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LEED modeling and purchased chilled water / steam

asked 2014-11-13 09:33:42 -0600

JO gravatar image

updated 2015-07-11 14:58:18 -0600

Hey everyone,

I've submitted several campus models in the past, but this one has me questioning myself. For past projects I have referenced the "Treatment of District or Campus Thermal Energy in LEED" guide to model campus chilled water and steam systems.

This project is a little different. This time we are not pulling CHW and steam from a central plant owned by the building owner. Our client will be literally buying chilled water and steam (metered) from a utility. The utility has rate structures for CHW/steam just like you would for natural gas or electricity. The above guide doesn't seem to reference this type of situation.

  • Is the guide still applicable to this situation?
  • Have any of you ran into this situation in the past, how did you handle it? What comments did LEED review have for you?

Thanks for your help!

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answered 2014-11-13 13:27:10 -0600


We model a lot of district heating in this way for our German projects. They are connected up to the local utility and so it is very difficult to model the DH in the way that LEED wants. Luckily for us, in the last few years LEED released a guide called "Treatment of Scandinavian District Energy Systems in LEED" (type it into google and the guide comes up) which doesn't just have to apply to Scandinavian district heating systems. It allows you to calculate your environmental impact and adjust your utility rates accordingly. It is a much easier guide to follow in my opinion. One thing we have notices is that not all reviewers are aware of this guide so it might fling back a review comment, however when we have pointed them back to the guide it has been clear sailing from there.


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Thanks for your answer! I'm glad you told me about the Scandinavian District Energy Systems guide. Interesting stuff!

JO gravatar image JO  ( 2014-11-14 08:42:28 -0600 )edit

answered 2014-11-13 09:43:39 -0600

JO gravatar image

updated 2014-11-14 08:52:51 -0600

I'm probably a nerd for answering my own question. But i just found this interpretation: LEED ID 1573

I'd still very much like to hear all of your experiences.


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Answering your own question is perfectly fine and even encouraged :)

Julien Marrec gravatar image Julien Marrec  ( 2014-11-14 08:52:12 -0600 )edit

Admit it, you were a nerd even before this! You wouldn't be on this site in the first place if you were not!

__AmirRoth__ gravatar image __AmirRoth__  ( 2014-11-14 09:32:21 -0600 )edit

If the published costs are "reasonable" then this sounds like the easiest path to use them directly. However, I know of some district energy systems that include a pretty high cost for capital recovery among the other cost components. This will provide a higher emphasis on the heating and/or cooling efficiencies relative to other certified projects.

Philosophically, a chilled water energy cost of $0.40/ton-hour could more than four times the energy-only cost that you would pay in a university setting using the default plant efficiencies.

DancingDavidE gravatar image DancingDavidE  ( 2014-11-17 15:36:18 -0600 )edit

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Asked: 2014-11-13 09:33:42 -0600

Seen: 803 times

Last updated: Nov 14 '14