tion that says 'Make time. This is
good for our profits, our people
and the planet.'"
Certifying a multitenant building
will require additional assistance.
Present each tenant with compelling reasons to revise its own purchasing and waste policies. Offering
a green building that makes it easier
to recruit talent may persuade some
to renew their leases, but others
will need hard numbers.
"Sometimes I feel like a used car
salesman because customers are
wary of spending more dollars or
doing anything that's too ahead of
the market and they don't want to
be bleeding edge," remarks Blake
Jackson, sustainability design
leader for Stantec. "There are a lot
of misconceptions about the cost
and benefits of these buildings."
Engaging building occupants
before you start actively pursuing
certification is a crucial first step
that can pave the way to an easier
certification process, Baker adds.
Consider having each department
nominate a representative to a
project team so everyone's voice is
7 Pay Attention to Lifecycle Age and lifecycle considerations are just as important for
the existing building as they are
for products and remodeling plans.
For instance, if your building has
a black roof that's still functioning
well, you might find that the emissions you save with a reflective
white roof are voided by the energy used to replace the old one, not
to mention the resulting waste.
Also look at the lifecycle of
products and materials destined
for your building. Look beyond
the first cost and determine how
much you can expect to spend for
8Do Your Due Diligence With Documentation If there's one thing all building certifications have in common,
it's that you won't earn your recognition without documenting why
your building deserves it.
This is extra important if you're
pursuing multiple certifications;
in many cases, certifications will
require the same data (say, a year's
worth of energy consumption infor-
mation) but one may require more
paperwork and the language used
might be different.
Sourcing is also a major concern
for many certifications, so do your
homework on materials, suppliers,
inventory and lead time. Make sure
you can demonstrate where the
components of your building came
from. Weigh material attributes
against their distance from your site.
For example, will buying solar
panels manufactured closest to
you earn more points than the 20
percent more efficient panels made
500 miles away?
9 Manage Costs What you can achieve will come down to your budget, in terms of both project costs
and the extent to which incentives
defray those costs. Rebates for sustainable features and efficient equipment will help make your certification more affordable, but will likely
require some extra paperwork.
Make sure that someone on your
project team is staying on top of
what's needed to qualify for rebates
and the deadlines for requesting
incentives. If you opt for a certification program that requires you to
recertify later, such as LEED O+M,
you'll need to budget for ongoing
costs in addition to the cost of whatever renovation is needed to qualify
you for the initial certification.
Choosing a certification also
requires you to examine how the
act of certifying might benefit you
financially and otherwise in the
coming years, and making that
prediction is difficult at best.
"We see a number of projects
wrestling with whether to pur-
sue a third-party verification of a
high-performance building," says
Lauren Seydewitz, director of sus-
tainability for Gresham Smith and
a member of the firm's water and
"There are some action items
and investments you can make that
do have a quick return on investment, but they're also thinking
about it from a goal perspective.
What are our options? What do we
want to invest in now so we can set
ourselves up in the future five to 10
years from now as we make additional investments in buildings?
Think about your long-term goals
of how certification fits in and
what you want to achieve."
10 Strive for Continuous Improvement
Your certification might last the life
of your building, but the building's
performance won't, especially if
you don't keep up with your new,
more efficient practices. It's easy
to forget about annual reviews, but
without them performance suffers.
"Things get overlooked when
people get busy," explains Joe
Markling, BOMA Fellow and
head of real estate operations at
USAA Real Estate. "If you haven't
updated your O&M manual in a
few years, or you're a new manager
and you only have old information
and phone numbers, stop and take
a look at it."
Demand for resilient and efficient structures will only grow,
so keep pushing your building
toward greater performance. The
improvements in efficiency and
branding achievable with certification frameworks are worth it, and
so is the effect your building can
have on its surroundings – not just
the environment, but the community its occupants call home. B
Janelle Penny janelle.penny@
buildings.com is a senior writer
Which green building certification is right for you? Find more
tips and read about 15 designations your building can earn: