The USGBC has updated its LEED Demand Response Pilot Credit with guidelines aimed at increasing participation in automated demand response programs. Demand response programs aim to make energy generation and distribution systems more efficient, increase grid reliability, and reduce environmental impacts and greenhouse gas emissions. The credit is available for pilot testing in the following LEED systems: Core & Shell, Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance, Healthcare, New Construction, Retail, and Schools.

LEED projects achieve the Demand Response Pilot Credit by shifting energy consumption during peak events by 10 percent of peak load. With the new changes, these teams may now earn additional LEED certification points when they participate in existing utility-sponsored demand response programs that meet guidelines established in the pilot credit. Projects that implement semi- or fully automated demand response programs can also earn additional points.

“Demand response is unique. To achieve success, this LEED credit requires coordination between the building community, utilities, and wholesale power market operators with qualified programs,” says Mark MacCracken, chairman-elect of the board at USGBC.

Other updates to the credit include:

- Major modifications to requirements and submittals based on Demand Response working group     recommendations.

- Eliminations of on-site generation as an achievement path.

- Addition of manual/semi-automated vs. fully automated demand response options.

- Detailed submittals added based on option modifications.

- Additional guidance on process, including initial assessment, DR training, and financial analysis, added to submittal requirements.

USGBC is finalizing plans to implement a concentrated market test of the Demand Response Pilot Credit.

The LEED pilot credit library was introduced to the market with the roll out of LEED 2009 and allows volunteers to introduce credit ideas for testing. It currently contains more than 40 credits, all of which can be accessed online at Through the library, any LEED project teams can participate in pilot testing. These teams submit evaluation forms and input on a proposed credit’s strengths and weaknesses. Feedback is reviewed by a working group of the LEED steering committee, which then shapes improvements to the pilot credit. Each project that participates in a credit’s pilot and submits feedback received one innovation and design or innovation in operations point.