Penny Cole
3 minute read

Get a sneak preview of a 2019 Rocky Mountain Green session on LEED v4.1.

Are you curious about how the new LEED v4.1 Operations and Maintenance (O+M) rating can make a difference in your building or your clients’ buildings? At the Rocky Mountain Green conference, running April 10–12 in Denver, you will hear Building Performance Analysts Penny Cole and Terry Wohlgenant of DLR Group discuss their experience with a fast-paced LEED v4.1 certification project.

The case study

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) campus in Pasadena, California, includes over 100 buildings. As a part of NASA, it is required to meet the Guiding Principles for Sustainable Federal Buildings for at least 15 percent of total square footage of owned and managed buildings by 2025, as well as employing integrated design principles, optimizing energy performance, protecting and conserving water, enhancing indoor environmental quality and reducing the environmental impact of building materials

With time-sensitive funding due to expire by end of their fiscal year, the JPL team asked DLR Group’s Energy Studio to assist them with meeting these guidelines using the LEED O+M program, one of the accepted ways to demonstrate compliance.

The process

The project team started with one research building, a LEED O+M goal, and a five-week timeline covering project kick-off to LEED submittal. A comparison of the LEED v4 to LEED v4.1 versions and discussions with the client quickly enabled us to map out a plan that would work best for this particular project. Based on the information gathered from our initial owner meeting, it became apparent that LEED 4.1 would give us the best chance of meeting the short timeline.

Our process required us to consider several questions to achieve our goals on a fast-track timeline:

  • What are the expectations for the client’s involvement, and how can they help deliver results faster?
  • What are the team deliverables needed to achieve LEED Gold certification?
  • What information is available to prove performance?
  • What information must be gathered for submittal?
  • What processes require the most amount of time, and how will those be accomplished?
  • What metrics of success will be measured, beyond meeting a deadline?
  • How will this process benefit the client, in both the short term and in long-term planning?

The results

Many hear “LEED” and think of paperwork, even for existing buildings. The approach and requirements in the new version of O+M focuses more on proven performance and less on paperwork. Now, proving building performance can account for up to 90 points toward certification. JPL’s Building 301 exceeded goals and achieved LEED v4.1 Gold certification.

The point pathways looked like this:

LEED v4.1 certification for the Jet Propulsion Lab Building 301

This process also acted as the testing ground for other buildings on the JPL campus to achieve similar results. It has given the facility managers tools to compare programs, performance and processes to achieve these benchmarks, as well as ideas on what they can do to increase their score for the annual renewal.

Come to Rocky Mountain Green to hear how LEED v4.1 might benefit you, and how to achieve certification quickly, based on our insights and lessons learned at JPL. This session is eligible for 1 LEED O+M-specific continuing education credit.

Register for Rocky Mountain Green