Compared to other categories, the Energy and Atmosphere category contributes the most to the maximum obtainable points in the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification system. The objective of the study was to identify the extent to which project teams take advantage of the credits in the Energy and Atmosphere category of LEED. This study analyzes the performance of practitioners in achieving points in the Energy and Atmosphere credits of LEED-New Construction (NC) 2009 for 1500 buildings that received LEED certification in the US. For a better understanding of the credit patterns, the differences in the performance of practitioners are investigated relative to certification levels and project ownership. Achievement in credits is calculated in terms of percent of maximum points (PMP), since the maximum achievable points differ for each credit. Practitioners’ achievements in the credits were ranked as follows: (1) enhanced commissioning, (2) optimized energy performance, (3) enhanced refrigerant management, (4) green power, (5) measurement and verification, and (6) on-site renewable energy. The largest achievement differences were observed in the on-site renewable energy credit. Concerning building ownership, investors were found to optimize mostly energy efficiency and on-site renewable energy, but to mostly skip enhanced refrigerant management. Performance in the measurement and verification credit was similar for all owner types, whereas investors performed differently from corporations, and government agencies in the enhanced commissioning credit. Practitioners who recognize these priorities and differences are expected to be better positioned to make sustainability-related decisions in building design and construction.
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