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Pushkar, S. LEED-NC-Certified Projects in Germany. Encyclopedia. Available online: https://encyclopedia.pub/entry/48115 (accessed on 21 June 2024).
Pushkar S. LEED-NC-Certified Projects in Germany. Encyclopedia. Available at: https://encyclopedia.pub/entry/48115. Accessed June 21, 2024.
Pushkar, Svetlana. "LEED-NC-Certified Projects in Germany" Encyclopedia, https://encyclopedia.pub/entry/48115 (accessed June 21, 2024).
Pushkar, S. (2023, August 16). LEED-NC-Certified Projects in Germany. In Encyclopedia. https://encyclopedia.pub/entry/48115
Pushkar, Svetlana. "LEED-NC-Certified Projects in Germany." Encyclopedia. Web. 16 August, 2023.
LEED-NC-Certified Projects in Germany
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Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is one of the most well-known environmental rating systems; developed in the United States, it has been widely adopted around the world.

LEED-NC certification strategy life cycle assessment office space projects

1. LEED Certification Strategies in Different Countries

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is one of the most well-known environmental rating systems; developed in the United States, it has been widely adopted around the world. The adoption of LEED in foreign countries is due to the flexibility of this certification system. LEED has five main categories—sustainable sites (SS), water efficiency (WE), energy and atmosphere (EA), materials and resources (MR), and indoor environmental quality (EQ)—and two additional categories—innovation in design (ID) and regional priority (RP). Each category has several prerequisites and credits. Each credit can have a certain number of points. By adding up all these points, LEED projects can achieve one out of four certifications: certified (scores 40–49), silver (scores 50–59), gold (scores 60–79), or platinum (scores 80+).
With such a variety of LEED categories and credits, each country can choose the certification strategy that best reflects its climate, demographics, building technologies, and natural resource availability [1][2]. Thus, it becomes clear that different countries may prefer different LEED certification strategies. For example, in the USA, the highest-priority category was EA, while, in China, the priority categories were SS and WE [3]. A comparison between Northern Europe and Southern Europe showed that Northern Europe outperformed Southern Europe in the EAc1 (optimize energy performance) credit [4]. In Vietnam, SS, WE, and EQ scored highly compared to the other categories [5]. In Turkey, SS and WE were higher priorities than the remaining categories [6]. A comparison of eight U.S. states showed different LEED certification strategies: six states used an EA-high emphasized strategy, while two states used a non-EA-moderate emphasized strategy [7].
Studying LEED-certified projects using inference statistics is a new direction in the science of green construction. In 2017 [8], one of the first studies using inferential statistics aggregated LEED data from six countries: the United States, China, Turkey, Brazil, Chile, and Germany and determined four levels of certification: certified, silver, gold, and platinum. With this research design, the strategies for LEED-certified projects in a single country could not be explored. In a 2018 study [9] on the performance of silver-to-gold cross-certification in LEED projects, the design framework included a comparison of two types of design: (i) four U.S. states were analyzed separately, and (ii) four U.S. states were analyzed as one group. The two different study designs led to different results. The first study design showed the unique properties for each U.S. state. In the second study design, the pooled data showed a result acceptable for only one of the four U.S. states. Therefore, the study of LEED-certified projects in a separate country is an urgent problem. In this context, these studies should use the same study design and the same inference statistics, so that different studies can be compared. These different LEED certification strategies that were revealed for different countries/states can lead to different environmental impacts. However, this problem is understandable, because it is a consequence of the previously noted features of each of the countries.
However, the problem is that, as has recently been shown [10][11][12], different LEED certification strategies in office buildings have been used at the state (California, USA), city (Shanghai, China), and borough (Manhattan, New York City) levels. Therefore, these different LEED certification strategies applied to the same country/state/city result in different life cycle assessments (LCA) of their environmental damage. Therefore, the LCA of LEED-certified projects is a timely issue.
For example, California cities have used two different LEED certification strategies: low location and transportation (LT) and high EA or high LT and low EA [10]. In Shanghai, LEED certification strategies have used either high EA and low EQ achievements or low EA and high EQ achievements [11]. In Manhattan, two different LEED certification strategies have been used: either high EA and low MR achievements or low EA and high MR achievements [12]. In all three cases, different LEED certification strategies led to a different LCA of their environmental damage [10][11][12]. Thus, the use of different LEED certification strategies for office buildings should be explored in other countries.
In this regard, Germany is a country of particular interest, as it has the highest number of LEED New Construction (LEED-NC)-certified office space projects among the other European countries, such as Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom [13].
It should be noted that, in Germany, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Nachhaltiges Bauen (DGNB), developed by the German Sustainable Building Council, is the most representative national green rating system [14]. Similar to LEED, DGNB is based on indicators of different environmental area protections, such as responsible procurement and waste management. Unlike LEED, DGNB focuses more on protecting the economic sphere by introducing life cycle cost indicators and social protection, such as access for all and user security [15].
This country is a signatory to the Paris Agreement on climate change and has set itself the goal of becoming carbon-neutral by 2050 [16]. Germany also signed the Montreal Protocol to decrease its ozone depletion potential (ODP) [17]. The country has a mandatory AgBB scheme that requires the measurement of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) contained in building materials [18]. German citizens have a high level of willingness to invest in renewable energy [19]. Germany’s current fuels for energy production come from about 50% renewable sources, such as wind, photovoltaic (PV), and bioenergy, and about 50% from fossil fuels, such as coal, natural gas, and oil [20]. This country is making substantial efforts toward the development of hydrogen vehicles and is committed to replacing its electricity system with fully renewable energy sources [21].
Therefore, it can be assumed that operational energy (OE) savings for the heating, cooling, and lighting needs of a building; the use of advanced refrigeration equipment to minimize ODP-related emissions such as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs); the replacement of fossil fuels with renewable; and the use of low-emission and fuel-efficient vehicles should be a priority for LEED certification in Germany. However, as mentioned earlier, there are countries where LEED certification has been achieved at the same certification level using different certification strategies [10][11][12].

2. LEED Prerequisites and Credits

Table 1 gives a summary of all prerequisites and credits for LEED-NC v3.
Table 1. The LEED-NC v3: prerequisites and credits.
Abbreviation Prerequisite/Credit Title Points
  Sustainable Sites (SS) category 26
SSp1 Construction activity pollution prevention
SSc1 Site selection 1
SSc2 Development density and community connectivity 5
SSc3 Brownfield redevelopment 1
SSc4.1 Alternative transportation—public transportation access 6
SSc4.2 Alternative transportation—bicycle storage and changing rooms 1
SSc4.3 Alternative transportation—low-emitting and fuel-efficient vehicles 3
SSc4.4 Alternative transportation—parking capacity 2
SSc5.1 Site development—protect or restore habitat 1
SSc5.2 Site development—maximize open space 1
SSc6.1 Stormwater design—quantity control 1
SSc6.2 Stormwater design—quality control 1
SSc7.1 Heat island effect—nonroof 1
SSc7.2 Heat island effect—roof 1
SSc8 Light pollution reduction 1
  Water Efficiency (WE) category 10
WEp1 Water use reduction
WEc1 Water efficient landscaping 4
Wec2 Innovative wastewater technologies 2
WEc3 Water use reduction 4
  Energy and Atmosphere (EA) category 35
EAp1 Fundamental commissioning of building energy systems
EAp2 Minimum energy performance
EAp3 Fundamental refrigerant management
EAc1 Optimize energy performance 19
EAc2 On-site renewable energy 7
EAc3 Enhanced commissioning 2
EAc4 Enhanced refrigerant management 2
EAc5 Measurement and verification 3
EAc6 Green power 2
  Material and Resources (MR) category 14
MRp1 Storage and collection of recyclables
MRc1.1 Building reuse—maintain existing walls, floors, and roof 3
MEc1.2 Building reuse—maintain interior nonstructural elements 1
MRc2 Construction waste management 2
MRc3 Materials reuse 2
MRc4 Recycled content 2
MRc5 Regional materials 2
MRc6 Rapidly renewable materials 1
MRc7 Certified wood 1
  Indoor Environmental Quality (EQ) category 15
EQp1 Minimum indoor air quality performance
EQp2 Environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) control
EQc1 Outdoor air delivery monitoring 1
EQc2 Increased ventilation 1
EQc3.1 Construction IAQ management plan—during construction 1
EQc3.2 Construction IAQ management plan—before occupancy 1
EQc4.1 Low-emitting materials—adhesives and sealants 1
EQc4.2 Low-emitting materials—paints and coatings 1
EQc4.3 Low-emitting materials—flooring systems 1
EQc4.4 Low-emitting materials—composite wood and AgriFiber products 1
EQc5 Indoor chemical and pollutant source control 1
EQc6.1 Controllability of systems—lighting 1
EQc6.2 Controllability of systems—thermal comfort 1
EQc7.1 Thermal comfort—design 1
EQc7.2 Thermal comfort—verification 1
EQc8.1 Daylight and views—daylight 1
EQc8.2 Daylight and views—views 1
  Innovation in Design (ID) category 6
IDc1 Innovation in design 5
IDc2 LEED accredited professional 1
  Regional Priority (RP) category 4
RPc1 Regional priority 4
Total   110

3. LCA Methodology

LCA is a “cradle-to-the-grave” method (the whole life cycle from raw material acquisition to final disposal is taken into account) that focuses on the products, as well as services, to evaluate all (theoretical) environmental impacts [22]. The overall structure of the LCA study is prepared by defining the purpose and scope by selecting a functional unit (FU) and a system boundary. Within the system boundary, inputs (raw materials and energy) and outputs (gases and wastes) are then collected for the FU in the life cycle inventory (LCI) phase. The contribution of the LCI to different environmental impact categories, such as climate change and acidification, is evaluated in the life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) phase. Converting LCI into LCIA becomes possible due to the applied scientific models [22].
A “cradle-to-the-grave” LCA of concrete elements includes (i) the design stage, (ii) the production/execution stage, (iii) the usage stage (operational energy and concrete element maintenance), and (iv) the end-of-life (demolition and recycling) stage [23]. However, depending on the application of the LCA, it is possible to conduct a partial LCA. For example, in order to compare LCAs of building material alternatives, only the production stage needs to be evaluated; to compare the LCAs of fuel sources for operational energy generation, only the usage phase must be assessed; and to compare the LCAs of building materials’ recycling options, only the end-of-life stage needs to be considered.

References

  1. Suzer, O. A comparative review of environmental concern prioritization: LEED vs. other major certification systems. J. Environ. Manag. 2015, 154, 266–283.
  2. Pushkar, S. The Effect of Regional Priority Points on the Performance of LEED 2009 Certified Buildings in Turkey, Spain, and Italy. Sustainability 2018, 10, 3364.
  3. Wu, P.; Song, Y.; Wang, J.; Wang, X.; Zhao, X.; He, Q. Regional Variations of Credits Obtained by LEED 2009 Certified Green Buildings—A Country Level Analysis. Sustainability 2018, 10, 20.
  4. Pushkar, S. A Comparative Analysis of Gold Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for New Construction 2009 Certified Projects in Finland, Sweden, Turkey, and Spain. Appl. Sci. 2018, 8, 1496.
  5. Pham, D.H.; Kim, B.; Lee, J.; Ahn, A.C.; Ahn, Y. A Comprehensive Analysis: Sustainable Trends and Awarded LEED 2009 Credits in Vietnam. Sustainability 2020, 12, 852.
  6. Toğan, V.; Thomollari, X. Credit Success Rates of Certified Green Buildings in Turkey. Tek. Dergi. 2020, 31, 10063–10084.
  7. Pushkar, S.; Verbitsky, O. LEED-NC 2009 Silver to Gold certified projects in the US in 2012–2017: An appropriate statistical analysis. J. Green Build. 2019, 14, 83–107.
  8. Wu, P.; Song, Y.; Shou, W.; Chi, H.; Chong, H.Y.; Sutrisna, M. A comprehensive analysis of the credits obtained by LEED 2009 certified green buildings. Renew. Sustain. Energy Rev. 2017, 68 Pt 1, 370–379.
  9. Pushkar, S. Sacrificial Pseudoreplication in LEED Cross-Certification Strategy Assessment: Sampling Structures. Sustainability 2018, 10, 1353.
  10. Pushkar, S. Life-Cycle Assessment in the LEED-CI v4 Categories of Location and Transportation (LT) and Energy and Atmosphere (EA) in California: A Case Study of Two Strategies for LEED Projects. Sustainability 2022, 14, 10893.
  11. Pushkar, S. Life-Cycle Assessment of LEED-CI v4 Projects in Shanghai, China: A Case Study. Sustainability 2023, 15, 5722.
  12. Pushkar, S. LEED-CI v4 Projects in Terms of Life Cycle Assessment in Manhattan, New York City: A Case Study. Sustainability 2023, 15, 2360.
  13. Gurgun, A.P.; Polat, G.; Damci, A.; Bayhan, H.G. Performance of LEED energy credit requirements in European countries. In Proceedings of the 5th Creative Construction Conference (CCC 2016), Budapest, Hungary, 25–28 June 2016; Elsevier: Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 2016; Volume 164, pp. 432–438.
  14. Sánchez Cordero, A.; Gómez Melgar, S.; Andújar Márquez, J.M. Green Building Rating Systems and the New Framework Level(s): A Critical Review of Sustainability Certification within Europe. Energies 2020, 13, 66.
  15. Møller, R.S.; Rhodes, M.K.; Larsen, T.S. DGNB building certification companion: Sustainability tool for assessment, planning, learning, and engaging (Staple). Int. J. Energy Prod. Mgmt. 2018, 3, 57–68.
  16. Pauliuk, S.; Heeren, N. Material efficiency and its contribution to climate change mitigation in Germany: A deep decarbonization scenario analysis until 2060. J. Ind. Ecol. 2021, 25, 479–493.
  17. Western, L.M.; Redington, A.L.; Manning, A.J.; Trudinger, C.M.; Hu, L.; Henne, S.; Fang, X.; Kuijpers, L.J.M.; Theodoridi, C.; Godwin, D.S.; et al. A renewed rise in global HCFC-141b emissions between 2017–2021. Atmos. Chem. Phys. 2022, 22, 9601–9616.
  18. Scutaru, A.M.; Witterseh, T. Risk Mitigation for Indoor Air Quality using the Example of Construction Products–Efforts Towards a Harmonization of the Health-Related Evaluation in the EU. Int. J. Hyg. Environ. Health 2020, 229, 113588.
  19. Osseweijer, F.J.; van den Hurk, L.B.; Teunissen, E.J.; van Sark, W.G. A comparative review of building integrated photovoltaics ecosystems in selected European countries. Renew. Sustain. Energy Rev. 2018, 90, 1027–1040.
  20. Ritchie, H.; Roser, M. Germany: Energy Country Profile. Our World in Data. 2022. Available online: https://ourworldindata.org/energy/country/germany (accessed on 25 May 2023).
  21. Sadik-Zada, E.R.; Gonzalez, E.D.S.; Gatto, A.; Althaus, T.; Quliyev, F. Pathways to the hydrogen mobility futures in German public transportation: A scenario analysis. Renew. Energy 2023, 205, 384–392.
  22. ISO 14040; Environmental Management Life Cycle Assessment Principles and Framework. International Organization for Standardization: Geneva, Switzerland, 2006.
  23. ISO13315-1; Environmental Management for Concrete and Concrete Structures 2012, Part. 1: General Principles. International Organization for Standardization: Geneva, Switzerland, 2012.
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