4  FM quick reads on LEED-EBOM

1. Get Occupants Involved in Green

Today's tip of the day is about how to get occupants involved in your green building plans.

In a recent blog post, sustainable superstar Jerry Yudelson outlined "Seven Practices of Highly Effective Green Building Consultants." What's interesting about the list is how applicable many of the items on the list are to facility managers working on green projects, as well.

That's especially true for Nos. 3 and 4 on the list — "get buy-in from the team," and "figure out how everyone can win." In fact, those seem more cause and effect than two separate items: Figuring out how everyone can win is the key to getting buy-in from the team!

Say you're working on a LEED-EBOM initiative, showing how everyone in the organization benefits is absolutely how you get everyone — from occupants to upper managers — on your side. Show occupants how efficiency can save their jobs (an X percentage reduction in energy is equal to the salaries of X number of jobs), and you can be assured they're more than happy to contribute ideas and excitement to your green initiatives. Show your own staff how learning the ins-and-outs of EBOM and why operations are a key to energy efficiency, and you've taught them valuable career skills. Show upper managers how efficiency saves money, and you've raised your credibility and shown that facilities is not a cost-center, but a value-adder.

Sustainability truly is an organization-wide effort — it presents the opportunity for facility managers to build bridges and work with other departments. This is clearly another way figuring out how everyone can win plays a key role in getting buy-in from the organization. Furthermore, making sustainability a competition between departments, or buildings, or other sectors of the organization is a great way to get buy-in. And, it eliminates the "not my job" syndrome which seems to occur more and more frequently as workers are constantly being asked to do more with less time.

2.  What LEED Says About Alternative Transportation

Today's tip of the day is about the heavily weighted alternative transportation credits in the LEED rating system.

If you're working on a LEED-EBOM initiative, alternative transportation is one of the highest-weighted strategies in the rating system with 15 points (second only to the Optimize Energy Efficiency Performance, which offers 18 points) is the alternative transportation credit. The goal of the credit, according to USGBC, is "to reduce pollution and land development effects from automobile use for transportation."

Facility managers can earn points based on the percentage of occupants that use alternative transportation — walking, biking, public, transit, ride shares, telecommuting, etc. — based on a baseline. For instance, if 40 percent of occupants use alternative transportation, facility managers earn 9 points toward their EBOM certification.

If it's not possible to do a survey or earn the points based on the survey for other reasons, there are a few other compliance options, as well — including developing a new-hire orientation plan to encourage alternative transportation and providing preferential parking for rideshare participants.

This credit is different than the much-maligned credit in the New Construction rating system that offers a point for including bicycle storage (bike racks) and shower facilities for bicycle commuters. That credit — despite the fact that LEED opponents love to tease LEED advocates about it — does still exist, and does appear in the next version of LEED, as well. The credit is worth only one point, so it's not a heavily weighted credit. And despite the jokes, including bike racks and shower facilities for commuters IS a legitimate sustainable strategy, is it not?

3.  How To Keep Momentum After A LEED-EBOM Certification?

Today's tip of the day is LEED-EBOM certification, and how to keep your building operating as efficiently as it did the day the plaque was hung on the wall.

Generally, the idea of "bridging the gap" between design and operations is a new construction notion — but it should applied to existing buildings as well, especially for buildings that have spent the time, energy, and money to become LEED-EBOM certified.

LEED EBOM encourages continuous improvement and even recertification well after the plaque is on the wall. But that doesn't that continuous improvement will happen automatically. It takes a focused approach and a dedication to goal-setting and goal-achieving to ensure that operations continue to be efficient. In fact, one facility manager's only-partially-facetious advice about the first thing to do after you get your LEED plaque is to throw it away.

The LEED plaque is merely a piece of recognition that your building did well in terms of energy and water use for a short period of time. But to get better, facility managers must stay on top of all the initiatives they put in place as a result of their LEED initiative.

Additionally, facility managers must constantly engage building occupants and upper managers with contests, newsletters, and other forms of regular communication. This lets them know that LEED goals continue after certification and that continuous improvement — especially in terms of energy and water savings — is the real goal.

4.  A Refresher on LEED-EBOM Recertification

Today's tip is a refresher on what you need to know about LEED-EBOM recertification. As LEEDv4 is due out in the fall, now is a good time to ensure you have a solid understanding of one the cornerstone aspects of the LEED-EBOM rating system.

Indeed, recertification tenets at least once every five years is one of the most important aspects of the rating system that grades facility managers on ongoing operations and maintenance. It's one of the main ways facility managers can bridge the gap from design to operations, and then ensure that the building operates efficiently and sustainably long term.

The reason why the re-certification requirement is important, says Michael Arny, president of Leonardo Academy, is because all a LEED certification plaque - whether EBOM or New Construction - really says is that at some point in the past, the building was sustainable. The plaque says nothing about the current state of sustainability. In fact, says Arny, a LEED certification plaque hanging in the lobby is a little like a five-year-old review on display at a restaurant. What's to say the quality hasn't gone way downhill?

So, making sure sustainable goals are still on track is critical. "Recertification is important because it's a course correction," says Arny, who recommends recertification every two to three years, as opposed to the five-year minimum. Recertification helps ensure the building continues to perform as well as it did the day you hung the plaque on the wall. What's more, if facility managers sustain on the strategies implemented to attain the initial LEED certification, are continuously commissioning building systems, and are faithfully collecting and analyzing data, then recertification should be a slam dunk.

Arny says he recommends registering your project for recertification and setting a firm timeline immediately after you receive your latest recertification. That way, you set a deadline for completing the work. Another benefit is that you lock in the version of LEED at the time of registering, so you don't have to worry about trying to conform to future changes to LEED.

As far as refuting the fact that paying the money for formal re-certification isn't worth it, Arny says the same argument for first-time certification applies. Third-party verification of your sustainable initiatives is always more credible to upper managers than simply just telling them you're doing well


LEED-EBOM , green , energy efficiency

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