LEED Projects with Software

If you have ever worked or are considering working on a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design)-certified project, you may know how much data needs to be submitted for certification. Construction teams are finding software can help compile the information necessary for LEED submission.

In order to qualify, team members must submit project information to LEED Online—a portal which stores all LEED data in one location. The trend these days is to find a more efficient way to pull data from simulation and modeling software for submission to LEED Online.

Understanding this need, the USGBC (U.S. Green Building Council), www.usgbc.org, Washington, D.C., which established LEED certification, unveiled the LEED Automation program in 2010, which is designed to speed up the LEED building certification process by creating integrations to LEED Online from third-party technology platforms.

Last week, the NBI (New Buildings Institute), www.newbuildings.org, Vancouver, Wash., a nonprofit organization working to improve the energy performance of commercial buildings, announced the official launch of a new LEED Automation tool.

The COMNET Energy Modeling portal is an online platform that collects energy modeling data, performs quality assurance checks, and submits the results to LEED Online for the energy and atmosphere prerequisite and the energy and atmosphere credit.

While the system filters the results automatically, users can still review the LEED Online template to ensure that it has been filled out appropriately.

The portal exports from eQUEST from Energy Design Resources, www.energydesignresources.com, Trane TRACE 700 from Trane, www.trane.com, Dublin, Ireland, and Energy Pro from EnergySoft, www.energysoft.com, Novato, Calif.

The institute is also working with other modeling software vendors that are currently in the process of adding a COMNET XML output option. For the time being, the new portal is free to use, but payment will begin after October 1.

For AEC (architecture, engineering, and construction) teams, technology such as this will allow architects and contractors to spend more time on design and construction, rather than manually entering data for LEED certification. One design firm even estimates this particular solution can save an entire day’s worth of time from not having to manually fill out forms.

Going forward, technology such as this may become more common on construction projects that seek any type of green certification.