see a course that's convenient for you? Please contact Tracie Hall, Director of USGBC New York Upstate, to discuss hosting a training near you.

Sponsor spotlight: IBEW and NECA (USGBC Northern California)

April 14, 2017
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USGBC Northern California has a longstanding partnership with IBEW and NECA. The electrical industry is at the forefront of sustainable building performance and the movement toward zero net energy buildings. In this article, we are featuring some of the sustainability work of one of NECA’s member companies. Save the date for our 2017 GreenerBuilder conference on July 13 at IBEW/NECA’s zero net energy training facility.

Over the past decade, projects within the Pacific Northwest and Northern California regions have increasingly embraced sustainability and net zero energy use (NZE).

Prime Electric is an electrical contractor that executes creativity and innovation through new materials, installation and design methods to increase efficiencies and preserve the environment. With hundreds of millions of dollars in LEED project experience, Prime has worked hand in hand with the top brands, leading the effort in sustainability and providing facilities that preserve and embrace the natural environment to provide optimal functionality for business operations, as well as with construction teams to learn operation methods.

Group Health Puyallup

Located south of Seattle, this project received LEED Gold certification for Health Care. The most critical element of the process was the team’s integrated approach to design. Before LEED was on the table, Group Health and its facility manager, CBRE, planned an intensively integrated process that brought together a wide variety of experts to optimize the design and construction process and to provide efficient service delivery and a healthy indoor environment.

Innovative and LEAN materials were used, including recycled wood harvested from trees on site for finishes and an extensive water reduction system. The building also features a green roof to reduce runoff and provide a natural habitat for local fowl.

Photo courtesy of Group Health Puyallup.

Weyerhaeuser Headquarters

Also located in Seattle, Weyerhaeuser envisioned a new facility in historic Pioneer Square to showcase the rich neighborhood history and incorporate sustainable building elements. Seeking to achieve LEED Platinum status, Weyerhaeuser’s facility boasts renewable wood-covered walls, ceilings and accents to bring natural beauty and warmth into the space, as well as a green rooftop and low-VOC interior finish materials.

They also incorporated extensive daylight through taller ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, and an open floor plan. Operable windows are used for ventilation purposes, and when the building gets too warm, an email will notify building occupants that windows need to be opened. All-new LED lighting was installed, saving the building $9,000 per year in electricity bills and creating a savings offset of roughly 77.5 tons of greenhouse gas emissions per year.


Intuit's new facility in Mountain View, California, was the most recent LEED Platinum project with which Prime was involved, completed in late 2016. In building this new office space, Intuit's goal was to make Mountain View a better place through sustainable efforts. This building is the first of a pair of four-story buildings to incorporate living roofs, solar panels and the ability to produce half of the building's power on site.

Photo courtesty of Intuit.

333 Brannan 

This San Francisco project focused largely on effectiveness, quality and design to achieve a LEED Platinum certification. The building allows ample natural light and 100 percent outside air with building materials to fit into the historical and industrial surroundings.

In addition, 333 Brannon uniquely utilizes eco-district strategies, meaning the building is part of an urban microgrid that shares energy, heating and cooling among neighboring buildings. Photovoltaics on the roof are expected to reduce energy usage by 26 percent, while on-site water capture and reuse reduces portable water demand by 45 percent.

Photo courtesy of 333 Brannan.

Prime maintains an ongoing commitment to improving its LEAN processes by collaborating with IBEW union electricians, as well as with other like-minded trade partners in our construction, customer and local community.

Apply for the 2017 Transformation Awards and attend the reception (USGBC Wisconsin)

April 13, 2017
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For USGBC Wisconsin, the Transformation Awards Reception provides recognition to people and organizations in the state who are transforming our built environment and our community into a healthier, more environmentally friendly and prosperous place to live, work and learn. 

The awards are an important way for USGBC Wisconsin to create awareness of leaders who are doing exceptional work. The nomination categories for these awards are inclusive of all individuals, groups and organizations, including new and existing buildings, landscapes, objects and systems.

Join us for the awards reception on Thurs., June 8, 2017, from 11–1:30 p.m. at the Milwaukee County War Memorial Center. 

Although the 2017 award categories are reimagined, rebranded, and relaunched, we kept the best parts of our prestigious Sustainability and Energy Efficiency (Se2) awards.  

This year's categories include:

  • Innovative Design, New Construction: This is the next evolution of the Se2 award program. This award is for a LEED Building Design and Construction (BD+C)-type project that demonstrates use of new technologies and strategies to push the envelope of green design and meet project challenges in an innovative way.  
  • Building Performance: This is the next evolution of the Se2 award program. This award is for a LEED Operations and Maintenance (O+M)-type project that demonstrates a significant increase in building performance through the implementation of sustainable design solutions. 
  • Most Successful Community Engagement: This award is for a project team that has demonstrated creative and innovative strategies for connecting either with their internal or external community through a building project. 

Leadership Award Application forms are due by 11:45 p.m. CST on Wed., April 26, 2017. Award winners will be recognized during the Transformation Awards Reception on June 8. We hope to see you there!

Get your ticket for the reception 

Voices from the 2017 Green Schools Conference and Expo

April 13, 2017
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Excitement was in the air at the 2017 Green Schools Conference and Expo in Atlanta, Georgia from March 21 to 22. In partnership with Green Schools National Network, for this year's conference USGBC focused on content quality and hands-on learning, adding in a dash of fun. Panel discussions, activities, networking, music and countless conversations showcased the passion our community brings to their everyday work was on full display.

The "fun" at GSCE included a preconference bike tour of green schools in downtown Atlanta, an opening plenary kickoff by the “Sounds of Royalty” high school marching band and yoga in the Expo Hall with an instructor who teaches educators how to bring yoga practices into their classrooms.

On the main stage, we heard from imaginative and insightful speakers: Jose Flores talked about his students’ work to deeply engage with their city and county governments. Dr. Antwi Akom’s thoughtful and challenging keynote address connected the dots on equity and sustainability. Dr. Elizabeth Kiss’s closing keynote shared the role students at Agnes Scott are playing in inventing a sustainable future.

Almost 50 education sessions were packed to the gills with engaged and thoughtful participants, and 13 hands-on workshops addressed how to apply nature journaling in the classroom, how to conduct a waste audit, how to research solar energy regulations and more.

Check out some of our favorite thoughts from the plenary speakers at the conference, and view our SlideShare of photos. Here’s to your daily dose of green schools inspiration!

Voices from GSCE

“Look around. You are the change makers. You are the ones making decisions that impact thousands of students and their experiences in and out of the classroom. Your work to advance environmental and sustainability literacy, to champion healthy learning environments and to reduce school facilities’ impact on the natural world is blazing a trail of progress toward a more prosperous, responsible future.” —Kimberly Lewis, SVP, Community Advancement, USGBC

“What if we build the next generation green schools movement at the intersection of social justice and ecology, of human rights and activism, of inner change and outer change? What if this next generation movement places diversity, equity, and inclusion in the center and commits to protecting our nation’s most viable product? What if we don’t just build hybrid cars—what if we build a hybrid Green Schools movement?” —Dr. Antwi Akom, CEO and Co-founder, Streetwyze

“I don’t have to tell you that the act of educating a child is an act of choosing the future. We educate for what we wish to see in the world. It’s an act of hope. Embracing this hope is what it means to model environmental and social sustainability for our young people—to show them that a sustainable, healthy and bright future is possible.” —Anisa Helming, Director, The Center for Green Schools at USGBC

“Frank Lloyd Wright said, 'The good building is not one that hurts the landscape, but one which makes the landscape more beautiful than before the building was built.' I choose to interpret his words as implying that there should be a sort of dance between the natural world and our man-made one, something beautiful and balanced.” —Neil Isaiah Capangpangan, student, Kennesaw State University

“At the heart of how we approach the challenge of climate change is education…we have to educate the thoughtful, scientifically literate and civic-minded leaders of tomorrow.” —Dr. Elizabeth Kiss, President, Agnes Scott College

“If there were ever a time to dare, to make a difference, to embark on something worth doing, it is now. Not for any grand cause, necessarily—but for something that tugs at your heart, something that’s your aspiration, something that’s your dream.” —Jenny Seydel, Executive Director, Green Schools National Network

As always, please stay in touch. We would love to hear about your experiences at this year’s Green Schools Conference and Expo, and what change it has inspired in your school.

The 2018 Green Schools Conference and Expo will be hosted in Denver, Colorado, in May 2018. Keep an eye on the website for updates!

Sign up for updates about GSCE 2018

From the Help Center: What you need to know about the LEED AP exams

April 13, 2017
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Give your green building career a boost, and make earning a LEED AP credential your next professional goal.

In today’s global job market, LEED APs are recognized as experts with a deep technical background in a specific LEED rating system and sustainable building codes, principles and practices.

With green construction expected to account for more than 3.3 million U.S. jobs by 2018, according to the 2015 Green Building Economic Impact Study, employers are looking for qualified staff fluent in sustainable building—and passing your LEED AP exam does just that.

From the USGBC Help Center to you, here’s a quick briefing on LEED AP exams and a roundup of our top five FAQs.  

Types of LEED AP exams

Five types of LEED AP exams are offered:

  1. LEED AP Building Design and Construction (BD+C)
  2. LEED AP Operations and Maintenance (O+M)
  3. LEED AP Interior Design and Construction (ID+C)
  4. LEED AP Neighborhood Development (ND)
  5. LEED AP Homes

Learn more about which test would be best for your career

Exam format

The LEED AP exam is computer-based and comprises two parts: the LEED Green Associate exam and the LEED AP with specialty exam. Each part contains 100 random, multiple-choice questions, and each part must be completed in two hours. 

Candidates who already have passed the LEED Green Associate exam can register for the specialty-only portion of the exam and don’t need to sit for the entire composite exam.

All LEED professional exams are scored between 125 and 200. A score of 170 or higher is required to pass. 


The LEED AP exam is ideal for professionals who have prior LEED project experience.

For the stand-alone LEED AP with specialty exam, candidates must be at least 18 years old and must have earned the LEED Green Associate credential.

Top five Help Center FAQs 

1. How do I schedule a LEED AP exam?

Once registered, you will be able to schedule your test session at a Prometric testing center near you. Exam sessions are available year-round.

2. If I pass the first part (the LEED Green Associate exam), but not the second (the specialty exam), can I call myself a LEED Green Associate?

No. If you pass only the first part of the LEED AP exam, you are not a LEED Green Associate. This is because you applied to be a LEED AP. With that application, you must pass both parts of the LEED AP exam. 

3. How much does it cost to take the LEED AP exam? 

  • Specialty-only exam (for active LEED Green Associates): $250 for USGBC members, $350 for nonmembers
  • Full exam (LEED Green Associate and LEED AP): $400 for USGBC members, $550 for nonmembers 

4. Can I reschedule a LEED AP exam? 

Yes. To reschedule, cancel or confirm an exam appointment, you’ll need your Prometric-issued, 16-digit confirmation number.

5. What happens to my LEED Green Associate credential after I become a LEED AP with specialty?

If you’re a LEED Green Associate when you earn the LEED AP credential, your LEED Green Associate credential expires and is replaced by the LEED AP with specialty credential.

Explore more LEED AP FAQs

Using LEED for Cities to measure and improve performance [video]

April 13, 2017
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In addition to building certification, LEED includes a certification for cities to measure and improve performance, focusing on outcomes from ongoing sustainability efforts.

As a city leader, you want your city to be among the best—a healthy and safe place where citizens can thrive.

LEED for Cities gives you access to powerful measurement and management technology, which helps cities measure and communicate city sustainability performance across an array of metrics.

Using Arc—our online scoring and benchmarking platform—cities can capture metrics across an expandable array of performance indicators and easily share it in ways that will drive engagement and healthy competition. Cities can start big or small. You can start with a modest number of data streams and metrics, and then expand to meet your city’s goals. Use it to focus on an eco-district, a micro-grid or a single neighborhood. Arc allows you to measure and monitor at any scale.

Visit to learn more about how LEED for Cities is helping cities improve quality of life, improving sustainability performance and verifying and recognizing leadership.

Learn more about Arc

Participate in the Energy Efficiency Global Forum in Washington, D.C.

April 12, 2017
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USGBC is proud to be an endorsing organization for EE Global Forum, the 2017 Energy Efficiency Global Forum, being held May 8–9 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. This event is the leading international energy efficiency event, drawing hundreds of energy efficiency influencers for two days of discussion at its plenary and executive dialogue sessions. It also offers networking aimed at driving actionable plans for the next generation of energy efficiency.

As an invitational event, EE Global selects high-caliber industry professionals, academics and policymakers looking to create partnerships, discuss the latest technology and information and develop best-practice policies and strategies for global implementation of energy efficiency. 

To show your organization’s support for driving energy productivity, you can pledge to sponsor this leading international event, or join the list of endorsing organizations

Purchase your ticket now to join the conversation with the world’s leading energy efficiency visionaries.

Register for the forum

LEED achieves business, health and infrastructure goals

April 12, 2017
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I had the chance to attend and briefly introduce a Wall Street Journal breakfast this morning that USGBC was sponsoring. The event was part of WSJs Business of America Series and focused on infrastructure. It featured Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel; D.J. Gribbin, Special Assistant to the President for Infrastructure Policy; and Gerald F. Seib, Executive Washington Editor, The Wall Street Journal. Many people don’t immediately think of LEED, or green building in general, when they think of infrastructure. But we know that the built environment as a whole makes up and directly impacts much of what we call infrastructure.

LEED has emerged as one of the single most powerful economic development tools for revitalizing and advancing communities. Buildings, homes, schools, warehouses, infrastructure development and even entire cities throughout the country and around the globe are realizing their potential through LEED.

Left to right: D.J. Gribbin, Special Assistant to the President for Infrastructure Policy; Rahm Emanuel, Mayor of Chicago; and Gerald F. Seib, Executive Washington Editor, The Wall Street Journal.

LEED is good for business.

Many in the room were likely wondering why an environmental nonprofit was sponsoring the event and making a business case for green. But as you know, USGBC believes that business and the environment can—and should—go hand in hand.

Over the last two decades, LEED has become a symbol of leadership in business.

When you see the plaque, it tells you that the building it sits on represents all of the good that company has done to reduce the impact of their building on the environment. But make no mistake—that building is also more efficient and costs less to operate than a conventional building. It is saving money, time and resources. The LEED plaque is a visible reminder that profit and environmentalism can converge.

LEED supports infrastructure goals.

One thing that I think we can all agree on is the need for massive infrastructure improvements in roads and bridges, as well as hospitals and schools—all of which make up the built environment. According to the Department of Transportation, the U.S. needs to spend around $150 billion a year simply to maintain our existing infrastructure network.

At USGBC, we have been advocating for a sustainable built environment since 1994. Through LEED, we are not only building better buildings, we’re advancing new innovations and technologies, promoting energy that is clean and efficient and powering green jobs and the green economy.

LEED creates jobs.

In 2015, USGBC came out with an Economic Impact Study, conducted by Booz Allen Hamilton, that showed that by 2018, green construction and LEED will support 3.9 million jobs and provide $268.4 billion in labor earnings.

LEED saves resources.

Green buildings use less energy and water, they use fewer resources, they reduce operating and maintenance costs and they ensure a better indoor environment. This all results in improved human health, a better human experience and reduced turnover and absenteeism. From 2015–2018, it is estimated, LEED-certified buildings will have more than $2.1 billion in combined energy, water, maintenance and waste savings.

LEED is nonpartisan.

Supporting a growing green economy transcends political divides and party labels. Today, local governments and private partners across the country are applying green building practices to optimize their investments and promote resilience.

As a 2017 infrastructure improvement plan is contemplated by our current administration, we hope the federal program will follow the cue of businesses and leaders around the country and prioritize performance and longevity to maximize job creation and help the U.S. use less water and energy, save resources and reduce utility bills.

Green buildings are also an important part of any city’s infrastructure resiliency strategy, as they feature climate adaptation and climate change mitigation strategies like reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Green building is in a unique position. It combines the concerns of people who are both fiscally minded and environmentally conscious, and it fits well into an infrastructure improvement strategy. With nearly 90,000 buildings worldwide using LEED every day, embracing sustainability has yielded big results.

Learn more about LEED


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