OLDER BUILDINGS SHOULD PURSUE LEED-EBOM, A LEED CONSULTANT CAN HELP
It might seem counter-intuitive, but the older the building, the more beneficial LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance (EBOM) strategies can be. This can particularity be the case for institutional, office, and commercial buildings more than 30 years old. Greening these buildings can produce more benefit in terms of operations savings and energy use reduction because they tend to have older, more inefficient operational systems than newer buildings. A LEED Consultant can analyze the operations of these buildings and establish a preliminary checklist of system upgrades and potential LEED credits to implement.
Older buildings can sometime be like older people, set in their ways! When the lights turn on, the HVAC works, and the water runs, it can be difficult to muster the time to analyze exactly what the environmental and social costs are of daily operations. The same supplies and consumables can be used for years without examination. Occupants adjust to the indoor air quality and temperature by the placement of fans, heaters, and window use. Employees are used to the daily drive and the walk from the parking lot. Operations go on like normal, and if the building is over 30 years old, normal operations can equal enormous costs.
Economic costs can sometimes be the driver for change, as rising monthly energy and water costs can often be a trigger to look at how the building actually runs. A LEED Consultant can shine the light on the unseen environmental and social costs of the building, while analyzing energy and water usage by building systems. It can often be a relief to building owners to understand what and why the building is incurring the costs that it is.
Regardless of building owner’s intent to pursue LEED certification, implementing as many LEED strategies as possible makes sense. Tidying up how the building operates and what procedures and materials are used to maintain it will reduce costs and increase efficiency. Employees and occupants will be happier to have cleaner indoor air, consistent temperatures, alternative transportation programs, and other green benefits. Socially, the building will set a good example of how older buildings can reduce their carbon footprint and “green up” – a fact that can be used to boost its market value.
These benefits, and many others, make older buildings a great target for LEED EBOM. As LEED Consultants, we can start a conversation on your building and how the LEED program could make a positive impact.