News Analysis

Certifying Buildings En Masse

To streamline the certification process, CBRE has become one of 40 pilot partners in USGBC’s volume certification program in which credits that apply to the entire portfolio are preapproved. “[Building owners] have to submit the prototype documentation and a quality-control plan across the organization so we can know that there will be consistency in delivery and performance,” explained Doug Gatlin, USGBC’s vice president for market development. In the LEED-EB context, purchasing policies and green cleaning practices would be likely candidate credits for portfolio-wide approval. There are fewer candidate credits for volume approval in LEED-EB than in the new construction rating system because existing buildings tend to be more idiosyncratic than multiple new buildings following standard prototypes, Gatlin notes. He expects the biggest advantage of a volume approach for certifying operations to come from streamlined collection and submission of performance data.

Pogue’s team is analyzing over 100 potential buildings for participation in the program and has started registering a few of them with USGBC. The selection criteria include the interest level and stability of the owner, the condition of the building, and the value of the LEED brand in the building’s local market. Certifying existing facilities is especially useful for keeping them competitive in office markets “where there is new construction activity, creating new LEED buildings,” Pogue notes. CBRE is doing a LEED gap analysis for candidate projects and finding that achieving basic certification should not be too difficult for many properties. Achieving the water conservation requirement is likely to require the biggest investment, Pogue predicts.

Published March 31, 2008