By Andre Lehr
Aug. 4, 2011
You’ve met your goal of getting LEED certification. Now what? How do you ensure you keep that valued certification?
This is a common issue for companies who jump on the LEED bandwagon without really understanding the challenges of maintaining their certifications. It’s not easy, but there are best practices for maintaining your LEED status that save time, money and sanity.
As a part of obtaining your initial LEED Existing Building Certification, you should have already defined new policies to help manage the building in several key areas. Understanding the different parts of these policies will help you conserve your efforts on collecting the information necessary for LEED maintenance. Building management teams have enough on their plates as is, so let’s focus only on the essential best practices.
Divide and conquer. Start by dividing the LEED credits between the Property Management Staff and the Facility Engineering Staff. Most of these credits fall easily into one or the other’s typical duties. Make sure everyone understands his or her role in this process, because people are getting shifted between properties and may neglect to keep up with these tasks, which are critical to obtaining your next certification. By dividing the workload, you will lessen the weight on individual members and facilitate effective team coordination.
Standardize your internal process. To avoid confusion, create a LEED directory on your server organized by a responsible team member or vendor so that all LEED-related invoices get scanned and go in this location on the server. There are software programs that can help you keep track of your invoices; otherwise, a frequently updated Excel spreadsheet can work too. Through this tracking, you can see where your facility is showing success or shortcomings. This is a great source to use when providing management, tenants or clients with progress updates.
Work with your vendors as partners. Vendors play a crucial role in obtaining the right information needed to satisfy future LEED re-certifications. Create a vendor schedule that includes what information you need, which vendor has it and how often they need to provide it. Knowing what information you need early on will put you miles ahead in maintaining LEED certification.
Request only the information you need and ask your vendors to incorporate it into their standard reports. If they take that one extra step of including information that is readily available to them, they can help you save the time that goes into compiling all the information.
Look into the right software tools. It can be overwhelming to keep track of all this data manually. If you want an automated process that takes all of the above information and displays it in real time, consider a software solution. The right software tool can help lessen your load by sending out regular reminders to team members to collect the information needed to stay current.
Sustainability is not just about a plaque on the wall. It’s about doing more while performing better, using less, and cutting costs. Whether your motivation is performance based or about environmental conservation, we all want a system that works without headaches. I hope the above best practices help you find the perfect balance for LEED maintenance.
Andre Lehr, a Senior Consultant for LEED Certifications at iOffice, has more than 15 years of experience in the construction industry and has certified more than 30 existing buildings nationally. He can be reached at [email protected].