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LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance

created by the US Green Building Council


LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance

As this photo demonstrates, daylight fills the project's main administration wing.

© The Kubala Washatko Architects, Inc./Mark F. Heffron

So, you're a building owner and you want to make the operations and maintenance of your building as environmentally friendly and healthy as possible, while bringing down your energy and water costs, saving money to boot.

Look no further than LEED for Existing Buildings. The US Green Building Council created LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance (lovingly referred to as LEED EBOM) to assist building owners and facility managers in understanding the best management practices out there and to create a path to implementing them.

LEED EBOM is a third-party rating system and tool that provides performance options in:

  • Sustainable Sites
  • Water Efficiency
  • Energy & Atmosphere
  • Materials & Resources
  • Indoor Environmental Quality
  • Innovation & Regional Priorities.

Up to 100 points are tallied and buildings can achieve one of four different performance ratings - Platinum, Gold, Silver or Certified.

Free LEED EBOM Ratings for Previously Certified Projects. If your project was previously given a rating for LEED for New Construction, LEED for Schools or LEED for Core & Shell, then congratulations! Your project will qualify for a free registration through the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI).

To Qualify for LEED EBOM, Verify that the Minimum Program Requirements (MPRs) are Met. Before you get started on a LEED EBOM Rating for your building, be sure to check that your project meets the MPRs in order to qualify. Here they are! The project:

  1. Must be in operation for a continuous 12 months immediately preceding the first submission for certification review by GBCI.

  2. Must have an occupancy rate of at least 50% of typical occupancy (where typical is defined as normal usage - occupancy patterns throughout its flow area and normal operations of its systems, equipment and support staff throughout its floor area). Building system use and capacity must meet the demands of variable (low to peak) occupancy to qualify.

  3. Scope must include 100% of the floor area of each building in the certification application, unless the operations are under separate management control for a portion of a building. In this case, up to 10% of its floor area may be excluding for that reason.
What Types of Credits Are There? In addition to the LEED EBOM Scorecard method of organizing credits, another way of looking at the credits is more intuitive, as follows:

Materials In Credits are associated with planning and executing a sustainable purchasing policy. This includes items such as furnishings, office and cleaning supplies, low mercury containing light bulbs and consumables (like food).

Materials Out Credits are associated with policies relative to reducing waste, managing flows that leave the building, as well as facility alterations and additions.

Administrative Credits are more about documenting and improving the user experience. For example, surveying occupants to ensure their comfort, providing alternative transportation options, educating building users and documenting green building impacts fall into this category of credit type.

Site Management Credits reveal best practices for sustainability measures relative to the exterior of the building, such as the exterior building and lighting maintenance; landscaping (low water use, native and chemical free) and storm water treatment and mitigation as well as reducing light pollution and the heat island effect.

Green Cleaning Credits support the use of healthy cleaners that do the job through a green policy and custodial best practices.

Occupant Health and Productivity Credits involve the health and well being of building users through excellent ventilation, rate and flow; thermal comfort, reduced particulates and user control of lighting and temperature controls.

Energy Credits use Energy Star benchmarking to measure the building's energy performance and minimize its greenhouse gas emissions, creating procedures and policies for ongoing measurement and verification of performance.

Operational Effectiveness Credits require that the best management practices are met in areas of energy and water efficiency. Commissioning (verifying that the building systems operate as intended when designed), building automation systems and metering of energy usage and water consumption and adjusting performance as necessary help achieve higher performing buildings over the total life of the building.

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