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LEED For Existing Buildings: Hotels And Property Management

Apr 05, 2013

LEED for Existing Buildings: Hotels and Property Management

If you aren't familiar with the LEED certification for existing buildings, hotels, and commercial properties, here's a snippet from the USGBC website that explains the rationale and story behind the certification.

"LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.

Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), LEED is an internationally recognized certification system that measures how well a building or community performs across these metrics: energy savings, water efficiency, CO2 emissions reduction, improved indoor environmental quality, stewardship of resources and sensitivity to their impacts. LEED provides building owners and operators a concise framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions. 

LEED applies to virtually all building types -- commercial as well as residential. It works throughout the building lifecycle -- design and construction, operations and maintenance, tenant fitout and significant retrofit."

Green certification and energy efficiency are 'hot button' issues for many of our hotel owners and property managers. As a general note, all property owners should be aware that LEED certification is dependent on their implementation of green/efficient practices, technologies, and standards. To understand some of these parameters a bit closer, we've consolidated a few of the 'existing building' credits into a simple guide (along with their LEED value). The values or 'credits' are the building blocks to LEED certification, and thus a higher score leads to a higher certification (i.e Silver vs Platinum). All of these suggestions are taken directly from the US Green Building Council website, and do not represent organic suggestions from Temperature@lert.


Advanced Energy Metering (2 points)

Goal: To support energy management and identify opportunities for additional energy savings by tracking building-level and system-level energy use.

Program the facility’s energy management system to set an alarm whenever the energy consumption and peak demand rise above the anticipated amount by more than 5%. The anticipated consumption and peak should be determined by analyzing historical facility performance and weather and operating conditions and should be set on at least monthly, preferably daily. Demand measurements must be taken in time increments no longer than the increments used for utility billing or in one-hour increments, whichever is less time. On at least a monthly basis, report the facility’s utility peak demand and total consumption and compare it with the data for the previous month and the same month from the previous year.


Renewable Energy and Carbon Offsets (up to 5 points)

Goal: To encourage the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions through the use of local and grid-source renewable energy technologies and carbon mitigation projects.

Meet at least some of the building’s total energy use directly with renewable energy systems, or engage in a contract to purchase green power, carbon offsets, or Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs). Green power and RECs must be Green-e Energy Certified or the equivalent. RECs can be used only to mitigate the effects of Scope 2, electricity use. Carbon offsets may be used to mitigate Scope 1 or Scope 2 emissions on a metric ton of carbon dioxide–equivalent basis and must be Green-e Climate certified, or the equivalent. For U.S. projects, the offsets must come from greenhouse gas emissions reduction projects within the United States.


Thermal Comfort (1 point)

Goal: To promote occupants’ productivity, comfort, and well-being by providing quality thermal comfort.

The monitoring system must meet the following requirements- Continuous monitoring: Monitor at least air temperature and humidity in occupied spaces, at sampling intervals of 15 minutes or less.  Monitor air speed and radiant temperature in occupied spaces. Using handheld meters is permitted. An alarm must indicate conditions that require system adjustment or repair.  Specify procedures for adjustments or repairs to be made in response to problems identified. All monitoring devices must be calibrated within the manufacturer’s recommended interval.


As the third suggestion indicates, a temperature monitoring system can be a small piece of a larger green puzzle. While these suggestions attempt to drive the green standard for LEED certification for existing buildings, they also serve as cornerstone 'concern points' for property managers. A temperature monitoring system is designed to promote occupant comfort, but more importantly, should serve as an alerting beacon that informs the operator or owner of a potential problem (relative to temperature).

For our hotel owners and property managers, rising or falling temperatures can indicate A/C failure and malfunction of other HVAC/R equipment. With a temperature monitoring system, imminent adjustments and repairs to other equipment can be highlighted by rising or falling temperatures. The alerting procedures are an important telescope into the temperature status within the building(s), and are thereby crucial for any migrating owner. Guests and/or tenants should be the last line of defense when it comes to building management concerns, and to that extent, guests should not be the primary whistleblowers for problems related to HVAC/R and temperature control. By installing a monitoring system, an owner can keep the management responsibilities out of the minds of guests, and with the proper alerting capability, will benefit tremendously from the invisible layer of supervision that is provided. Check out the US Green Building Council LEED website for more information on energy efficiency, property management, and other tactics for achieving LEED certification.

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