THE ECONOMIC FEASIBILITY TO REDUCING ENERGY USE IN LARGE COMMERCIAL U.S. AIRPORT BUILDINGS THROUGH LEADERSHIP IN ENERGY AND ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN (LEED) CERTIFICATION

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John Kauffman

Keywords

airport, commercial buildings, cost/benefit, energy, LEED certification, SWOT

Abstract

There is a growing movement in the U.S. (e.g., airports) to obtaining LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification to reduce energy use. LEED advocates assert, on average, 25% less energy used by LEED-certified buildings compared to conventional commercial buildings. In the absence of studies regarding large U.S. LEED commercial airport buildings, a systematic quantitative review, content analysis and SWOT was performed to determine the economic feasibility of reducing energy use in airport buildings. A systematic quantitative literature review, combined with a comparison of LEED cost-benefit studies, and LEED certification objectives - to - airport facility energy requirements and U.S. government energy reduction initiatives was performed. Positive and negative (Pro/Cons) energy reduction findings were catalogued, charted, and analyzed. The findings from 1) LEED commercial building studies, 2) the LEED cost-benefit studies, and 3) the comparison of LEED certification program to large commercial U.S. airport energy requirements and trends were synthesized using a SWOT analysis. In aggregate, there was negligible correlation between commercial U.S. building LEED certification levels and energy use reduction. In spite of noteworthy findings regarding on-site energy reductions, there was insufficient evidence to suggest LEED reduced overall (site and source) energy use. Therefore, little evidence supports the cost-effectiveness and economic feasibility to reducing energy use simply through the LEED certification process. This study presents the pros and cons in applying LEED certification to reducing energy use in commercial airport buildings.

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