Use Performance-Based Transportation Credits in LEED
Back in August 1999, I participated in a U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) charrette to craft the LEED 2.0 Rating System from the original LEED 1.0 pilot. The small workgroup focused on site and ecosystem issues, in which I participated, sought to remove any bias that encouraged building on previously undeveloped sites. We ended up with five credits that provide points for development density, access to public transit, bicycle storage and changing rooms, infrastructure for low-emitting vehicles, and limitations in parking capacity. While some have poked fun at credits for bicycle racks and vehicle charging stations, these five credits have brought the important issues of location and transportation to design teams. Our research on “transportation energy intensity” (see ) has helped me appreciate just how important site selection and transportation are. We found that an average commercial office building in the U.S. built to ASHRAE 90.1-2004 energy standards is responsible for more than twice as much energy in getting workers to and from work as the building itself uses in its operation. If the average commute distance is greater than the national average (12 miles one-way) the transportation fraction of a building’s energy use may be even greater. As covered in the accompanying feature article, a wide range of strategies—most having to do with land-use planning—can significantly reduce this transportation energy intensity of a building. ...