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Where To Start With LEED-EBOM




March 2013 - Green

Today's tip is about where to start with LEED-EBOM.

"Hey, have we ever looked into this LEEDS (sic) for Existing Buildings thing?" your CFO asks you one morning.

"We have, but not seriously," you reply, with a sort of sinking feeling, because you know what's coming next.

"Well, let's give it a try, I think," she says. "I'd like to put that our building is Platinum in the next annual report. Let me know what it'll take and how much it'll cost."

The problem is, your 95-year-old corporate headquarters building is hovering at an Energy Star score of 56, and since your capital budget has been cut every year for the last five years, you haven't had the opportunity to make energy upgrades to improve it much.

Indeed, your building, for the time being, isn't even a candidate for LEED-EBOM. That's because a prerequisite of certification is a minimum Energy Star score of 69.

So what do you do? The inclination of many FMs would be to simply throw up their hands and decide to put LEED off until later — whenever "later" might be. As Jenny Carney, a principal with YR&G Sustainability Consulting says, when you do your EBOM credit gap analysis, and realize you're too far away, it can be a quick stopping point.

It's one of the main differences between EBOM and NC - with NC, all the prerequisites require about the same amount of effort, Carney said. But with EBOM, you could spend two years just getting your building up to the prerequisite-level Energy Star score.

In this case, the best strategy, she said, is to set incremental goals. Obviously, you're not going to be able to go from uncertified to LEED-EBOM Platinum in six months. Instead, build in milestone markers and budget accordingly.

As with most challenges, this is an opportunity in disguise. As you go through and work on your efficiency projects, there's nothing that says you can't begin implementing other operational policies and procedures for which you can get credit in EBOM. That way, on that exciting day when your building finally reaches your Energy Star goal, you'll be all ready to take the next step for certification.

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