Research conducted by several researchers from the National Research Council Canada—Institute for Research in Construction, Ottawa, Canada, reveals some interesting information about the energy performance of LEED buildings. The researchers conducted a re-analysis of data supplied by the New Buildings Institute and the U.S. Green Building Council. The energy use data was from 100 LEED certified commercial and institutional buildings. The data was compared to the energy use of the general U.S. commercial building stock. The researchers also examined energy use by LEED certification level, and by energy-related credits achieved in the certification process.
On average, LEED buildings used 18 to 39 percent less energy per floor area than their conventional counterparts. However, 28 to 35 percent of LEED buildings used more energy than their conventional counterparts. Further, the measured energy performance of LEED buildings had little correlation with certification level of the building, or the number of energy credits achieved by the building at design time.
The researchers concluded that, at a societal level, green buildings can contribute substantial energy savings, but further work needs to be done to define green building rating schemes to ensure more consistent success at the individual building level. While the researchers did not focus on hotels in their work, their findings should ring alarm bells for any architect, owner or developer involved in the construction of LEED-ready hotels. Energy savings are not always a given.
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