Racking up LEED points with CHP
What are LEED points? How do I get them? And what does it mean for my company’s facility to be certified?
In our conservation-conscious world a plethora of programs and initiatives have been developed to lessen our carbon footprint and temper the ravaging of our natural resources.
LEED, or Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, is one such program.
Developed to help businesses increase the efficiency of their buildings, the LEED program also helps free up natural resources and provides a best-practices template that can help save on energy costs.
Included in that template are options for Combined Heat and Power systems like the Aegen ThermoPower 75kW. Combined Heat and Power (CHP), also known as cogeneration, is an efficient, clean, and reliable technology, which simultaneously generates electricity and thermal energy from a single fuel source.
To understand how CHP can move you towards LEEDS certification, it is important to know how the program works.
LEED points are awarded on a 100-point scale (plus a potential 10% bonus), and credits are weighted to reflect their potential environmental impacts. For New Construction and Major Renovation projects, there are four tiers of LEED Certification, each with specific LEED Point Requirements.
Those tiers are as follows: Certified (40-49), Silver (50-59), Gold (60-79), and Platinum (80-110).
For LEED purposes, the CHP system earns credits in the “Energy & Atmosphere” category, specifically EA Credit 2, the “On-Site Renewable Energy” credit. This credit can provide up to 7 possible LEED points (which could represent over 17% of the points required for certification). The actual LEED points awarded are determined by the percentage of the facility’s energy costs that are offset by on-site renewable energy.
As an example, Aegis worked with Saybrook Point Inn and Spa in early 2012 to develop a CHP solution to the establishment’s energy needs. Saybrook Point Inn and Spa is an AAA 4-Diamond resort in Old Saybrook, Connecticut that was an early adapter in the “green lodging” community. Old Saybrook has realized over $110,000 in annual energy savings from its CHP system. That initiative, along with other program-eligible initiatives such as eco-smart thermostats, solar panels, electric vehicle charging stations, and natural conversion of salt for swimming pool chlorination have helped Old Saybrook in its efforts to achieve Silver LEED certification.
Combined Heat and Power systems are applicable for a variety of facilities, from healthcare and assisted living facilities, to recreational and multi-residential complexes, and hotels. There are also institutional, educational, and industrial facility applications.
LEED is particularly focused on retro-fitting older buildings as it can take up to 80 years to make up for the environmental impacts of demolishing an old building and the subsequent new construction.
For that reason, it is important not to dismiss the idea of energy conservation for your building solely on age or its current status on the efficiency meter. LEED for Building Operations and Maintenance provides a template for turning these older schools, hospitals, and residential facilities into models of efficiency.
There are many benefits to LEED certification beyond the newly created energy and cost savings. Your company can be recognized as leader in the community and in its industry for a commitment to environmental issues. LEED buildings have faster lease-up rates and may qualify for a host of incentives like tax rebates and zoning allowances. LEED buildings also historically retain higher property values.
For more information on how CHP can bring your building closer to LEED certification, contact an Aegis Energy, EDF Group representative today.