Arc and the future of LEED
Today more than ever before, the green building movement relies on technology and data, and the future of green buildings is focused on performance. GBCI (Green Building Certification Inc.), the third-party administer of LEED and other green rating systems, recently launched Arc – a new platform that allows any building, community or city to immediately start recording performance data and benchmarking itself against a global dataset of peers.
An article by:
Amanda Sawit, U.S. Green Building Council
Arc represents a new era for green building; the platform takes LEED to the next level through the use of technology, feedback and recognition of excellence.
What is Arc?
Arc is a simple digital platform for all projects to measure performance, make improvements, and benchmark against other projects. It is designed to be applicable to all projects including those that are LEED certified or pursuing LEED and those that are not. Eventually, it will also include other green business rating systems, standards protocols and guidelines.
Projects enter data into the platform and receive a performance score, which translates 12 months of measured data across five categories—energy, water, waste, transportation and human experience—into a score of 1 to 100. All registered and previously certified LEED projects have access to Arc and may use the platform for required performance data reporting.
Transparency through data
Owners and property managers can use this performance score to understand how they compare to other projects or to pursue LEED certification. Those who manage any type of building or tenant space, from data centers and office buildings to hotels and schools, can measure and track incremental progress toward more efficient, healthier and comfortable spaces through a data-centric approach. Any size of community—from business improvement districts and neighborhoods to cities and even regions—can measure and track its progress in a similar fashion.
Technology has enabled companies of all sizes, all over the world, to operate and report in a highly integrated way, spurring greater demand from consumers and the public for companies to disclose their performance information in areas such as water and energy consumption. The newest version of the LEED rating systems, v4, represents a shift in this vein of heightened transparency and integrated thinking, asking project teams to go deeper into ensuring best practices throughout the life cycle of their building and within their supply chain. Companies can use Arc, with its focus on outcomes and its data-visualization capabilities, as a powerful reporting tool to demonstrate delivery on ESG (Environment Social Governance) commitments across a portfolio of assets, showing the impact of their pursuit of LEED.
Flexibility and growth through data
LEED certification has always recognized market leadership. To deliver true transformational change, more people and projects need to be connected to LEED. This is what the performance score in Arc aims to address; traditionally, only those who intended to certify were motivated to seek out green building strategies and connect to the community of rating system users.
Strategies in LEED and other rating systems that improve efficiency, reduce operating costs and promote healthy and comfortable spaces can benefit everyone. With Arc, building owners, operators and community stakeholders don’t have to know exactly what they want to achieve up front. By looking at current performance, teams can identify local needs and resources, pinpoint which strategies will be the most important and applicable to their space type or community, and then determine the most appropriate time to implement. The intent is simple: start where you are and progress as you can, with LEED guiding the way.
Arc + Existing Buildings
Arc also enables the delivery of USGBC’s (U.S. Green Building Council) newest offering: the performance pathway to LEED v4 O+M certification for existing buildings, with optional precertification. This pilot uses the performance score in Arc as an alternative way to demonstrate compliance with many LEED credit requirements in the LEED v4 O+M rating system. The performance score, along with meeting the requirements of prerequisites, determines a building’s LEED certification level. Teams have the option to pursue additional credits in LEED v4 O+M that may boost their certification level.
Arc also offers an opportunity for any project that has received recognition under another green building framework to compare itself to LEED projects. Projects that have been certified under systems such as Green Star, BREEAM, DGNB, 3 Star, Green Mark, GRIHA, IGBC, Energy Star and others can register and enter data to earn a performance score. These projects then have a streamlined pathway to certify to LEED v4 O+M standards, if they so choose. This approach rewards projects for innovating and trying new strategies—their score will reflect the outcomes and high performance standards that every LEED-certified building must achieve.
Arc facilitates connections to people and projects globally. It encourages innovation, enabling informed decisions on building design, operations and maintenance.