Smooth the way toward a green designation
13 Tips for
In short, third-party recognition infers accountability – a
neutral organization has verified the building manager’s claims.
That counts for tenants and occupants, says Daniel Cote,
Regional Manager for Piedmont Office Realty Trust and Vice
Chair for the BOMA 360 Performance Program Council.
“Buildings may all look pristine on the outside, but as a potential tenant or employee, if you don’t know what differentiates
one from another, you could end up finding out that a building
isn’t run properly or managed efficiently,” explains Cote. “One of
the key drivers for us to certify so many buildings in our national
portfolio with BOMA 360 was that we wanted to announce to
the marketplace that our properties are managed effectively.”
Is your organization about to launch its own certification
effort? Take charge and make sure your facility gets the designation it deserves with these 13 tips from FMs, consultants and
green building experts who have already walked the walk.
1) Enlist Tenants Early
If you manage a leased facility, you’ll need buy-in from the
tenant before you can even think about certifying your building.
Most green building certifications require hard numbers on energy
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and water consumption, and some may also examine things
like your use of environmentally friendly cleaners. None of that
paperwork will be possible if you can’t get the required informa-
tion from your tenants, so get them on board as early as you can.
“Our tenants were very helpful because they had to provide us
with specific information on employee numbers and how they
conducted certain functions of their operation. They embraced
the process 100%,” says Jordan Guenther, Director of Property
Management for Eastman Companies, a real estate development,
construction and management company that recently earned
LEED Silver for its Eisenhower Corporate Campus office com-
plex. Cooperation with the building’s tenants (which include
Verizon) was vital in obtaining Existing Buildings certification for
the 385,000-square-foot complex, which was built in 1984 and
features four buildings joined by a common atrium in the middle.
Frequent communication can also help bring potential prob-
lems to the forefront where they can be dealt with more eas-
ily. At the Governor George Deukmejian Courthouse in Long
Beach, CA, a 531,000-square-foot justice center completed in
2013, a focus on LEED certification from the very beginning of
the project enabled the team to tackle an emerging issue early
and find a solution that worked for all stakeholders.
“Integrating LEED into the tenant’s requirements for the
retail and food court space took some educating with smaller
tenant contractors and the prospective tenants who initially
felt overburdened,” explains Freddy S. Rayes, Chief Executive
Officer of Long Beach Judicial Partners LLC, which operates
and maintains the courthouse. “With guidance, they have since
adjusted and now appreciate the value of compliance with sustainability.”
2) Grow Your Team
Bring in as many members of your team as you can, Cote suggests. You have valuable building management experience to
contribute for everything from planning a lighting retrofit to
investigating building automation systems.
“The owner’s representative doesn’t necessarily bring FM
teams to the table at the right time during the process of designing and determining how to meet certification requirements,”
adds Valerie Molinski, Sustainability Director for Vocon, an
architecture and interior design firm. “But the FMs are ultimately the people who are going to run the building. The right people
need to be at the table at the right time.”
3) Investigate Education
Before the certification effort starts, make sure the facilities
team has all the knowledge it needs to contribute. George Denise,
Director of Operations for Oracle RWS, Director of Sustainability
for Oracle headquarters, and Chair of the BOMA 360
Performance Program Council, recommends taking classes and
workshops targeted at building owners and managers while laying
the groundwork for the coming certification work. Earning your
LEED Green Associate designation (the personal certification that
is earned before becoming a LEED Accredited Professional) will
bring you up to date on how to certify buildings under LEED.
“Start by taking a class on ENERGY STAR and begin benchmarking your building with Portfolio Manager,” says Denise.
When codes and local mandates increasingly require building perfor-
mance on par with what’s needed
to earn certification, what difference does a plaque make?