New Green Rating System Takes Aim at Power Systems

With LEED, the USGBC has enjoyed a virtual monopoly on green building ratings. Since the organization’s formation in 1993, our collective understanding of what makes a building truly green has become more refined. The USGBC hopes to have the same effect on how we generate and distribute electricity.

Green PowerToday, Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI)—an offshoot of USGBC—officially launched Performance Excellence in Electricity Renewal, or PEER. The rating system is designed to measure, and hopefully improve, sustainable power system performance.

PEER is designed to evaluate power generation, transmission and distribution systems from a customer focus. It will measure efficiency, quality, reliability, resiliency and impact on the environment. GBCI will serve as the independent credentialing body for PEER.

“Buildings don’t exist in a vacuum, so integration with other industries, such as energy and power, is crucial if we are to create a more sustainable built environment,” said Rick Fedrizzi, CEO & founding chair, USGBC, and CEO, GBCI. “PEER will be a transformative tool for power systems regulation, design and operation.”

PEER will set standards and evaluate power systems on a number of criteria. A system’s reliability, for example, will address the quality and availability of the electricity supply, with a focus on black- and brown-outs, redundancy, microgrid capabilities and other factors.

A power system’s impact on the environment will be another set of criteria. PEER will assess the energy efficiency of power delivery, as well as air emissions, resource use, renewable energy credits and power delivery impacts. Energy producers, distributors and customers will be encouraged to adopt renewable energy.

“Through LEED, USGBC has created a common language, standard and platform for advancing knowledge, technology and innovation in green building. It now aims to do the same in the power sector with PEER,” said John Kelly, program lead of the PEER rating system, “and we anticipate similar transformative results.”

It is hoped that PEER will quantify how sustainable an electric system is, and how it can be improved both in environmental and financial terms. A number of early adopters have been beta-testing the new system, including the suburban City of Naperville.

Image: Chris Potter/

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