Energy Jumpstart: A New Pathway to LEED-EB

Energy jumpstart provided a route to LEED certification for EPB, an electric and broadband communications utility headquartered in Chattanooga, TN that has demanding operational needs.

Project Seeing Success
One notable project that has implemented Energy Jumpstart is the EPB headquarters building in downtown Chattanooga, TN. EPB, a publically owned electric and broadband communications utility, opened the facility in 2006 and achieved certification under EBOM in June 2013.

What Are Pilot Credits?

Pilot credits are a tool for the development and evolution of the LEED green building rating system.

How are they used?
They act as a feedback loop for testing proposed credits, as well as a mechanism for collecting comments, which are central to the development of LEED.

How are pilot credits created?
After a process of collecting, organizing, and integrating project team feedback to evolve and refine pilot credits, successful credits can be added to new versions of LEED that are approved by USGBC member balloting. USGBC members can also submit proposals for new pilot credits, which are evaluated for possible inclusion in the LEED Pilot Credit Library.

How can I get started?
Projects wishing to pursue any particular pilot credits must register with USGBC. To learn more or see other available pilot credits, visit
According to Elizabeth Crenshaw Hammitt, EPB environmental coordinator and LEED Accredited Professional, the utility learned about Energy Jumpstart in 2011 at the Greenbuild conference and decided to pursue the pilot credit because, though it had worked for several years to improve its energy performance, it would not have been able to meet EAp2 otherwise.

“The EPB Downtown Building was designed for growth, has 24-hour operations in some places, and parts of the building are open to the public during both business and after hours,” Crenshaw Hammitt explains. “These factors make it difficult to measure the impact of our energy usage using only Portfolio Manager.”

To achieve the required 20% increase in efficiency, the company programmed most computers to automatically power down after 30 minutes of inactivity, optimized its air handling units’ performance, and installed lighting controls throughout the building.

Prior to its performance period, the company had also focused on occupant engagement for several years by starting a voluntary Green Team, through which technologies like plug load efficiency devices were tested before being fully rolled out to all employees.

“Educating the occupants about our efforts and asking them to be more conscious of their usage added to the success of the program, but prioritizing building system upgrades was an effective strategy for us,” Crenshaw Hammitt says.

Russell Unger, executive director of the Urban Green Council in New York City, considers Energy Jumpstart a particularly exciting opportunity for buildings willing to make a significant effort to get involved in LEED.

“Imagine two buildings of the same size and usage profiles. One has an ENERGY STAR score of 15, which improves to 55. The other starts at 80 and ends at 95,” Unger says. “The second building is exceptionally efficient. But the planet is far better off because of what the first building did, even if it ends up barely above average.”

For EPB, the benefits of involvement within LEED, beyond the company’s improvement in its energy efficiency, are myriad.

“We have realized a total project ROI of less than one year while making a substantial and diverse environmental impact and moving toward a culture of sustainability,” says Crenshaw Hammitt. “There are likely countless projects like ours that need flexibility to implement the dramatic changes that the LEED-EBOM system facilitates so well.”


Brendan Owens is the vice president for LEED Technical Development at the USGBC.

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