EBOM Requires Three-Month Measurement, Certification Period

By Greg Zimmerman, Executive Editor  
OTHER PARTS OF THIS ARTICLEPt. 1: FMs Say Formal EBOM Certification Not Expensive, DifficultPt. 2: EBOM Certification Offers Independent Verification, JustificationPt. 3: This PagePt. 4: More Vendors Becoming Acquainted With EBOM Submission Process

Contrary to popular belief, LEED-EBOM certification doesn't have to be expensive. Of course, the age of the building and how it is currently operated will have a lot to do with the cost. So the starting point to a certification goal is to identify just how expensive it might be. First, do a feasibility study on the prerequisites, says Skodowski. Time spent worrying about the voluntary credits is time wasted until you're sure you can achieve the prerequisites, especially in regards to energy.

"Really, the starting point is Energy Star," says Skodowski. For LEED-EBOM, the current requirement is that a building must score at least a 69 on the Energy Star scale. Skodowski says that if a building has an Energy Star score of 75 or greater — meaning that it's eligible for the Energy Star Label — the building has a good chance of getting at least a Silver certification with very little cost.

Other prerequisites include a water efficiency baseline that varies depending on the age of the building, zero use of CFC-based refrigerants and a minimum IAQ rating based on ASHRAE 62.1. Other prerequisites require facility managers to build a plan for strategies like sustainable purchasing, green cleaning and energy management, among others.

If facility managers are sure they can achieve the prerequisites, the next step is to examine each credit and divide them into categories such as "doing now — no cost," "could do for minimal cost," "could do for lots of cost," and "probably can't do."

This was the task undertaken by the property managers for the Transamerica Pyramid. "We created a matrix and broke down the credits into four categories," says Rapoport. "Then we assigned credits to team members."

One thing that's important to remember, say experts, is that LEED-EBOM certification is not usually something that can be done quickly. Facility managers should be realistic about the time frame within which they're expecting to complete certification requirements and send their submission to the Green Building Certification Institute — the organization that now handles LEED certification.

"LEED is a process, a journey," says Skodowski. "It's going to take time." One of the parts of LEED-EBOM that sets it apart from its new construction counterpart is the required three-month performance period. For a minimum of three months, facility managers are required to have in place all policies and procedures, and record measurements for that performance period prior to submission. That three months may not seem like much, but Strazdas says it was one of the hardest parts of his certification.

"The performance period and the pre- and post- measurements were when people really started whining," he says. "Everyone had a checklist of things they had to keep track of, and it wasn't easy." Pursuing certification for the College of Health and Human Services facility cost about $50,000 ($15,000 of which was provided by a grant) and about 400 man-hours, he says.

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  posted on 5/28/2010   Article Use Policy

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