The operations and maintenance certification is the latest addition to the LEED Volume Program, which is designed to streamline the certification process for high-volume property owners and managers of existing buildings and new construction projects. The program uses a prototype-based approach to enable consistency in green building improvements, which USGBC hopes will allow builders, owners and managers to earn LEED certification faster and at a lower cost than would be possible with individual building reviews.
“With the launch of the Operations & Maintenance track, LEED’s largest users are now able to make a sizable impact in greening their existing building portfolio as well as achieving green design and construction of their new builds,” said Scot Horst, Senior Vice President, USGBC. “Because existing buildings make up the vast majority of the U.S. building stock and the existing building market is nearly 100 times larger than the new construction market, tools like this are essential to reducing energy consumption from this sector.”
The Operations & Maintenance track was shaped by 11 commercial real estate firms, national retailers, hospitality providers, colleges and universities, local and state governments and federal agencies, including Cushman & Wakefield, Bentall Kennedy, City of San Jose, Kohl’s Department Stores, Stop & Shop, Bank of America, University of Florida, American University, University of California Santa Barbara, Wells Fargoand InterContinental Hotels Group.
“The LEED Volume Program benefited both our corporate tenant and investor clients by providing a streamlined and cost-effective approach to certification,” said John Santora, Client Solutions, Cushman & Wakefield, a Volume Pilot participant. “It also allowed us to educate and empower our management professionals so that they are now able to implement sustainable operations and practices at our properties.”
Currently, 18 Cushman & Wakefield properties are certified, representing 8 million square feet of commercial real estate. Bentall Kennedy has certified another 8 million square feet, spread across 45 buildings, through the LEED Volume Program.
In total, more than 625 projects have certified through the LEED Volume Program, including buildings owned or operated by Starwood Hotels & Resorts, The PNC Financial Services Group, Best Buy, Marriott, Citigroup and Starbucks Coffee Company. USGBC launched the program for the design and construction of new building projects at its Greenbuild International Conference & Expo in November 2010.