The important thing to for owners and tenants to understand about LEED-EBOM is that certification is not a zero-to-60-in-five-seconds proposition. "In today's environment, it's challenging for owners to own real estate, much less put in new capital," says Harding. "So we're telling them to start on the path today, and we'll walk you through the steps. If it's an onerous process, it won't happen."
Especially for multitenant facilities, with several different agendas and corporate policies, LEED-EBOM certification isn't the easiest thing in the world. Skodowski suggests offering "bribes" to get tenants excited. Have a pizza party for the highest participation in the comfort survey, for instance. Give away twelve months of dedicated parking for the highest participation in the transportation survey, as another example. Managers at One Washingtonian Place (see "Patience Pays Off" below) even brought in car dealerships to let tenants test-drive hybrid and alternate fuel vehicles to celebrate Earth Day. "We did an online quiz about environmental issues and those who did the best got to go first with the test drives," says Natasha Evstigneeva, senior property manager and vice president.
All told, Skodowski and his Transwestern sustainability services team have achieved LEED certification on 38 properties comprising more than 14 million square feet. And that number is increasing rapidly. It's a golden age for sustainable initiatives, says Skodowski. "Today, when we pull tenants together to discuss LEED, all too often, it's 'wow, that's all we need to do?'" he says.
Without question, Skodowski and his team have the eagerness and drive to match the ambition of the company's sustainable goals, say his colleagues. "Allan's group has such a passion for sustainability," says Harding. Indeed, Skodowski's passion is one of the first things you notice talking with him. As he poses for his photo, the photographer actually has to shush him a time or two to get him to stop talking about his team and their recent projects. Talking sustainability is his real comfort zone, and his excitement is infectious. As Evstigneeva says, "He's so passionate, just talking with him, you're carried away on the same current."
Over the years, Skodowski has had several conversations with owners about the real value of LEED certification. Why is certification more important than simply using LEED as a guide? Skodowski says one of the best answers to that question is from a building owner he talked to recently about why he went through with formal LEED-EBOM certification. The owner said that if certification results in a penny-per-square-foot reduction in operating costs, or a lease signed a month earlier, or a longer lease term, or higher rent, or an increase in building value, then it's at least a cost-neutral proposition. "I'm not a betting man," Skodowski says the owner told him, "but I'm probably not going to lose on all five of those bets."
Green Means Go for Transwestern's Skodowski, His Sustainability Team
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Multimedia: Transwestern's Allan Skodowski on Sustainability