Question: Enesa asks: What are the standards that one old building has to fulfill in order to get LEED certification?


LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance (LEED EB:O&M) is the applicable rating system for existing buildings.

This rating system addresses building exterior and site maintenance programs, efficient and optimum use of energy and water resources, purchase of environmentally preferred products and food, waste stream management and on-going indoor environmental quality. The rating system provides guidelines for whole building maintenance and cleaning, material use, and recycling programs, as well as system upgrades to improve energy, water consumption, indoor environmental quality.

To achieve LEED certification, the project must meet all prerequisites and earn a minimum of 34 points in the rating system. Additionally, LEED EB:O&M requires buildings to score at 69 points on the EPA’s Portfolio Manager Tool as one of its prerequisites.

Minimum Program Requirements

The building must also meet the following minimum program requirements to pursue certification:

• Must comply with federal, state and local environmental laws from initial LEED EB – performance period through the expiration date of the certification.

• For certification under O&M, the project must include at least one existing building in its entirety.

• LEED project boundary includes all land that was or will be disturbed for the LEED project that is owned by the LEED project party. Manipulation of boundaries (gerrymandering) is not allowed.

• The minimum floor area requirement for certification is 1000 square feet.

• The LEED project scope must include 100% of the total floor area of each building in the certification application. The exception is for operations under separate management control for a portion of a building up to 10% of its floor area.

• The LEED project’s total gross floor area must be at least 2% of the gross land area within the LEED project boundary.

• Project must grant the USGBC and GBCI access to whole-building energy & water usage data for a period of at least 5 years.

• Minimum occupancy rate: The buildings must be fully occupied for at least 12 continuous months preceding certification application. Vacant tenant space measuring 25% or less of the building floor area is permitted, as time averaged over the previous 12 months. For an apartment, hotel, dormitory, convention center, classroom, sports facility, or similar structure, ordinary partial occupancy is permitted.

• Performance period: A minimum of 3 months to a maximum of 24 months is the performance period for initial existing buildings for all credits and prerequisites. This excludes the energy performance credit and prerequisite, for which the minimum is 12 months.

In the case of re-certification, if the credits are not earned initially, the performance period is the same as for initial certification. If the credits are earned, the entire period between previous certification and current application is the performance period.


imageVineela Kasi Reddy, LEED AP BD+C

Vineela is an Architect, LEED AP BD+C and a GRIHA (Indian green building rating system) certified evaluator. She is currently working on understanding the financial implications of sustainability.

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