This credit involves a review and analysis of your building’s operational expenses. The goal is to better understand the financial impact on overall operating costs of improvements made during the LEED performance period.
It’s not intended to compare buildings to one another, or to demonstrate that your LEED investments generated specific paybacks. It’s simply valuable for you to understand how your building performs over time. Internal consistency with your accounting methods is more important than whether you categorize expenses in the same way other projects do.
The credit is primarily an accounting exercise—you’ll collect historical financial data detailing the year-to-year expenses for cleaning services, building repair and maintenance, utility bills, and roads and grounds maintenance. You’ll also need to provide information about costs associated with sustainability improvements and LEED project costs that you incur during the performance period.
Many buildings already track this type of information—you’ll just have to note which data categories are relevant to LEED and make sure that you’re categorizing the information properly.
The credit specifies that you provide all the operating cost data for the five years preceding the performance period (or length of occupancy, whichever is shorter). But if you’re unable to provide five years of data, you can still earn the credit if you provide a narrative explaining the gaps in the data.
If you don’t have itemized historical data for all the subcategories, you can still pursue the credit—as long as an accurate total for each broad category is available.
Work closely with your organization’s accounting division when compiling this information. For buildings with relatively detailed records and a helpful accounting department, this credit should be very achievable.
A frequent question on this credit is about how to organize cost data in terms of historical data and the performance period, when the performance period is less than a year or straddles two different calendar years.
If the performance period is less than a full year you can take the known costs for the first part of the year and extrapolate to a full year of costs.
Also, if you have a performance period that straddles two different years, it may make sense to apply only the most recent year to the performance period costs and extrapolate to a full year. But there is no requirement to follow a calendar year and so you could just adjust the timeline to follow a different “fiscal” year. The maximum number of years to apply to the performance period is two years for the initial certification and five years for a LEED-EBOMEBOM is an acronym for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance, one of the LEED 2009 rating sytems. recertification.
Early on in your LEED certification process, consider pursuing this credit. It’s primarily an accounting exercise to collect historical financial data detailing year-to-year expenses in the following areas:
Moving forward, you’ll also need to provide data for costs associated with sustainability improvements and LEED project costs incurred during the performance period. The overall goal is to assess how sustainability initiatives and technologies impact building operating costs over time. Any credit that incurs costs or savings throughout your entire LEED project must be represented in this performance period cost data.
Don’t try to prove anything! You can earn the credit even if your data shows that your sustainability efforts lost money. The intent is to better understand how sustainability efforts affect costs, so data accuracy and completeness is the only requirement.
Establish a procedure for tracking and recording the operating costs of the project building during the performance period. You’ll also need to be able to describe the costs of any improvements made during the performance period that will affect ongoing operational costs.
It’s best for project teams to track financial data using tools and procedures that work for them and their accounting staff. There should not be a need to institute new tools or procedures. If looking for a tool to organize your data, consider using the Cost Analysis Tool (see Documentation Toolkit) to organize your data. This tool was provided under the previous version of LEED Online as a way to record all of the required data. It is still up to the task of tracking your information until you’re ready to enter it into the LEED Online credit form.
You may be able to realize savings from this credit if you use the cost data and analysis to inform capital improvement decision-making.
In order to document compliance, you’ll need to enter all required data into the LEED Online credit form. The credit form will then generate the following valuable information.
You’ll get an itemized comparison of costs tracked during the LEED process with documented expenses for five years prior to LEED certification in terms of:
You’ll get an analysis of sustainability measures implemented in terms of:
You’ll get a summary of overall costs, benefits, and payback in terms of:
The majority of your efforts for this credit will be expended during the performance period. Just make sure that relevant personnel are aware of the type of financial data that will be required for LEED documentation. You can provide them with a copy of the LEED Online credit form outlining the required data.
Collect the overall operating costs of the project building for the previous five years (or length of building occupancy, whichever is shorter). Use the categories and line items specified in the LEED Online credit form for detail on the type of information that is required.
Although it is not explicitly stated in the LEED Reference Guide, if you’ve owned your building for less than five years, it’s acceptable to just provide data for those years as long as you provide a narrative explaining the situation.
If you don’t have itemized historical financial data for the subcategories, you can still pursue the credit as long as an accurate total for that general category is available.
For any data you provide in the LEED Online credit form, make sure you provide at least five years’ worth. If you are unable to provide at least five years of data, you can still earn this credit, but you must provide a narrative explaining why there are gaps in the data.
The critical goal in assembling this building data is not to compare one building to another, but to analyze how your building performs over time. Therefore, consistency in category allocations from year to year is more important than establishing the “right” allocations. For example, if you use microfiber cloths to clean your building and have them professionally cleaned, it doesn’t matter whether you allocate that expense under “Supplies/Materials” or “Miscellaneous,” as long as you allocate it consistently in your records each year.
Most buildings have this data in some form, but project teams need to compile reliable figures and categorize costs accurately to provide the documentation required by LEED.
Work closely with the accounting division of your organization to identify this information. For buildings with relatively detailed records and a willing accounting department, this credit should be very achievable.
Become familiar with the required data and begin tracking cost impacts early in the LEED process. It is much easier to document costs as you go than to investigate costs retroactively.
Track overall operating costs for the project building over the performance period and record the costs associated with significant sustainability actions taken during the performance period.
The LEED Online credit form requires this data to compare to historical operating costs and determine the simple payback of sustainability initiatives.
If the LEED performance period is less than one year, extrapolate costs based on historical trends so that they represent the best estimate of annualized performance period costs.
If operational expenses have not been tracked effectively over time, documenting the building’s historical data may be costly because of the amount of staff time required to capture this information. If your building uses an effective accounting management system, however, the cost of documenting this credit will be lower.
Excerpted from LEED 2009 for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance
To document sustainable building cost impacts.
Document overall building operating costs for the previous 5 years (or length of building occupancy, whichever is shorter) and track changes in overall building operating costs during the performance period. Document building operating costs and financial impacts of all aspects of LEED 2009 for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance implementation on an ongoing basis.
Follow the detailed instructions in the LEED Reference Guide for Green Building Operations & Maintenance, 2009 Edition.
Track building operating costs to identify any positive impacts related to the sustainable performance improvements to the building and its operations.
BOMA is a network of professionals involved in building ownership, management, development, and leasing of buildings. Each year, active members supply operational information, which BOMA publishes in its Experience Exchange Report.
This site provides a detailed description and discussion of the application of life cycle cost analysis (LCCA).
This tool was provided under LEED Online v2 as a way to record all of the required data. It can still be used in LEED 2009 as an effective resource to track all of your information until you’re ready to enter it into the LEED Online credit form.
This PDF walks you through filling out the LEED Online form for this credit, with sample data and tips.
We received the following comment back from the preliminary review on a project: “The average occupancy level (the percentage of the total floor area fully occupied) of the building must be included for each period with cost data. For example, if the data are listed yearly, and the occupancy level is 85% when averaged over a given year, show that number in the data table for that year. TECHNICAL ADVICE: Please specify the average occupancy level of the building with each time period specified in the data.”
Where on the LEED Online form would we input average occupancy levels for each year? There doesn’t seem to be a specific field for this type of information. Any guidance would be greatly appreciated!
I've received this comment as well and I always just add it under Alternative Compliance Path.
We have been adding it next to each Historical Year header and the reviewers accepted that on the last few projects.
I'm trying to clarify how or what to provide in terms of historical data for an O+M project with a performance period that will begin at day 1 of occupancy in an NC project. The building is actually existing, but undergoing a renovation significant enough to meet the NC threshold. Not only is the building being extensively renovated, but the tenant is a completely different type of occupancy.
Thank-you for any help or guidance you can offer.
In this case, I think tracking at least from the first day of the new occupancy would be required. If there has been a change in ownership, then you definitely would not be expected to include operating costs from before the renovation. If it is just a renovation + new tenant, you are getting into gray area as to whether or not you would need to have additional historic operating cost data, as this is not a typical situation.
If ownership hasn't changed and the information is readily available for the 5 years prior to the renovation, I would go ahead and include it.
Can the performance period overlap the historical year? Or should the historical years end before the performance period starts?
There shouldn't be any overlap, in my experience. You don't have to stick with calendar years necessarily, so that might help in avoiding overlap.
I have a project performance period that falls in December of 2010 to February of 2011. I know how to get the predicted numbers for 2011, but I'm wondering what to do with 2010. Do I put 2010 information into both historical and performance period years? Or just in historical years as 11/12 months were before performance period?
I would focus on making your performance period for this credit just the most recent 12 months (for example, May 2011 - June 2010), and then use the same time frame for the previous 5 years in filling out the historic years. Alternatively, if it's more convenient to look at calendar years, you could do Jan-Mar 2011 and extrapolate out for the rest of the year, plus calendar years for 2006-2010 for the historic data.
Some of our clients' sustainable purchases (like ongoing consumablesOngoing consumables have a low cost per unit and are regularly used and replaced in the course of business. Examples include paper, toner cartridges, binders, batteries, and desk accessories., for instance) do not have a simple payback or annual savings. Is it okay to include these items and mark the annual savings as $0.00? Or are sustainable purchases like ongoing consumables not intended for this credit. Similarly for sustainable purchases of durable goodsDurable goods have a useful life of 2 years or more and are replaced infrequently or may require capital program outlays. Examples include furniture, office equipment, appliances, external power adapters, televisions, and audiovisual equipment., are we supposed to come up with an average of kWhA kilowatt-hour is a unit of work or energy, measured as 1 kilowatt (1,000 watts) of power expended for 1 hour. One kWh is equivalent to 3,412 Btu. saved by purchasing an EPEAT laptop over a regular one and how do we aggregate that same data with purchases like electric equipment for site/landscaping maintenance?
John, In my experience people don't try to capture expenses like ongoing consumablesOngoing consumables have a low cost per unit and are regularly used and replaced in the course of business. Examples include paper, toner cartridges, binders, batteries, and desk accessories. in the table, though you could if you wanted to. For durable goodsDurable goods have a useful life of 2 years or more and are replaced infrequently or may require capital program outlays. Examples include furniture, office equipment, appliances, external power adapters, televisions, and audiovisual equipment., I would include computer and site maintenance equipment only if you really went out of your way to make a different choice per LEED, and there were sizable costs/savings implications. There's a fair amount of applicant discretion over including these types of smaller expenditures, so I wouldn't sweat it too much.
I have a client attempting this credit. The performance period for the client is only 3 months but the spreadsheet wants a whole year of "Sustainable Costs" in order to compare it with an average of past years' cost. This makes sense, to compare apples to apples you need years and years. But we just don't have a year of "Sustainable Costs" data to submit. Could we take the 3 month number sand multiply it by 4 to get the whole year? Would we want to explain this with some narrative?
A little confused on how to proceed. Any help would be greatly appreciated!
You've got it Ben - Take your 3 months of data and multiply by 4 to extrapolate a year of costs. It's not a perfect solution but its the best you can do (and its what the GBCI expects).
Can I also have my performance period from January to April 2011 and multiply it with 3 even if the year 2011 is not ended?
If anyone has an example of this method (3 month - 4 month PP) could you please send it our way? crenshawei (at) epb.net - thank you so much!
I understand most credits have a minimum 3 month long performance period, but EA Prereq 2 has a minimum of 12 months. So for the purpose of this credit, would we not include 12 months of information for the performance period building expenses?
The trick with performance periods is that all credits (except EAp2) must have a MINIMUM performance period of 3 months and a MAXIMUM of 24 months, they all just have to end within 30 days of each other.
So for this credit, you can submit 3 months - 24 months of performance period data, but you will have to extrapolate the data if the performance period is less than 12 months.
Hope this helps
I have a client who will have to get ownership buy-in to share the historical costs, as it is proprietary information. Who would have access to this historical data? Is this information shared within GBCI confidentially? I didn't see anything in the reference guide in regards to anonymity of information.
USGBC has said on many occasions that any data collected from LEED buildings that is shared will be anonymous. For exmaple, check what they've said on the Building Performance Partnership. They're really sensitive to wanting to collect data and encourage data analysis, but not dis-incentivize participation by sharing too much data. Does this help?
Yes it does. Thanks again for your help Tristan.
What is the difference of between Unsegregated Cleaning Expenses and Custodian Service cost?
This is on the LEED Online form?
Sounds to me like they could refer to the same thing, but the former is more general and could be any miscellaneous, lumped costs, and the latter is specific to a custodial service.
Ya, both occur in the same form. therefore wonder what is the actual definition of these two.
what will happen if i did not fill either one in the IO form, because there arent any proper definition.
This is more of a question, I currently work in a 395,000 sq ft. manufacturing facility in Ava, Missouri within Emerson Climate Technologies. Our shortime goal is to apply for LEED certification.
I was curious if there were other manufacturing facilities in this area, this area meaning Oklahoma, Arkansas, Missouri, or would you have a little more detailed literature on what it takes to become LEED certified.
Patrick, I don't know of any such facilities offhand but you might want to peruse USGBC's LEED certified project list.
Regarding what it takes to become LEED-certified, that's what this site is all about. We walk you through each credit—what the requirements are, what the common pitfalls are, and how to maximize your performance. We provide hundreds of sample documents. I recommend becoming a LEEDuser member!
As far as the technical details of getting certiifed, LEED Online is your first stop to register a project.
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