May 8, 2013
In our previous post on LEED EBOM recertification, we outlined the steps you must take to achieve recertification:
- Perform audits, surveys and testing at least once every five years to track the ongoing performance of policies established during initial certification
- Policies must be updated to meet the current EBOM rating system requirements: currently LEED EBOM v2009, and LEED V4 in 2014
- New credits being pursued through recertification follow the same establishment and performance periods as initial certification
Now we’ll talk about some tips and tricks for making recertification smooth, while you reap the efficiency benefits.
By certifying your building, you’ve already showed the USGBC that you have policies and programs in place, such as waste diversion, public transportation policies, purchasing policies, green cleaning plans, sustainable landscaping, etc. The most important method for keeping on top of these policies is to continuously perform audits, surveys, testing and check-ins on your LEED policies. Ongoing tracking ensures that your policies are functioning as designed and you’re reaping the maximum efficiency, operational and cost savings benefits. Tracking your policies also provides the documentation you need to comply with building codes and regulations.
While most of the tracking burden falls on the property and facility managers—such as submitting energy use to ENERGY STAR and tracking water and waste—several tracking responsibilities fall on other building team members.
Tracking Responsibilities for General Contractors during Tenant Improvements
- Track construction/demolition waste for building improvement projects
- SMACNA Plan tracking – LEED indoor air quality standards require flushing out the space between construction & occupancy
- Source and track sustainable materials for TI projects, such as paint, carpet, drywall and furniture
Hint: The best way to achieve all 3 of these recertification credits is through tenants pursuing LEED CI certification within your LEED EB building. As these credits overlap in the two rating systems, they will count towards both CI and EB Recertification.
Tracking Responsibilities for Janitorial Vendors
- Track LEED compliant green cleaning policy
- Train employees on the proper handling and disposal of chemicals
- Perform Association of Physical Plant Administrators (APPA) Audit every 1-5 years to maintain Green Cleaning credit
- Track materials and cleaning purchases: implement the policy and start early so you don’t have to backtrack and dig for information!
- Sustainable cleaning equipment: keep monthly logs to verify regular maintenance schedule; track exterior use
Other Tracking Responsibilities
- Pest management – implement an integrated pest management policy; track pesticide use and lessen usage of toxic pesticides
- Landscaping – implement a sustainable landscape policy and lessen usage of chemical landscaping solutions; use electric powered landscaping equipment and monitor equipment maintenance
- Glass Cleaning – utilize a green seal window cleaning solution
- Paints, Sealants and Finishes – use Low VOC paints and track how many chemicals are used
Keep your Ducks in a Row with Contracts and Technology
Recertification requires the tracking of many moving parts, and oftentimes multiple third party vendors. The best way to ensure that your facilities manager and vendors comply with your LEED policies is by drawing up a contractual agreement that outlines policy, operating and reporting procedures. In addition, assigning a designated person or team to oversee your LEED policy implementation will help ensure they are carried out properly for smooth recertification. Whether it be an internal champion or an ongoing relationship with your LEED consultant, it’s critical that ownership is taken over LEED policies so they don’t go forgotten.
In addition to contractual agreements, technology can be leveraged to help you stay on top of tracking your LEED policies. Process management tools like iLiv (great for ongoing communication related to LEED) and Angus Anywhere (a powerful preventative maintenance tracking software) are very useful for tracking data and gathering metrics over time. Sustainability consulting firms like EBS can also help you track your initial LEED policies, as well as new systems you’ve implemented since initial certification.
If you’re reading this post, realizing that you’ve let your policies go unmanaged, and you foresee that obtaining the required information will be an extreme hassle, it may be more practical to pursue initial certification again. In this case, we recommend obtaining a LEED GAP analysis to see what the costs will be to achieve your desired certification level vs. the costs required to gather the information you need for recertification.
Now that we’ve covered initial certification vs. recertification, and what to do now for smooth recertification, the final step to understanding LEED recertification is knowing what credits you must obtain to comply with the most recent rating system. Stay tuned for an overview of updated and new credits contained in LEED EBOM v2009 and LEED EBOM v4 in our next post, “How to comply with LEED EBOM v2009 and LEED EBOM v4 for Recertification.”
Questions on LEED Recertification? Get in touch with us!
April 25, 2013
Part I: Initial Certification vs. Recertification
Did you know that LEED EBOM Recertification is required at least every 5 years to retain LEED EBOM certification? It requires collaboration from all the same players that worked together to achieve initial certification—building owners, property and facility managers, general contractors and vendors—so leaving it to the last minute can cause logistical headaches and possible loss of certification. On the flip side, a well-planned recertification process opens the opportunity to increase your building’s certification level, yielding greater operational savings and demonstrated commitment to sustainability.
Drawing from the lively audience Q&A during EBS’ LEED Recertification presentation at the Building Owners and Managers Association of San Francisco (BOMA) Energy & Environment Committee meeting, we felt like this topic could use a little more attention. Over the next few days, we’ll be posting a three-part series on what you need to know to pursue LEED recertification:
- Initial Certification vs. Recertification
- What to do now for smooth recertification
- How to comply with LEED EBOM v2009 and LEED EBOM v4 for recertification
Certification vs. Recertification: What’s the Difference?
LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance (EBOM) sets performance standards for the operation of existing buildings that are not undergoing major renovations. It differs from the other LEED rating systems in that it documents the actual building performance, rather than estimated performance based on design. Credits pursued in initial certification undergo a two-phase process:
- 6 month establishment period to assess the building, conduct cost/benefit analyses for proposed sustainability policies, and adopt new policies
- 4 month performance period to implement new policies and building changes, as well as track ongoing building performance
Any first-time application for LEED EBOM certification—including buildings that have achieved certification under another LEED Design & Construction rating system—must undergo the initial certification process to achieve LEED EBOM status. LEED EBOM is the only LEED rating system under which buildings are required to recertify (source).
LEED EBOM recertification verifies facility operations with the goal of maintaining and improving its performance over time. Once a building receives initial EBOM certification, its recertification process begins. But don’t fret—recertification does not mean that you have to redo the entire establishment and performance periods that initial certification requires. Recertification automatically takes into consideration the building systems, infrastructure, practices, and policies that you put in place to achieve initial certification.
Requirements for Recertification
Here’s what you need to do to recertify:
- Perform audits, surveys and testing at least once every five years to track the ongoing performance of policies established during initial certification.
- Policies must be updated to meet the current EBOM rating system requirements: currently LEED EBOM v2009, and LEED V4 in 2014.
- New credits being pursued through recertification follow the same establishment and performance periods as initial certification.
- Re-submit documentation from previous LEED EBOM certification that is still relevant, and submit new establishment documentation if major changes have been made
Over the years, there have been three iterations of the LEED for Existing Buildings—EB, EBOM and EBOM v2009—and LEED v4 is on the horizon for 2014. Many of the credits between these systems overlap. For credits earned under the previous version that have analogous credits in LEED EBOM v2009 / v4, minor updates, documentation and data tracking will need to be made to bring your existing policies up to speed with current requirements.
However, LEED EBOM v2009 and LEED v4 also contain credits that do not have analogous credits in the previous rating system versions. In order to maintain your current certification level or reach further to obtain a higher certification level, additional policies must be pursued to achieve the new credits. As mentioned, new credits are earned the same way as in initial certification—a 6 month establishment period and 4 month performance period.
Now that you’re familiar with recertification, stay tuned for our next post: What to do now for smooth recertification. Also stay tuned for our final post of the series, How comply with LEED EBOM v2009 and LEED EBOM v4 for recertification.
For more detailed information about Recertification, please refer to theUSGBC’s guidance document.
Questions about LEED Recertification? Get in touch with us!
April 16, 2013
Kristen Magnuson: At the opening of Renaissance Uptown Lofts supportive housing facility, on a California coastal backpacking adventure with her dog Mylo, and sea kayaking among Alaskan icebergs.
With over 7 years of experience working in architecture firms in St. Louis and Denver, Kristen brings expertise in architectural design, interior design and construction to EBS. A LEED Accredited Professional, Kristen also holds a National Council for Interior Design Qualification (NCIDQ) Certification and received a Master of Science in Sustainable Design from Carnegie Mellon University. At EBS, she will apply her professional and scholastic experience to a wide variety of high performance building projects.
Previously, Kristen has advised commercial and residential clients on sustainable initiatives such as Net Zero Energy, passive design, and sustainable community development, performing services including energy modeling, facility assessments, Energy Star consulting, renewable energy consulting and more. With a strong interest in the green schools movement, she will help to augment EBS’s high performing building services in the education sector.
“When expanding our team, EBS looks for candidates with diverse skills to complement our team’s expertise and help us better serve our clients,” said Ryan Potvin, founder and principal of Environmental Building Strategies. “Kristen’s variety of high performance building experience in architecture, design and engineering will deepen our firm’s expertise in those areas, bringing immense value to our range of clients and projects.”
Originally from southeastern Louisiana, Kristen received her Bachelor of Interior Design from Louisiana State University, a top-ranked program in her own backyard. Driven by a passion to practice at the intersection of interior design, architecture, and sustainability, Kristen returned to school to pursue a Master of Science in Sustainable Design at Carnegie Mellon University. Kristen was the first interior designer in her Master’s program, and among the first to become a LEED AP at her previous architecture firm. She has constantly sought ways to help improve the world through volunteer efforts, working as an at-risk youth mentor, teaching elementary school students about sustainable architecture, and helping turn a section of an empty city block into a prolific urban farm.
With a long-standing passion to measure sustainable design through real-world applications, Kristen is a great fit for EBS’ dedicated team and will help carry out our mission—to optimize the value of sustainability through sound financial analysis and building science expertise.
“For in the place where your talents, skills, and passion converge, life really begins.” –Kristen Magnuson.
February 28, 2013
Energy efficiency in buildings presents an immense opportunity to lower worldwide energy consumption and pollution, and understanding your building’s energy consumption is the first step to progress. With a little regulatory motivation from San Francisco’s Department of the Environment, owners of existing SF commercial buildings over 10,000 sq. ft. are required to disclose their energy usage data, as well as specific measures that they can take to save energy.
More specifically, the “Existing Commercial Buildings Energy Performance Ordinance” requires that commercial buildings larger than 10,000 sq. ft. be benchmarked, obtain an ASHRAE Level I or II energy audit, and report their energy data consumption to the city. The ordinance provides owners the insight they need to lower their energy bills, improve operational performance and qualify for rebates and tax credits. Altruistic in nature, perhaps, but the ordinance provides one more thing for building owners to worry about this month, as it’s backed by regulatory muscle: buildings that fail to report benchmarking and audit data by April 1, 2013 will be subject to public disclosure of non-compliance and annual fines up to $2,500.
Benchmark, Audit and Retro-Commissioning Defined
A Benchmark is a summary of the energy used by an entire building in the previous year, which helps owners and operators understand how the building’s energy performance compares to similar buildings under similar conditions. The Ordinance states that buildings must be benchmarked using the ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager, which will provide the building a performance rating and Greenhouse Gas Emissions data. The San Francisco benchmarking ordinance is complementary to the California Public Resources Code 25402.10/ AB 1103 as the benchmarking information is required for private
disclosure of all energy usage information between parties to the sale, lease, or refinance of the entire building.
An ASHRAE Level I Audit (mandated for buildings <50K sq. ft.) includes a benchmark, and also requires a full day walk-through of the facility to develop a list of energy conservation measures (ECM) that can be implemented to save energy. The final report will detail energy and cost savings for each ECM identified and a building energy balance.
ASHRAE Level II Audits, mandated for buildings >50K sq. ft., include a more detailed building survey and energy efficiency study of capital intensive components. The final report includes a financial analysis of all identified ECMs that meet the facility’s economic criteria based on project implementation costs, operating costs, and achievable savings. For each ECM, you will know the estimated amount of energy and cost savings, cost of the measure, and the payback period. Additionally, discussions regarding beneficial changes to operation and maintenance procedures are included.
Retro-commissioning (Retro-Cx) is a systematic, detailed examination of all systems and operations in a building to ensure they are operating as designed, and to identify opportunities for operational and capital improvements. Retro-Cx is more ideal for large facilities and buildings with complex systems, and qualifies as an alternative way to meet the audit requirement. The ECMs that result from these studies must be reported to the City for compliance by April 1.
Is your building subject? Next Steps:
If you’re a DIY kind of organization, you can sign up for a PG&E benchmarking training class here.
If you’re subject to an energy audit, or don’t have the time or resources to spend learning how to benchmark, EBS can help. Our certified energy auditors have audited over 6 million sq. ft. of commercial buildings in San Francisco alone, and have helped over 20 million sq. ft. of projects achieve energy efficiency all the way to net zero. We will take the entire process off your hands with our streamlined process that is cost effective and ensures compliance.
Get in touch with us for a free consultation by filling out the form below, or you can call us directly at 415-329-7100. Once we understand your building and project needs, we can get a price proposal to you within 24 hours.
For more information on the ordinance, check the SF Environment site.