Creating a Roadmap to LEED Certification

  September 6, 2016

By Greg Zimmerman

If you’re an FM who only sees members of the C-suite when either something’s wrong or they want something impossible, the following (hypothetical) conversation may have you breaking out in hives.

“Hey, have we ever looked into this LEEDS (sic) for Operations and Maintenance thing? Are we doing that?” 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 – though make sure it doesn’t cost much.”

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 Building Operations and Maintenance. That’s because a prerequisite of certification is a minimum Energy Star score of 75.

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 — or start polishing their resume. But enterprising FMs will dive in — taking the all important first step of doing a credit gap analysis to find out what it actually will require to get a certification.

Raising that Energy Star score may likely be the toughest thing you have to do, and it’s important to manage expectations. It won’t happen overnight.

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 LEED O+M. 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.

This Quick Read was compiled by Greg Zimmerman, Executive Editor of Building Operating Management magazine, greg.zimmerman@tradepress.com. Read more from him about how 5 things you need to know about LEED v4.


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