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the future of existing facilities

Kirksey’s LEEDŽ services green building design green building research green building consulting LEED / green education daylight modeling energy modeling LEED documentation for new & existing facilities

LEED-EB: O&M* the future of existing facilities BY JULIE HENDRICKS AND ANDRÉ LEHR

In just a few short years, the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED for New Construction program has become the accepted standard in large U.S. cities, as evidenced by many of these cities now requiring LEED Certification for new buildings. Cities requiring LEED certification for new construction of government-owned buildings include Atlanta, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Houston, and several others. Boston requires all buildings, public and private, to be LEED “certifiable.” Large numbers of private developers across the country have also adopted LEED. Incredibly, the market saturation for LEED-rated new office buildings in Houston is now over 70%. Comparatively, however, LEED for Existing Buildings has been slower to catch on. In Houston, for example, fewer than 1% of office buildings are currently EB certified or seeking EB certification. Until recently, those real estate professionals who were aware of the standard had a perception that it was too expensive, difficult to understand, and wouldn’t create value. That is changing, as a confluence of factors, including the introduction of the new LEED EB: Operations and Maintenance program, have brought the program into mainstream discussion.

*All projects registering for LEED for Existing Buildings after September 1, 2008 must do so under the new LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance (LEED-EB: O&M) version.

office building market transformation Increasing evidence shows that LEED-rated buildings are valued more highly in the marketplace, the prevailing sentiment being that “LEED is the new Class A.” Several high-profile LEED buildings have recently sold at record prices. In September 2006, Hines landed $400/sf for their 41-story, LEED-Gold 1180 Peachtree tower in Atlanta. The following month, their 820,000-sf, LEED-Silver One South Dearborn Tower in Chicago sold for $422/sf. At the same time, many large companies, including such giants as Bank of America, 3M, and Ford Motor Company, have written sustainability into their mission statements and integrated sustainable practices into their corporate culture. One way these companies are fulfilling their missions is by occupying space that reflects their environmental values. At a packed Greater Houston Partnership luncheon in June 2007, Jeri Ballard, Director of Real Estate and Facilities for Shell Oil Company, stunned the crowd by announcing that Shell would no longer build or lease space in a building that wasn’t LEED rated. Other companies, including Sysco Foods and BP, have made similar assertions. The current supply of LEED-rated office space is


inadequate to meet this kind of demand. Only 1% of the building stock in any given year is new construction;


34-42 points


43-50 points


51-67 points


68-92 points

99% of the buildings are existing. In order to meet the demand for LEED-rated space, the owners of a growing number of these existing buildings are looking to LEED for Existing Buildings: O&M. The U.S. Green Building Council has been working with a number of large property management companies,


LEED for Existing Buildings: O&M — the future of existing facilities

including CB Richard Ellis, Cushman & Wakefield, and

October 2007, allow building owners to participate in the

Transwestern, who are looking to get ahead of market

program even if their current tenants are not interested.

trends by greening their entire portfolios. CB Richard

LEED-EB: O&M is now available for registration, including

Ellis announced a big push in November 2007 to certify

the reference guide and submittal templates. Credit

100 of its buildings, 10% of the buildings the company

details later referred to in this article pertain to this


newest version of LEED-EB: O&M.

Also influencing the increased interest in LEED-EB:

how to implement

O&M are improvements that the USGBC (United States

The LEED for Existing Buildings: O&M system focuses

Green Building Council) is making to the standard. The

on building maintenance and operations. Unlike the other

newest version has many changes, the most significant

LEED standards, points are awarded for established

being that LEED-EB: O&M is more responsive to the

programs and policies with measured results over time.

needs of multi-tenant buildings. Previously, the standard

Metrics are taken during a performance period lasting from

was largely inaccessible to multi-tenant buildings unless

three to 12 months. Like the LEED for new construction

every tenant participated in the process. The changes,

products, points are awarded in six categories:

which were approved by USGBC member ballot in

Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and

LEED for Existing Buildings: O&M — the future of existing facilities


Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, Indoor

then indoor water use must not exceed 160% of

Environmental Quality, and Innovation in Operations.

2006 IPC standards. The 2006 IPC standard requires

There are a total of 92 available points, with a minimum

lavatories to use .5 gallons per minute, urinals to use 1.0

of 34 required for the lowest level of certification.

gallons per flush, and toilets to use 1.6 gallons per flush. A building with plumbing fixtures installed in the 80s, for

When considering a building for LEED-EB: O&M, first

example, having toilets flushing 3.5 gallons per flush

look at the minimum performance standards for water

(218% of the 2006 IPC toilet performance requirements),

and energy efficiency. For certain older or very inefficient

would most likely need to replace most or all of the flush

buildings, these requirements may make LEED-EB:

fixtures in the building in order to comply.

O&M certification slightly more challenging. For energy, the minimum performance required is an For water, the standard requires that buildings whose

Energy Star score of 69 or above. Note that all LEED

plumbing fixtures were installed during or after 1993 use

projects are required to earn 2 points under the Optimize

no more than 120% of the water they would use if they

Energy Efficiency credit (EA credit 1); an Energy Star

met the 2006 International Plumbing Code (IPC). If the

score of 69 will earn those two points for an existing

building’s plumbing fixtures were installed before 1993,

building. Under Energy Star, achieving a 69 score means


LEED for Existing Buildings: O&M — the future of existing facilities

buildings. Buildings that fall significantly short of this


goal may require expensive HVAC or building envelope

WATER - prerequisite

upgrades in order to meet minimum LEED-EB: O&M

For plumbing systems installed in 1993 or after, water usage must be no more than 120% of what it would be if all fixtures met 2006 UPC. For building plumbing systems installed before 1993, water usage must be no more than 160% of what it would be if all fixtures met 2006 UPC.

that a building performs better than 69% of existing

standards. Buildings that are just short of the goal may be able to achieve sufficient savings using less expensive strategies such as changing occupant behavior. The next thing to consider within the LEED-EB: O&M standard is the development of policies related to green building operations and maintenance. Building owners and managers must have various programs in place for which compliance and performance are measured and/or logged during the performance period. For example, within Sustainable Sites, two policies for which credit

2006 UPC/IPC Fixture water efficiency requirements Lavatory, private 2.2 gpm @ 60 psi Lavatory, public (metered) 0.25 gallons per cycle Lavatory, public (non-metered) 0.5 gpm @ 60 psi Shower head (non-emergency) 2.5 gpm @ 80 psi Sink faucet 2.2 gpm @ 60 psi Urinal 1.0 gallons per flush Water Closet 1.6 gallons per flush

can be earned include the following: SS-c2, Building Exterior Hardscape Management Plan, which requires

WATER - credit

employing best management practices to significantly

credit WE Credit 2.1 WE Credit 2.2 WE Credit 2.3

reduce harmful chemical use, energy waste, water waste, and solid waste and/or chemical run-off compared with standard practices; and SS-c4, Alternative Commuting Transportation, which requires creating a program to reduce the number of commuting round trips by regular occupants using single-occupancy, conventionallypowered and fueled vehicles.

costs of LEED-EB: O&M Because of its relative newness to the market, there is not much data available about the costs of LEED-EB: O&M, although anecdotal evidence and early studies indicate that buildings that go through the program realize improved performance and impressively short payback periods. We have begun building our own database of LEED EB costs, hard and soft, and have included our findings in a table on the following page.

reduction 10% reduction over baseline 20% reduction over baseline 30% reduction over baseline


65 67 69 71 73 75 77 79 81 83 85 87 89 91 93 95+

LEED for Existing Buildings: O&M points

NA 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15

Percentage better than national avg (bldgs not eligible for EPA rating)

15% 17% 19% 21% 23% 25% 27% 29% 31% 33% 35% 37% 39% 41% 43% 45%

pts 1 2 3


The soft costs from employee and/or consultant time spent developing and implementing the LEED-EB: O&M policies are a small component of the total cost.

Average cost per square foot based on 15 of Kirksey’s national LEED EB projects

This time will vary considerably, depending on the level of LEED the project is seeking. Other large costs might include mechanical upgrades and depend on

Large Project










1-2 million SF Medium Project

There is also relatively little information available

400,000-700,000 SF Small Project 100,000-200,000 SF

which credit the building aims to achieve.

regarding hard costs of building upgrades associated with LEED-EB: O&M. Kirksey spent approximately $1/sf




in hard costs for building upgrades for a building of

the Kirksey building was the first in Texas to receive the LEED-EB distinction. Other published

25,000 square feet. Certified in 2006,

figures for completed LEED buildings include the Joe Serna EPA Headquarters in Sacramento, a 25-story, 950,000-sf building whose hard costs were $0.52/sf and the Adobe Systems Headquarters in San Jose, where hard costs were $1.25/sf for 989,000 square feet of space in three towers. As a result of efforts related to our LEED-EB: O&M certification, Kirksey has reduced our operating costs for a payback on our total investment of just over two years. Adobe and the Serna EPA Headquarters both report payback of less than one year for their facilities. Building owners across the spectrum are beginning to recognize the value of going green in their existing buildings. Kirksey has seen interest in LEED EB quadruple over the last six months, and we are currently working on over 2 million square feet of LEED-EB: O&M projects. It seems no owner wants to be the last one in town holding a building without a LEED certification.


LEED for Existing Buildings: O&M — the future of existing facilities

selected LEED-EB: O&M prerequisites and credits requiring policies ID




Bldg Exterior & Hardscape Plan

Employ practices which address maintenance equipment, snow and ice removal, cleaning of building exterior and sidewalks, and exterior paints and sealants.

Site SS-3

Integrated Pest Management, Erosion Control, & Landscape Management Plan

Employ a landscape management plan which addresses: Integrated Pest Management, landscape waste, fertilizer use, and erosion and sedimentation control.

Site SS-4.1-4.4

Alternative Commuting Transportation

Create an alternative commuting policy. Provide calculated documentation demonstrating 10% (1 pt), 25% (2 pts), 50% (3 pts) or 75% (4 pts) of occupants utilize alternative transportation or drive fuel efficient vehicles.

Cooling Tower Water Management

Create a water management plan for the cooling tower that addresses chemical treatment, bleed-off, biological control and staff training AND install a conductivity meter and automatic controls to adjust the bleed rate and maintain proper concentration (1 pt) and use non-potable water for 50% of make-up water (1 additional pt).

WATER Water WE-4.1-4.2

ENERGY Energy EA-p1

Energy Efficiency Best Management Practices

Develop a building operating plan, system narrative, sequence of operations, and preventative maintenance plan. Conduct an energy audit (meeting ASHRAE Level 1 Walk-Through Assessment), and an energy bill analysis. Create a list of low-cost measures, and a list of capital improvements for future consideration.


Sustainable Purchasing Policy

Create a sustainable purchasing policy that addresses ongoing consumables (such as paper and office products), and at least one of the following: durable goods, facility additions, and reduced mercury in light bulbs.

Matls MR-p2

Sustainable Waste Management Policy

Create a waste management policy that addresses the requirements of mercurycontaining lamp recycling, ongoing consumables recycling, durable goods recycling, and construction waste recycling.

Air Qual IEQ-p3

Green Cleaning Policy

Create a Green Cleaning Policy that addresses the following: Standard Operating Procedures, use of sustainable cleaning products and equipment, janitorial paper products and trash bags, safe handling of chemicals indoors, and training of maintenance personnel.

Air Qual IEQ-1.1

IAQ Best Management Practices: IAQ Management Program

Develop an IAQ Management Program for buildings based on EPA “Building Air Quality” 402-F-91-102, Dec ‘91.

Air Qual IEQ-1.5

IAQ Best Management Practices: IAQ Management for Facility Alterations & Additions

Create a plan to do the following: meet SMACNA during construction, conduct a building flush-out after construction, protect building materials from moisture, use MERV 8 at return air grilles during construction, replace filters before occupancy, and return HVAC and lighting to designed sequence of operations.


LEED for Existing Buildings: O&M — the future of existing facilities




LEED for Existing Buildings: O&M — the future of existing facilities

For more information, contact Julie Hendricks, AIA, LEED® AP 713 426 7566

André Lehr, LEED® AP 713 426 7411

© Kirksey 2008

Kirksey | Architecture Houston • Miami 6909 Portwest Drive Houston Texas 77024 telephone 713 850 9600 facsimile 713 850 7308 999 Ponce de Leon Boulevard Suite 945 Coral Gables Florida 33134 telephone 305 200 8031 TX Registered Architect #5236 FL Registered Architect #14155

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LEED for Existing Buildings: the future of existing facilities