Gaia Writes: Reflections on LEED EB:O&M – Benefits and Analysis

by Chris McKinley, Project Manager


LEED expertise and excellent clients lead to increased sustainability achievements


In addition to Gaia’s work on design and construction for new facilities using the LEED for New Construction rating systems, we have recently certified three (3) facilities in Southern California using the LEED for Existing Buildings: Operation and Maintenance program. These two (2) LEED Gold facilities and one (1) LEED Silver facility represent 738,000 sq ft of building space.


The LEED-EB:OM rating system provides prescriptive strategies for addressing the ongoing operation, maintenance, and the overall performance of existing buildings through the reduction of energy consumption and water use, as well as the pollution associated with the generation and transportation of these commodities. Additionally, the rating system provides several measures to create and validate a sustainability facility, including the following:


- exterior building and site cleaning and maintenance
- interior green cleaning
- integrated pest management
- sustainable and environmentally-preferable purchasing policies for standard office accessories, electronic goods and furniture, construction materials, and lamps/bulbs
- solid waste management programs for standard waste, electronic and furniture waste, and construction waste
- ongoing indoor environmental quality


Similar to other LEED ratings systems, the EB:OM platform promotes proactive and progressive energy efficiency efforts. This includes:

- whole-building energy audits
- comprehensive preventive maintenance measures and system/equipment calibration
- existing building commissioning, including (1) investigation/analysis, (2) implementation, and (3) ongoing commissioning
- energy performance verification using the U.S. EPA’s ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager® program, an online tool used to measure and track energy and water consumption, as well as greenhouse gas emissions


Further, the EB rating system stresses occupant comfort, which requires ongoing indoor environmental quality best management practices. This is achieved by implementing annual building IAQ practices, outdoor air delivery monitoring, and high-efficiency filtration media on fans, as well as individual controllability of lighting and thermal conditions, and accessibility to ambient daylight and exterior views.


To date, nearly 6,000 buildings have received LEED-EB Certification. These sustainable facilities continue to reduce operating expenditure and increase asset value while demonstrating increased tenant retention, energy and water conservation, and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.