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Sunday, October 11, 2009

Recession and LEED

Repost: http://blog.iesve.com/index.php/2009/10/07/recession-and-leed/

October 7th, 2009 | by Suzanne |

Who knows where we are in this recession, but some interesting changes are being made in response to it. The USGBC recently announced that the minimum occupancy rate for buildings pursuing LEED-EBOM has been lowered from 75% to 50%. This is in light of the “current market realities that have disqualified an unprecedented number of properties from pursuing LEED certification.” This means that if a building is only half full, it can still pursue certification under LEED for Existing Buildings: Operation and Maintenance (aka EBOM – a much funnier way to refer to the standard – say it out loud, it’s one of those funny words like gazebo).

This is a fairly big move as the way a building operates at full occupancy compared with half occupancy is very different and is reflected in how several of the credits will be achieved. For instance a majority of the energy credits are based on the buildings performance in the Energy Star Portfolio Manager program from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The Energy Star rating is based on your buildings energy performance compared with other similar types of buildings. But this is based on buildings that are usually fully occupied. There is a potential of over-inflating the energy performance of the partially occupied building. Interestingly enough, this is “expected to be a permanent change”.

The shift in vacancy rates is good news for one of our clients who was considering LEED-EBOM for some of their recent developments. They are now able to qualify. Recently, we’ve seen an increased amount of request for assistance in the Existing Building market, using both LEED and/or energy savings as the major goals. I’ll save for another blog posting the approaches we have for helping clients in the existing building market realize energy savings and reaching sustainability goals. Instead, I’ll share with you the list of common LEED-EBOM questions (and our abridged answers) we see from clients investigating the feasibility of LEED for their building.

Q1. What is the length of performance period for energy consumption (EAp2, EAc1) for both versions of LEED-EBOM:�
• LEED-EBOM 2009 [A: 1 year]
• LEED-EBOM 2008 [A: 1 year]

Q2. What is the maximum percentage of renovation that is allowed to occur during the performance period for both versions of LEED-EBOM:
• LEED-EBOM 2009 [A: 50% by floor area]
• LEED-EBOM 2008 [A: 50% by floor area]

Q3. Can retail on the first floor of the office building be excluded from the LEED-EBOM process since they are on separate energy systems?
• [A: No for both versions of LEED-EBOM]

Q4. How much of the building floor area needs to be considered during the LEED-EBOM certification process?
• LEED-EBOM 2009 [A: 90% based on total gross floor area]
• LEED-EBOM 2008 [A: 90% based on total gross floor area]
To view the news release issued by the USGC, visit www.usgbc.org/News/USGBCInTheNewsDetails.aspx?ID=4190
The image is “borrowed” from http://nopolymon.blogspot.com/

Source: IES » Blog Archive » » Recession and LEED


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