Energies | VOL. 14

Energy and Greenhouse Gas Savings for LEED-Certified U.S. Office Buildings

Publication Date Feb 1, 2021


In this work, we present results from the largest study of measured, whole-building energy performance for commercial LEED-certified buildings, using 2016 energy use data that were obtained for 4417 commercial office buildings (114 million m2) from municipal energy benchmarking disclosures for 10 major U.S. cities. The properties included 551 buildings (31 million m2) that we identified as LEED-certified. Annual energy use and greenhouse gas (GHG) emission were compared between LEED and non-LEED offices on a city-by-city basis and in aggregate. In aggregate, LEED offices demonstrated 11% site energy savings but only 7% savings in source energy and GHG emission. LEED offices saved 26% in non-electric energy but demonstrated no significant savings in electric energy. LEED savings in GHG and source energy increased to 10% when compared with newer, non-LEED offices. We also compared the measured energy savings for individual buildings with their projected savings, as determined by LEED points awarded for energy optimization. This analysis uncovered minimal correlation, i.e., an R2 < 1% for New Construction (NC) and Core and Shell (CS), and 8% for Existing Euildings (EB). The total measured site energy savings for LEED-NC and LEED-CS was 11% lower than projected while the total measured source energy savings for LEED-EB was 81% lower than projected. Only LEED offices certified at the gold level demonstrated statistically significant savings in source energy and greenhouse gas emissions as compared with non-LEED offices.

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Greenhouse Gas Emission
Energy Savings
Site Energy Savings
Source Energy
Annual Energy Use
Non-electric Energy
Greenhouse Gas
Savings In Greenhouse Gas Emissions
New Construction
Energy Use

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