You Can LEED Certify Your Tenant Space

December 4, 2010 Off By Chris

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Certification is something that you may think is only for landlords, but did you know that you can work toward obtaining LEED certification on your own tenant space? There is a certification designated by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) called LEED–Commercial Interiors (LEED-CI) that can be gained by tenants whether their building is certified or not.

Certification Categories. There are six categories included in the LEED-CI system: Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality, and Innovation and Design Process. Within these categories, there are certain criteria that when implemented gain you a number of points toward certification.

Prerequisites. Prior to gaining points associated with becoming a LEED Certified Commercial Interior, office tenants need to comply with certain prerequisites. These initial requirements in and of themselves will test your resolve for certification and your commitment to making environmentally friendly business decisions, but they give you a taste of what will lie ahead should you decide to move forward. I have summarized the prerequisites below to provide a real world perspective on what “going green” will mean to you. More detailed information is provided in the Green Rating LEED-CI document published by the Green Building Council.

Prerequisite #1: Water Use Reduction. Employ strategies that in aggregate use 20% less water than the water use baseline calculated for the tenant space by the USGBC (not including irrigation), as included in their Green Rating document.

Prerequisite #2: Fundamental Commissioning of Building Energy Systems. Designate or hire an individual experienced in LEED projects to oversee the installation and calibration of the HVAC, lighting, water and renewable energy systems for your space.

Prerequisite #3: Minimum Energy Performance. In accordance with ANSI/ASHRAE/IESNA Standard 90.1-2007, comply with provisions and requirements, reduce connected lighting power density and install Energy Star qualified equipment.

Prerequiste #4: Fundamental Refrigerant Management. For existing HVAC equipment, conduct an inventory to identify CFC-based refrigerants and replace or retrofit these systems with non-CFC refrigerants.

Prerequisite #5: Storage and Collection of Recyclables. Provide an easily accessible dedicated area or areas for the collection of paper, corrugated cardboard, glass, plastics and metal.

Prerequisite #6: Minimum Indoor Air Quality Performance. Meet the minimum requirements of Section 4 through 7 of ASHRAE Standard 62.1-2007, Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality which includes an evaluation of the mechanical and/or naturally ventilated spaces.

Prerequisite #7: Environmental Tobacco Smoke (ETS) Control. Two options are available for this prerequisite. The first is to locate tenant space where smoking is prohibited by all occupants and users within 25 feet of outdoor intake to the space. The second is to confirm that smoking is permitted only in designated areas served by an HVAC system that is separate from all other building areas and contains, captures and removes ETS from the building in a verifiable way.

Once you have these prerequisites in hand, you are ready to embark upon gaining points toward the official LEED Certification for your space, as outlined in the Green Rating CI Document.