LEED, Carbon Accounting and the Metrics of Progress

A recent WSP USA project demonstrates how using multiple metrics has been an effective tool in helping companies with their greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction efforts.

In a new article for LEEDuser, Jenny Carney, vice president for sustainability, energy and climate change (SECC), wrote that initiatives and like GRESB, the Better Buildings Challenge, and BIT Building “are starting to nudge green building efforts toward metrics that align more neatly with corporate accounting and reporting; but there’s still much to reconcile when it comes to evaluating sustainability outcomes in organizations with complex facility portfolios.”

WSP recently supported Legrand—a company that provides products that improve the delivery of power, light and data to the spaces where people live and work—through the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification process at its West Hartford, Connecticut facility. Legrand has a multipronged corporate social responsibility (CSR) approach that includes a focus on reducing its carbon footprint across its global operations. LEED efforts were determined to provide a useful lens that pointed them to new opportunities around sustainability.

“The experience also made it clear that sometimes, the ultimate environmental benefit of a company's actions cannot be accounted for with the current metrics and framing of green building performance,” Carney wrote.

Although the study had a limited ability to develop a robust analysis of how much energy consumption has been reduced at the facility, she was confident in several conclusions that were reached:
• The facility has reduced source energy, and the resulting emissions, while increasing facility utilization.
• The percent improvement from the facility’s historical baseline is at least 20 percent, based on source energy.
• Legrand deployed energy efficiency and emission reductions solutions that met their objectives and were validated by programs such as LEED; but the specific solutions and approaches were driven by the firm’s corporate sustainability commitments and business objectives.

The process also uncovered new opportunities for Legrand’s green building, GHG accounting and CSR industries.

Read more about the comprehensive case study and get a glimpse at some of the technical complexity Legrand experienced in evaluating its facility's energy and emissions performance, in her article, “LEED, Carbon Accounting, and the Metrics of Progress.”

Jenny Carney

Jenny Carney

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