New energy pathway now available to Canadian projects

Efforts by CaGBC and industry stakeholders shift focus to energy consumption and carbon emissions

Ottawa, ON – December 14, 2020 – The unique needs of the Canadian market were reflected in the latest addenda to the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system. They include an alternative compliance pathway (ACP) that shifts the focus from energy cost to energy usage.

The LEED v4 and LEED v4.1 zEPI Pilot ACP  was accepted by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED’s governing body, before being included in the most recent addenda. It follows over a year of effort by the Canada Green Building Council (CaGBC) its Technical Advisory Group (TAG) and Steering Committee volunteers as well as key stakeholders. 

“The Canadian building sector operates in an evolving market driven by changing climate change policy and regulation,” said Mark Hutchinson, Vice President of Green Building Programs at CaGBC. “The ACP process enables us to identify and research approaches that evolve LEED for the needs of the Canadian market and deliver on more efficient, climate-resilient buildings.”

As an option, LEED projects can now use reductions in energy consumption and GHG emissions to evaluate energy performance by leveraging the Zero Energy Performance Index (zEPI) calculation methodology.

With this new ACP, projects can use any version of the National Energy Code of Canada for Buildings (NECB) or ASHRAE 90.1 cited by the local authority and avoid the need to perform additional energy modelling under a different standard or version.

By shifting focus to energy consumption rather than energy cost, projects can avoid distortions caused by differences in fuel costs. Taken together, energy consumption and GHG metrics will help incentivize efficient, low-carbon designs and align LEED with Canadian market conditions and requirements.

It is anticipated that these addenda, including this ACP, represent the last significant updates to LEED v4.1 BD+C and ID+C before going to ballot, likely in 2021.