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4 tips for improving your building’s LEED certification

Posted by Kate Donnelly | Thursday, December 10, 2015

When you're managing a facility, a huge part of the job is improving operational efficiency as much as possible. In recent years, this motivation has led to a surge in sustainability awareness. Alongside existing professional and industry standards like ENERGY STAR and LEED, reducing emissions and improving reducing consumption of resources like water and power have become major goals for facility managers across the country.

While most new buildings now are designed from the ground up with LEED in mind, if you're operating a much older facility, it may seem difficult to achieve the LEED certification that indicates you're operating the building efficiently. Fortunately, working toward LEED certification doesn't have to be a major investment.

Here are four building maintenance strategies you can implement in your existing structure to better improve your chances of receiving LEED certification.

1. Put the pedal to the metal

One major way people - especially those in urban areas - have begun reducing emissions is by using alternate forms of transportation, or relying on carpooling and public transit. In cities it's also especially common for bikes to be a major mode of transport for commuters. Biking to work is affordable, environmentally friendly and, as it turns out, good for your LEED certification. According to Cleanlink, encouraging your occupants to come to work on two wheels instead of four is a smart move. Installing bike racks at your building is good for one LEED credit.

2. Survey says ...

Did you know that advancing along the road to LEED certification can be as simple as asking your building occupants their opinion? As it turns out, new buildings can gain a LEED credit by conducting an anonymous "thermal comfort" survey in which building occupants are asked about their perception of the temperature inside your facility. Meant to be conducted around six months after occupancy, the purpose of the thermal comfort survey is to help facility managers assess the effectiveness of factors that can impact building temperature. Not only does this cover the HVAC system itself, but it may also help identify larger flaws in windows and building envelope.

3. Shine some light on the situation

When it comes to sustainability, there are few issues larger than energy efficiency. And when you're talking about power consumption, chances are that your lighting solution is going to play a huge role. Depending on the size of your facility, a total lighting retrofit may seem daunting, but it's easier than you'd think to reap energy savings and LEED credits alike by simply changing up the type of light bulb you use. The U.S. Green Buildings Council noted that swapping out your incandescent bulbs for compact florescent lighting can net you up to two LEED credits. As an added bonus, CFLs use only around 25 percent of the power that incandescent bulbs do, and they last up to 10 times as longer. The GBC indicated that these factors mean CFL bulbs can pay for themselves in energy savings in just nine months of operation.

4. Green your clean

Is your facility's cleaning solution green-friendly? If not, you won't be earning that LEED certification any time soon, as it's a requirement for the venerated LEED approval. Going green with your cleaning strategy is actually easier than you may think. There are a wide variety of eco-friendly and nonchemical cleaning products on the market, and they tend to be inexpensive, costing about as much as the standard chemical-based products you're used to.