UPS efficiency and LEED certification

LEED certification for a project demonstrates a dedication to sustainability and energy efficiency.


The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) LEED rating system is a voluntary national standard for green buildings. LEED certification for a project demonstrates a dedication to sustainability and energy efficiency. LEED certification requires a certain number of points for each recognized level (see “LEED certification levels”).

It is generally recognized that a majority of the LEED points toward project certification can be obtained through site selection, as well as civil, architectural, and mechanical systems. However, in some situations, the last few points required for project certification can be very expensive. An innovative and LEED-experienced data center electrical contractor can be a very important team member on most LEED projects. The points obtained through innovative data center design and construction practices can help maximize energy efficiency.

The electrical contractor should be an interactive LEED team member. It is beneficial for the entire project to have a data center contractor with LEED engineering knowledge and experience. The data center contractor must apply LEED protocols during construction at the job site.

LEED certification requires innovative design input from all design and construction entities. Through selection of energy-efficient electrical UPS systems, the electrical contractor can help generate several points toward project certification.

Energy and atmosphere credit No. 1: optimized energy performance is USGBC’s most important LEED credit as reflected in the number of available points. Projects earn points based on their Energy Star score, which is derived from their actual energy use during the performance period. Energy-efficient buildings can exceed energy code requirements through efficient mechanical, electrical, and lighting system design. If the building’s energy use is less than the energy code by a minimum of 12% for new buildings or 8% for existing buildings, the project can obtain LEED points (see “Optimized energy performance scoring chart”).

The prerequisite for the minimum energy performance category is to meet the minimum energy efficiency level of either ASHREA/IESNA 90.1 or local energy codes, whichever is more stringent.

Lane is president and CEO of Lane Coburn & Assoc. He is a member of the Consulting-Specifying Engineer editorial advisory board.

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