Party Walls

Arc – A Performance Approach

“What gets measured, gets managed” – Peter Drucker. This old management adage couldn’t ring more true in the world of sustainability.

The green building industry increasingly relies on the collection and analysis of data to inform a spectrum of building improvements, including monitoring and mitigating the impact of operations and management. The GBCI has embraced this new direction by developing and releasing a new online platform, called Arc, which collects, manages, and benchmarks building performance data as projects move toward LEED certification.

Screen shot of the Arc Platform

Screen shot of the Arc Platform

Arc, formerly known as the LEED Dynamic Plaque, is a data driven platform that captures the ongoing performance of buildings in real time. This platform serves an alternative pathway for LEED Existing Building Certification and Recertification. Similarly to traditional LEED EB certification, Arc uses a 100 point scoring scale with the same thresholds of certification (40-49 certified, 50-59 silver, 60-79 gold, 80-100 platinum).The five categories of building performance that are captured and tracked by Arc include Energy (33 points), Water (15 points), Waste (8 points), Transportation (14 points), and Human Experience (20 points). Ten points are available for non-performance related existing building credits and practices. USGBC mandates that buildings certifying for the first time must still achieve all LEED EB prerequisites.

Takeaways from SWA experience with Arc:

  • It has the potential to revolutionize the way existing buildings certify with LEED by providing access to buildings that would not normally participate in an intensive certification process.
  • Buildings have the opportunity to improve operations while using the system to track performance prior to submitting for certification.
  • The program allows for 5 annual certifications
  • Much of the data (Energy and Water) can be completely automated. If buildings have CO2 monitors, that can also be automated.
  • The building surveys are very simple – 2 total questions that take approximately 30 seconds to answer
  • Air quality testing and a waste audit (if needed) are the most intensive portions of the certification, though each can be done in a day.


Article written by Sean Fish, Senior Sustainability Consultant and Alex Popp, Sustainability Consultant

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