LEED O+M: Existing Buildings v2009
The Westory Recertification
LEED Gold 2012
The below stakeholder perspectives address the following LEED credits:
SSc4, EAc2.1, EAc2.2, MRc6, MRc7, EQc3.2
Goals and motivations
What were the top overarching goals and objectives?
The team wanted to capitalize on the sustainability initiatives initially implemented since they would lend themselves to achieving additional credits, ultimately leading to a higher level of certification. We wanted to distinguish ourselves within a market that had already adopted LEED as a "standard." It was a continued effort to identify additional ways to reduce operating expenses, including reduced energy consumption, increased waste diversion, and the integration of sustainability into all areas of building operation. Finally, we felt it was important to prove to the market that the building ownership, tenants, and management had made a dedicated commitment to sustainability.
What were the most notable strategies used to earn LEED credits?
The LEED process identified several areas for improvement, such as optimization of building run times, schedules, and regular tracking and analysis. During recertification, we also conducted an ASHRAE Level II Energy Audit which led to a significant reduction in energy consumption.
Listen to VP of sustainability services Evan Tyroler discuss some of the energy efficiency strategies used on the Westory recertification project.
At the onset of the LEED certification process in 2009, the ENERGY STAR score was below the required 69. At the conclusion of the LEED recertification period, the score had increased to 86. One of the most successful strategies was challenging our engineering team and Chief Engineer to identify energy efficiency measures and ensuring that they were champions throughout this whole process.
We wanted to capitalize on the building's urban location and work with the building tenants to document alternative commuting patterns of the occupants. We revised our initial strategy for the transportation survey because we were aiming for a higher response rate. During the initial Silver certification, we used an online survey tool to determine the reduction in conventional commuting. Given that the building is centrally located and near many methods of public transportation, we wanted to maximize the points, by ensuring a higher response rate. For recertification, we decided to go in a different direction, holding an in-person survey by asking all building occupants how they commute to work over a specified five-day work week. Hosting the survey in-person significantly increased our response rate.
Photo by Eric Burka
The Westory Building
Ongoing Tracking & Analysis
A key factor in smooth recertification was integrating regular tracking into ongoing operations of the building, including tracking of waste, green cleaning, and meter readings. An example of how this led to significant improvements involved our recycling rates. During initial certification, recycling was less than 50% of the total waste stream. In the year between our initial certification and recertification, we increased tenant engagement enough to achieve the ongoing consumables solid waste management credit, helping us achieve LEED Gold. During this time, we offered sustainability lunch-and-learns to tenants of the Westory interested in having a more in-depth discussion regarding sustainability practices in their office. Often, these tenant meetings focused on how to decrease the amount of trash leaving the building through sustainable procurement policies or enhanced recycling programs.
Aside from LEED certification, what do you consider key project successes?
As of May 2012, the Westory has reduced energy consumption by more than 20% compared to 2009. This was significantly influenced by our tenant engagement strategies. We offered tenant-specific sustainability meetings to advise on how to make their offices more sustainable and if they were interested, how they could participate in the LEED process. The property team also held regular meetings with the building tenants that often focused on sustainability (e.g., waste management and sustainable purchasing) and energy management.
Kilpatrick Townsend, a tenant in the Westory Building:
Kilpatrick Townsend was proud to participate in the Westory's LEED Gold Recertification project. "Keeping Sustainable @ Kilpatrick Townsend" initiative launched in 2008 and was right in line with the building's efforts. As a centerpiece to the firm's sustainability initiative, we have become a signatory to the ABA/EPA Law Office Climate Challenge. We were the first in many of our office cities to sign on to this robust environmental policy and we committed to all three components at the Leader level. Recycling a high percentage of the waste the firm creates has not only made an impact on the environment but has shown our employees that they make a difference. Additionally, some ways the recertification have benefited us are by reducing the firm's electricity usage; purchasing Renewable Energy Credits (we purchased 100%); and purchasing materials such as copy/printer paper, envelopes, and letterhead that have a much higher recycled content. Being in a building that adheres to the same principles we value makes a difference.
The majority of our employees commute via public transportation. Every individual office, as well as conference rooms and public areas, all have recycling receptacles and we've installed motion/occupancy sensors throughout the office to save electricity. During our recent renovation, we recycled all the metal scrap and have purchased ENERGY STAR appliances. Our contractor adhered to the best practices regulations for a LEED building utilizing environmentally-sound materials and recycling whenever possible. Cassidy Turley was present every step of the way helping with our efforts. Having a management company be as aware and compliant as they are has made for a more sustainable workplace and working relationship.
What one thing saved you or the project team the most time, money, or helped avoid an obstacle during the LEED process? What one thing cost you the most?
Maintaining an integrated and well-educated team from our initial LEED certification to recertification made the process very efficient. Our venders, who already had established green practices and policies, were consistent from Silver to Gold. The management and engineering team were the same for both certifications, helping keep things really smooth.
Listen to VP of sustainability services Evan Tyroler talk about the continuity of the vendors and their role in both the initial and recertification.
The policies and plans also remained the same from initial certification to recertification. In addition, the ongoing tracking in place to verify the policies and plans had been successfully integrated into the operations and therefore made for a streamlined recertification process.
At the time, not having formal LEED recertification guidance added certain challenges to interpreting various credits. For many credits, there are audits, studies, and testing required and without formal guidance, it was not clear if these needed to be accomplished on an annual basis, bi-annual basis, or every five years.
With USGBC's new recertification guidance , there are clear scheduling requirements for many of the items noted above, now supporting project teams in including LEED and sustainability initiatives into the building operating budget and assisting with planning for future expenses. We spent a lot of time to ensure we maximized the efficiencies of streamlined credits from having a LEED for Existing Buildings certified building and taking advantage of the efforts of the initial certification, so as not to double our efforts.
What was the value of applying LEED to this project?
We saw value in a few different areas of the LEED process. Primarily for our team members, it was a learning experience relating to market leadership and breaking ground on the next generation of LEED.
Part of the success in preparing for recertification is not thinking of initial certification as a one-time event, but more of a transformation of the standard operating practices of the building.
Education and engagement at the beginning - and making sure the team understood the mission, benefits, and tasks - was critical to ensuring recertification success. We found that explaining why we were recertifying, why it's important, how each team member could help, and how they would benefit helped drive additional performance.
Listen to sustainability services project coordinator Nicole Snarski talking about integrated pest management and how it relates to their vendor education program.
With regards to the tenants, the pursuit of recertification provided them with a unique opportunity to further differentiate their respective firms in the market. This process also allowed for improvements in the overall building environment and building operations. Recertification was also an opportunity to demonstrate and build on sustainability as a key aspect in their company framework and culture.
Listen to sustainability services project coordinator Nicole Snarski describe the process for how LEED is integrated into the operating procedures.
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