A Facility Manager's Guide to LEED-EB O&M Rating System
Since 1998, maintenance and engineering managers have had a valuable metric for measuring the greenness of their institutional and commercial buildings. The U.S. Green Buildings Council (USGBC) created the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system for new construction and major renovation projects. As a result, it really was not suited for evaluating the greenness of existing buildings. To resolve this issue, the USGBC released the first version of LEED for Existing Buildings (LEED-EB) in 2004. This rating system provided a comprehensive set of prerequisites and credits designed around a building's maintenance and operations functions. It was less concerned with design and construction.
Although a new version of the LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance (LEED-EB: O&M) is expected next year, the current version of this rating system – the 2009 edition – is rife with manager- and operator-driven tasks that focus on optimizing a department's operational performance and reducing its environmental footprint.
Managers in all types of facilities can benefit their departments by examining the key elements of LEED-EB O&M, as well as the process for planning a building certification. Whether or not managers choose to pursue full certification, they can use key elements of the rating system to identify low-hanging fruit — steps toward sustainability that are readily achievable with minimal investment of resources.