USGBC Launches New Classification for Green Buildings: LEED Zero

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Rain garden at the Oregon Convention Center, one of the greenest centers in the United States

Meeting planners who look for venues with top sustainability practices have a new certification to look for, as the U.S. Green Building Council has launched a new classification. The LEED Zero program will delineate net-zero operations and resources in buildings, meaning the structure produces zero net energy emissions.

"Net zero is a powerful target that will move the entire industry forward," said Melissa Baker, senior vice president of technical core at USGBC. "For years, LEED projects around the world have aspired to net-zero milestones. We are recognizing the leadership of these projects -- and formalizing our commitment to focus on carbon and net zero across the entire LEED community. These new certification programs will encourage a holistic approach for buildings and places to contribute to a regenerative future and enhance the health and well-being for not only building occupants, but all of humanity."
 
LEED projects can achieve LEED Zero certification when they demonstrate one or any of the following: net-zero carbon emissions, net-zero energy use, net-zero water use or net-zero waste.
 
"For more than two decades, LEED has provided a framework for high-performance buildings and spaces, and reduced greenhouse-gas emissions through strategies impacting land, energy, transportation, water, waste and materials," added Baker. "Building on that work, LEED Zero is a complement to LEED that verifies the achievement of net zero goals and signals market leadership in green building."
 
LEED certification already recognizes projects that incorporate sophisticated sustainability strategies that benefit water resources, biodiversity, human health and well-being, regenerative material resource cycles, social equity and quality of life. The new program builds on this by recognizing specific achievements in building operations and rewards projects that have used LEED as a framework to address further many important aspects of green buildings.
 
The USGBC said the new program will lead to the next phase of its efforts, called LEED Positive, where buildings will be recognized for generating more energy than they use, and removing more carbon than they produce.
 
Read more about the new program the LEED Zero website.