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Six Steps to a Successful LEED-EBOM Project
There are no shortcuts when it comes to LEED-EBOM. Even the newest, most energy-efficient buildings still face a variety of challenges in putting together an EBOM certification plan. As Jenny Carney, principal with sustainability consulting firm YR&G says, "The best EBOM projects are not the result of building design or fancy equipment."
No, the best EBOM projects — those that truly result in a more sustainable building — are the ones that implement plans that are repeatable, flexible, and geared for the long term. Putting in place such an initiative is a difficult, time-consuming process. There's no two ways about that. But by taking into account the following six steps, suggested by experts who have done their share of battling in the EBOM trenches, you'll put yourself and your building in the best position for success.
1. Know Your Rating System
Understanding what the rating system itself requires is one of the trickiest parts of a LEED initiative, according to Craig Sheehy, president/CEO of Envision Realty Services. Sheehy, whose company has completed 115 EBOM certifications, says that even if you've memorized the rating system itself and its companion reference guide, it's still not always easy to tell whether every credit applied for will be awarded. Whether you or a member of your staff takes a crash course in EBOM, or you hire someone to consult for you, intimate knowledge of the rating system itself gives you the best chance to maximize your points.
"If you have too many people spending too much time just figuring out what each credit means, you can get in a bind and bogged down," in minor details, says Carney.
At Harvard University, prior to going through Platinum EBOM certification on the Blackstone South Office Building, Jeffrey Smith, director of facilities maintenance operations, says he formed a small team, of which he served as the LEED "champion," and then did some targeted EBOM training. "It was important to us to make sure everyone had an adequate understanding of EBOM and its requirements," he says.
If you decide to hire someone, hold that person up to a high standard, says Gene Rerat, president of Base Management, a property management company which oversaw the LEED-EBOM Platinum certification of the 520,000-square-foot Marquette Plaza in Minneapolis. "Understand you're going to be working with this person for the better part of a year to 18 months," he says. "The consultant really needs to understand the different areas where you can get points and how to obtain those points. And that person needs to be able to help you put those strategies into a budget, too."