When sustainability is on the minds of property managers and builders, getting a green building certification is an important consideration. Getting certified is about getting recognized for effective energy-efficient and sustainable design. These certifications help guide you toward your goals and assure you that you’ve gotten things right.
Why Should a Building Manager Want Green Certifications?
- Reduced energy, water and resource use
- Healthier and more comfortable, responsive indoor environments
- Recognition for a commitment to best practices in sustainability
The results? Lower and more predictable utility bills, lower lifecycle maintenance and replacement costs, and increased occupant productivity and satisfaction.
So how do you do it? It starts with knowing what’s available and achievable. For Canadian buildings, this is likely one of two options.
LEED standards are well-known even amongst the public by now. Being able to put LEED certification on your materials is a promotional boon: the design decisions reflect elements of good and efficient building design that save you money when accounting for lifecycle costs.
LEED certification often requires significant involvement and is geared towards new construction. However, there’s another option for existing building managers: BOMA BEST.
BOMA BEST: The First Step in Green Building Certification
- Accessible to buildings without large budgets
- Rankings can be generally equivalent to LEED
- Application can be made online by the Facility Manager
The Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) runs the BOMA BEST certification program. Bronze, Silver, Gold, and Platinum ranks are available — and one major advantage of BOMA BEST is the low barriers to entry for the application.
The application is a relatively simple list of 300 online questions on electricity, gas, and water consumption as well as lights, recycling, and other green building initiatives.
If the cost of a LEED EB (existing building) certification is too high, or if a building has some intractable problems — that could exclude it from ever achieving LEED certification due to its basic minimum requirements — you may still be able to achieve BOMA BEST certification while making meaningful sustainable changes to get there.
You’ll be scored against other buildings in the BOMA network and get some actionable tips on improvement. It may not be as well-known as LEED certification, but BOMA is increasingly recognized as best practice for sustainable management of existing buildings. It is also the fastest, cheapest way of taking your first steps into green building certification.
LEED Certification: A Comprehensive Process
- LEED is built around collaboration: the idea that a team who works together, delivers better buildings together
- LEED considers each part of a building and how it plays into the whole through systems thinking
- Bringing on a LEED consultant means bringing onboard incredible, dedicated expertise
LEED stands for Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design, and its green building rating system is a comprehensive, points-based framework for designing, engineering, building, commissioning, operating, and ultimately certifying, a green building. In terms of the gold standard in recognizing leadership green building design: this is it.
The rating system covers six main categories: Site Selection, Location and Linkages, Energy Efficiency, Water Efficiency, Indoor Environmental Quality, and Materials and Resources. Another category, Innovation in Design, challenges integrated teams to devise advanced strategies to improve on building performance. Regional Priority is the final category, acknowledging unique geographic characteristics and indicators of environmental health associated with that location.
Consensus-based and vetted every few years through hundreds of experts from myriad industries, specialties, and backgrounds, the LEED Rating System is ever-evolving and continually improving. LEED relies on market input, project case studies, building performance data monitoring, and stakeholder feedback to capture and portray the contemporary pulse of what truly makes a building green.
How to Get Started on your Green Building Certification Journey
Whether you seek green building certification on your existing buildings through BOMA BEST, or whether you intend to build-in LEED certification goals into a project right from the start, you’ll always do better with green building certification experts on your side.
Through our energy audits, planning, engineering, and sustainability expertise, we can help guide you through the ins and outs of green building certifications. We can also maximise your ability to achieve both the certifications themselves, and the energy saving benefits they recognize. Use less, save more, and enjoy better, more efficient buildings with Vital Group of Companies. Reach out to get started.