As of today, 3000 Corporate Exchange, an office building in Columbus, Ohio owned by Westminster Corporate Exchange and managed by CB Richard Ellis has achieved LEED for Existing Buildings Operations and Maintenance certification at the Silver level. Being the first LEED-EBOM project I have consulted on, this was a learning experience for everyone involved! LEED-EBOM certification really has the potential to be much more complicated than the blank slate that a new construction project presents. The process is really part art, part science; identifying opportunities for the building or its staff and occupants to be more sustainable and then balancing the costs of these opportunities, all within the constraints presented by already existing structures and systems. To complicate matters, this is a multi-tenant office building, which means that we had to have cooperation from every tenant in the building in order to fully implement and document strategies such as sustainable purchasing and waste management. Thankfully we had a great team and a fantastic group of cooperative tenants, so the process progressed relatively smoothly.
In my opinion, despite the potential difficulties, one of the really attractive things about the LEED-EBOM Rating System is that certification is awarded for actual results instead of design projections. With all the recent news articles about some LEED projects failing to meet energy efficiency expectations, it’s great to be able to report our actual energy performance instead of a projection based on an energy model with hundreds of moving parts (and thus opportunities for error). If you want to study buildings that are truly high performance, look to the existing buildings that have proven this over time.