Since its inception, LEED EBOM (Existing Building: Operation and Maintenance) set a high standard for existing buildings in terms of energy use. Prerequisite #2 in the Energy and Atmosphere section was an Energy Star Portfolio Manager score of 69 or higher. (For more about Energy Star Certification, click here) For many older buildings, that was too far a stretch.
In 2012, USGBC introduced an innovative pilot program called Energy Jumpstart, or “Pilot alternative compliance path – EAp2 Energy Jumpstart,” found on the USGBC web site here. This path allows a building to meet this prerequisite if they just reduce energy consumption by 20% over a 12-month period.
Here’s how it works: Let’s say a building has an Energy Star rating of 50, meaning it consumes less energy than 50% of comparable buildings in the U.S. but more energy than 49%. If they make enough changes through retro-fitting and/or other modifications to move that score up by 20%, to a score of 60, they could now pass Energy and Atmosphere Prerequisite No. 2 through this pilot program.
For buildings with an Energy Star score of 69 or less, which means they have many opportunities to improve, this is an excellent way to reduce their utility bills and have the potential to get LEED-EBOM certification. move that score up by 20%, to a score of 60, they could now pass Energy and Atmosphere Prerequisite No. 2 through this pilot program.
To get started, they need an ASHRAE Energy Audit that will show them what Energy-Conserving Opportunities (ECO) are available. Some items may be low-cost or no-cost (Click here to see our article on this), some may have a higher price tag, but with a greater impact. A well-done audit by a qualified team will show that. (Read “What is an Energy Auditor and Why You Need to Select the Right One” here.)
Be aware that it will take longer than 12 months from the beginning to end of the project before the building can apply for LEED. First the audit must be conducted, then the changes must be made. Then a full 12 months of energy bills are required to show 20% improvement over former energy use.
This is basically the first step, and it’s a wise one to take for any building, even older ones. Why? Because whether or not you apply for LEED certification, you can reduce the amount of money you spend on your monthly utility bills. And that’s good for business.