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On average, LEED-certified buildings use 18—39% less energy than comparable conventionally-built structures, although some one-third actually use more energy.

These are some of the preliminary findings of a study of post-occupancy performance of LEED buildings conducted recently by the National Research Council of Canada's Institute for Research in Construction.

Data on measured energy use from 100 LEED-certified commercial and institutional buildings was provided for the study by the New Buildings Institute and the US Green Buildings Council.

Researchers also examined energy use by LEED certification level (certified, silver, gold and platinum) and by the energy-related credits each building earned in the certification process.

In addition to gauging the average energy performance of LEED buildings overall, key findings included:
  • Between 28% and 35% of LEED buildings studied used more energy than their conventional counterparts.
  • The measured energy performance of LEED buildings had little correlation with the certification level of the building or with the number of energy credits achieved by the building at design time.

The researchers reached two preliminary conclusions:
  • That "at a societal level green buildings can contribute substantial energy savings."
  • "Further work needs to be done to define green building rating schemes to ensure more consistent success at the individual building level," the report states.

Download the complete 21-page report here.