The U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System has always been technology-driven. Its ongoing updates and development cycle follow the constant evolution of innovative green building technologies.
When the LEED Automation program was launched at the close of 2010, it was clear that we were in new, uncharted territory; at the same time, we were driven to take the LEED program to the next level. Within one year, 15 technology companies have already partnered with the USGBC to deliver a collection of eight cutting-edge applications suitable for LEED project teams, all available through the USGBC’s new App Lab.
The App Lab embodies the mission behind the LEED Automation program, which is to literally open up the backend of LEED Online, the online software LEED project teams use to guide their projects from registration to certification. LEED Automation streamlines the LEED project management, documentation and certification processes. The growing collection of apps features innovations in data collection, information and content integration, and project management. Thanks to technology, various software applications and complex IT systems can now talk to one another seamlessly, with just the push of a button.
Although the App Lab remains in beta, each USGBC technology partner’s solution can be found on the fully searchable site, and is a completely functional software tool designed to help LEED
project teams and administrators accelerate certification tasks and better integrate their workflows with LEED Online. LEED Automation partners are helping clients apply these new tools to manage LEED projects, standardize credit submittals, monitor energy performance, and evaluate and select building products.
behind the scenes
All of the apps currently available in the App Lab have been developed based on LEED user feedback and provide a solution to a particular industry need. SCIwatch, for example, was built by SCIenergy, a global energy management solutions company; the app automatically completes the entire building commissioning cycle for a LEED project on a daily basis, making the LEED certification and reporting process faster and easier for project teams. This time-saving tool connects its cloud-based energy management platform with LEED Online, satisfying LEED requirements and eliminating the need for further documentation.
Another app available, Greengrade LEED Management Software, is an online tool that allows LEED project teams to collaborate, communicate, track and manage the LEED certification process in a centralized location—from planning all the way to submission. This eliminates the need to manage documents and data across multiple platforms and software.
a new pathway for leed
Through the LEED Automation program, USGBC is creating a scalable foundation for an entire ecosystem of interoperable applications to grow; this ecosystem will eventually support every aspect of LEED and building performance optimization. This marks the first time USGBC has opened LEED Online to the software application market and third-party software developers. Prior to automation, application developers had to be in a constant reactive mode in how they approached LEED-enabled functionality, often having to manually administer LEED content changes. Today our automation partners are in a position to co-create without the versioning burden.
Now there is a foundation to deliver LEED faster and at a greater scale, greatly furthering market transformation and convening the technology
industry to give the building industry choices and new capabilities. To explore the growing list of tools available in the USGBC App Lab, visit http://new.usgbc.name/apps.
Dhruv Gami is director of technology for the U.S. Green Building Council. Prior to joining the technology team at USGBC, Gami managed the business consulting unit of Emergys Corporation in Washington, D.C.