LEED v4 Education: Energy and Atmosphere

Published on 30 Mar 2016     Written by Selina Holmes     Posted in LEED

This month, our LEED v4 education series will focus on energy and atmosphere. The American Physical Society has found that if current and emerging cost-effective energy efficiency measures are employed in new and existing buildings—for example, replacing heating, cooling, lighting and other equipment—the growth in energy demand from the building sector could fall from a projected 30 percent increase to zero between now and 2030. The energy section of LEED v4 supports the goal of reduced energy demand through credits related to reducing usage, designing for efficiency and supplementing the energy supply with renewables.

LEED v4 raises the bar on energy by adopting the newest version of ASHRAE 90.1-2010. Energy is being assessed at the grid level in addition to the building level. Also, metering and analysis focus on performance.

Three ways to learn more about LEED v4 and energy

LEED v4 education suites present a range of engagement opportunities in a number of formats to accommodate every learning style and schedule.

Explore courses

The following courses will be available free of charge for on-demand viewing for the entire month of April. Each session takes a credit-by-credit format, presenting technical requirements and strategies that work to achieve them. After watching the course video, don't forget to take the quiz. Once you have passed the quiz, your hours will be reported to GBCI and AIA, and you will have access to a PDF certificate of completion.

Ask the experts

"Ask the Expert" live discussion sessions provide direct access to practitioners and subject matter specialists. These WebEx Q+A sessions feature subject matter experts of whom attendees can ask questions, either during the session or submitted in advance when registering. This month, the live sessions are eligible for CE hours. Please note that only the live sessions are eligible for CE hours—the recordings will be available for reference, but will not have CE hours attached.

Register to join one of our live webinar events:

Legal Wood

Author: Tim Murray

Since LEED began, USGBC has only recognized the FSC forest certification system as compliance with the Certified Wood credit. With the April 2016 Quarterly Addenda, that changed.  

USGBC has now added an Alternative Compliance Path (ACP) to its MR credit 7 Certified Wood that for the first time ever allows the use of forestry certification standards other than FSC. Titled “Legal Wood”, MRpc102 calls for the use of woods that are Legal, from Responsible Sources, and from Certified Sources as defined by ASTM D7612-10, Standard Practice for Categorizing Wood and Wood-Based Products According to Their Fiber Sources. According to the USGBC press release, “This focus of the green building industry on the various wood certification standards has produced measurable progress”. This ACP is also a response to The US Lacey Act, which makes it illegal to traffic in illegally sourced Wildlife, plants and plant products, based on the laws of the source country. One famous case of enforcing the Lacey Act is a case against Gibson Guitars where a supplier used illegally sourced rosewood.

The ACP requires a project team to affirmatively source 100% of the wood used on the project from Legal/non-controversial sources AND verify that at least 70% of the wood is verified as Responsible. If both of these conditions are met, this credit allows a project team to take credit for all wood conforming to the ASTM D7612-10 Certified Sources definition, described in the table below:

Program Name Legal (non-controversial) Complaint? Responsible Sources Complaint? Certified Sources Complaint?
Forest Stewardship Counsil (FSC):
Forest Management (via FSC chain of custody)
Yes Yes Yes
FSC: Controlled Wood certificate Yes No No
Sustainable Forestry Initiative (SFI): Forest Management (via SFI CoC certificate or PEFC CoC certificate) Yes Yes Yes
SFI: Fiber Sourcing certificate Yes Yes No
American Tree Farm System (ATFS): Forest Management (via SFI CoC certificate or PEFC CoC certificate) Yes Yes Yes
Canadian Standards Association (CSA): Forest Management (via SFI CoC certificate or PEFC CoC certificate) Yes Yes Yes
Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification (PEFC): Forest Management (via chain of custody certificate) Yes Yes Yes
PEFC: Due Dilligence System Yes No No

ACP MRpc102: Legal Wood

USGBC Press Release:USGBC

CLIMATE CHANGE: PAST, PRESENT, FUTURE: How it will affect building design & resiliency

Author: Kapil Upadhyaya

On March 23rd, Jud Partin, Phd, gave an exhilarating talk on Climate Change. He presented an overview of his research backed by data from various sources, at the City of Houston's Green Building Resource Center. This was be a joint event between the USGBC Houston Chapter, the Green Building Resource Center & the International Building Performance Simulation Association (IBPSA - Houston). 

Jud Partin, PhD is a Paleoclimatologist and Research Associate of the Institute for Geophysics at UT Austin. Jud seeks to understand how externally-forced and internally-driven changes affect the earth’s climate. He uses paleoclimate archives to help evaluate both current climate trends and climate models, which are used to project future changes. Jud focuses on producing long records of hydroclimate using speleothems, corals, and forams from the tropics as well as quantifying the uncertainty of climate reconstructions and then comparing the paleoclimate data to climate model output.

State of Our Schools Report

The Center for Green Schools, along with the 21st Century School Fund and the National Council on School Facilities released the State of Our Schools: America’s K-12 Facilities report last week.  The report confirms that the current model for school infrastructure funding is broken and that we need to completely reform how we fund K-12 school facilities in the United States.  The report projects a $46 billion annual shortfall in the funding needed to keep our nation’s school buildings healthy, safe and conducive to learning.  Additionally, the report includes an in-depth state-by-state analysis of data on investment in school infrastructure, which suggests that the way school facilities are currently funded is inherently and persistently inequitable.

The report and the corresponding infographic are live on  The site is also home to all 50 state profiles and a district look up app so you can see how current facilities spending in  Texas compares to modern standards.