LEED for Existing Buildings Recertification Is Here

9 replies [Last post]
LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser BuildingGreen, Inc. Nov 14 2012 LEEDuser Moderator Post a Comment

Recertification guidance docA special feature of LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance (LEED-EBOMEBOM is an acronym for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance, one of the LEED 2009 rating systems.) certifications is that they come with an expiration date: since the certification is all about ongoing performance, project buildings have been required to seek recertification every five years. The only difficulty has been that the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has taken a lot of time to develop clear and specific guidelines for exactly how projects are supposed to do that. Although there has only been a trickle of certified projects five years or older certified under LEED-EB 2.0, that trickle is growing into a flood, so USGBC's unveiling last week of new recertification guidance is timely.

Here are some of the most exciting features of recertification (or "recert"), as shared with LEEDuser by Selina Holmes and Lauren Riggs of USGBC:

  • Although it doesn't yet, LEED Online will support recertification with specialized forms, and it will do so within the project's original certification home on LEED Online. For now, recertification projects have to register in LEED Online as a new project. (If doing that, write "recertification" in your project name.)
  • LEED Online submittals will be streamlined and will focus on documenting ongoing performance of EBOM projects. Projects won't have to re-document static environmental features.
  • Projects will need to recertify under the most current version of the LEED-EBOM rating system. However, for projects certified under older systems that have less in common with current systems (case in point: LEED-EBOM 2.0 vs. LEED 2009), USGBC will work with those projects to bring them up to speed and transition them into newer systems.
  • USGBC will be reaching out to projects soon and offering them staff time to help this transition. The new guidance document also gives "crosswalk" guidance on how v2.0 projects match up with v2009 requirements. During 2013, outreach will extend to newer projects.
  • The new guidance document also offers specific "performance" requirements for recertification, building on original certification "establishment" requirements. For example, SSc2 establishment requires a policy for building exterior management, while performance requires documentation of practives from 25% of recertification performance period.
  • In general, recert projects will have to provide documentation covering 25% of the period they are recertifying for. If recertifying within four years, that's one year of data, if recert period is one year, that's three months of data.
  • Recertified projects will get a new plaque with a new date.
  • Looking ahead: LEED v4 will be built from the start to support recertification, with establishment vs. performance requirements clearly stated within the credit language.

In sharing this information, and in putting out the new guidance document, Holmes and Riggs emphasized that the guidance document is intentionally coming out now prior to full functional support of recertification, so that projects can prepare.

What do you think of the new recert guidance? Do you like how the program is shaping up? What questions does it raise for you and your EBOM projects? Post your comments and questions below.


Lauren Fakhoury Research Assistant Sustainable Design Consulting, LLC
Jan 03 2013
1644 Thumbs Up

Recertification Fees

Does anyone know what the fees are for EB recertification? The latest addenda says to contact GBCI customer service to find out (instead of it being half of what the initial certification cost), and USGBC's website says to check the GBCI fee page, but it does not say there. Are they the same, as someone mentioned above? Thanks!

K W IC Jan 03 2013 Guest 128 Thumbs Up

I understand they are the same as the intial certification.



Tristan Roberts LEED AP BD+C, Editorial Director – LEEDuser, BuildingGreen, Inc. Jan 05 2013 LEEDuser Moderator

The EBOMEBOM is an acronym for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance, one of the LEED 2009 rating systems. reference guide had stated that they were 50% of initial certificaiton fees for the building. As you point out the new addendum says to contact customer service. Since that addendum is SO recent, I would say it's the word to go by.

Anecdotally it seems like USGBC is trying to get buildings in the recertification game and might be trying to work with projects on fees.

Post a Reply
Dec 13 2012
128 Thumbs Up

LEED EB Recertification - Where's the Value?

What are the benefits/value of recertifying under the LEED EB program?

We've been reviewing the recently released USGBC guide for LEED EB recertification, and it appears to be more difficult than initial certification. Example - you need to provide data from 25% of the recertification period, which could be as much as 15 months of data instead of 3 months for initial certifications.

Also, the fees on the GBCI website are the same as for both certification and recertification!?!

Why would anyone ever recertify, when they could let the certification expire, and certify again with much less effort, and the market would never know.

Are we missing something, we see basically no benefit.

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Peter Locke Sustainability Consulting Director McKinstry
Nov 30 2012
118 Thumbs Up

SSc1: Previously Certified Projects

It seems that the only way a previously certified LEED EB project can obtain these 4 points is if the project has "maintained tracking" since completeing the initial certification (see guidance on pg 18 of USGBC Recertification Guidance document). In our case our client has not "maintained tracking" for all the previously awarded credits. Our client therefore does not have the option of "recertification". Is there an option to not recertify, just start fresh, but still get these 4 points?
As a general comment about the "new recert guidance", while the USGBC has made it more clear and supposedly simpler (need to confirm once all templates are available), we are still not able to convince our clients that it is worth the effort to maintain the level of tracking that the "recert" process requires in terms of effort of already overworked staff, and the subsequent benefits accruing. Our clients generally feel that just starting the process over again once the 5 year window has expired, having a 3 month performance period and making the appropriate changes to whatever the latest rating system requires, is a much more efficient way of doing business.

Jared Silliker Owner, Silliker + Partners Aug 06 2013 LEEDuser Member 1015 Thumbs Up

Peter ... thanks for this summary. I may be facing a similar case, where the longer performance periods may prevent a client from meeting their certification goals (by a certain date). And it seems the only clear benefit is the waived registration fee ($900).

Are there any more recent anecdotes, re this challenge of re-certifying?

And to confirm, must a building let the entire 5 year window pass before registering a fresh project?

Lastly, has anybody heard from USGBC on this issue? If Peter's story is common across the market, the current setup seems like it's mortally flawed (as in, nobody will re-certify!). Can we help recommend tweaks that would make re-certification more appealing? As with many LEED-based conversations, we'll be balancing rigor with ease of implementation. Yes, we want to know that buildings are keeping up with their practices and performance. But theoretically, we should make the reporting logistics easier as building continues along its LEED timeline.

Michelle Rosenberger Partner, ArchEcology, LLC Sep 11 2013 LEEDuser Member 6498 Thumbs Up

100% agreed on all these points.

The difference between a performance period that is the entire recert period or even 25% of it and 3 months is so huge as to entirely negate any perceived benefit of recerting. Added to that the "establishment" plans are all insufficient to the new requirements and will require significant revision. There do not appear to be any other financial benefits, excepting the registration fee.

I am posting this because I think it is a real shame that we will be put in the position of advising this client that it makes more sense to start over as if they never spent thousands of dollars and years of time getting the initial certification. It also completely undermines the most important issue of the EBOMEBOM is an acronym for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance, one of the LEED 2009 rating systems. program which is the performance and ongoing tracking that is supposed to follow certification. No wonder this program can't get traction in the market.

As it is, if they start fresh, they also don't enter the 2 year recert cycle of constant performance tracking. They simply start over every 5 years.

Has anyone learned anything new or heard anything from the USGBC on this that would alter this negative reinforcement equation?

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Geoffrey Tomlinson Vaha Sustainable Energy
Nov 20 2012
LEEDuser Member
767 Thumbs Up

Recertification with new criteria

A recently certified EBOMEBOM is an acronym for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance, one of the LEED 2009 rating systems. project will likely need to be recertified under LEED v4. How are they going to treat changes and or new credits during the performance period.

Two examples:

Example 1: Under EBOM 2009, EPA's Design for the Environment is not accepted for green cleaningGreen cleaning is the use of cleaning products and practices that have lower environmental impacts and more positive indoor air quality impacts than conventional products and practices. products. Once LEED v4 is enacted will our client be able to start purchasing EPA products. Or the alternative, if an accepted criteria under an older version is dropped will that no longer count towards recertification. And if yes, what would be the cut-off date? When v4 went live?

Example 2: Demand Response is a new credit under LEED v4 EBOM. If a client wants to earn points for this credit, when should they have a demand response program in place?

Chris Miller Chief Mechanical Engineer, Design Alaska Nov 20 2012 LEEDuser Member 1061 Thumbs Up

I'd like someone from GBCI to confirm this, but I discussed this with Sarah Alexander (Director of LEED Certification) at a technical session at Greenbuild. I asked her this very question, and my understanding is that LEED 2009 projects will be able to use LEEDv4 credits (and LEEDv4 credit language for existing credits).
So, in your case, I believe that EPA DfE products will count for LEED 2009 projects (although, I am not clear on the exact date this will kick in). I hope this helps, and someone else please chime in to confirm.

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