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LEED-EBOM Focuses On Continuously Improving Performance

By Jamie Qualk - February 2014 - Green


Since passing LEED for New Construction for total square footage certified in December 2011, LEED-EBOM is the most popular rating system in the LEED suite. The enhanced commissioning (Cx) and measurement and verification (M&V) credits are examples of good opportunities that tie design and construction to operations in previous and the current version of LEED for New Construction rating system. But there are other areas where LEED-EBOM seeks to continuously improve performance for the life of the facility. The following highlight some of these opportunities to create buildings of higher value while decreasing operational and life-cycle costs:

Water Efficiency

— Prerequisite and Credit: Indoor Water Use Reduction. Lowering water use saves operating expenses for both the water itself and the heating or pumping that could be associated with its use. For a building with a certificate of occupancy dated 1995 or later, the baseline is 120 percent of the water use that would result if all fixtures met the code requirements. For a building with a certificate of occupancy dated before 1995, the baseline is 150 percent of the water use that would result if all fixtures met the code requirements.

— Prerequisite: Building-Level Water Metering. Not having a building meter is a little like driving a car without a speedometer or a fuel gauge. Without a building-level meter it is impossible to know what events or use patterns lead to the highest consumption of water and related spikes in a utility bill over the course of the year. Over time, learning the patterns of use will lead to reduced overall usage and cost associated with the water consuming fixtures.

Credit: Water Metering. If a whole building meter is a good idea, then sub metering specific uses is even better.

Energy and Atmosphere

— Prerequisite: Energy Efficiency Best Management Practices. One perquisite promotes continuity of information to ensure that energy-efficient operating strategies are maintained and provide a foundation for training and system analysis. This is essentially an ASHRAE Level 1 Energy Audit and can be your first step towards long term high performance building management. Remember, an audit has no payback and is only the starting point for determining how to proceed with optimizing energy consuming systems.

— Prerequisite: Minimum Energy Performance. Create a benchmark using Energy Star's Portfolio Manager. A minimum of 75 is required for any level of certification.

— Prerequisite: Building-Level Energy Metering. For the same reasons described above for water, this could be one of the best improvements a building can make. No building level meters? Time to get some.

— Energy and Atmosphere Credits:

  • Credit 1: Establish a commissioning plan and perform ASHRAE Level 2 Audit. This step builds on the preliminary work accomplished in prerequisite 1 and the execution of an ASHRAE Level 1 Audit.
  • Credit 2: Implementation is the part of the existing building commissioning process that seeks to improve building operations, energy and resource efficiency.
  • Credit 3: Establish an ongoing commissioning process that includes planning, point monitoring, system testing, performance verification, corrective action response, ongoing measurement, and documentation to proactively address operating problems in the systems being commissioned. Without an ongoing commitment to commissioning, performance gains can vanish in as little as one year.
  • Credit 5: If whole-building metering is good, submetering is better. This enables building operators to better tune systems and trouble shoot down to the system or subsystem level. Install advanced energy metering for the following: 1) all whole-building energy sources used by the building; and 2) major end uses that represent 20 percent or more of the total annual consumption of the building minus plug load use.

— Jamie Qualk





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