It’s often said that the greenest building is the one that is already standing. But did you know that buildings and their operation use anywhere from 41 to 70 percent of the nation’s energy, depending on their marketing and purpose (source)?

Building owners, operators, and property managers need to minimize waste while maximizing net operating income (NOI), and return on CapEx investments (ROI). Whether sustainability is a value or priority doesn’t matter – the real estate value equation has to make dollars and cents.

There are several sustainability issues that impact building owners and operators. Among those issues:

  • Building inefficiency hides the significant business value (dollars and carbon emissions) that is in plain sight.
  • There are multiple forces – incentives, code required reporting, corporate carbon targets, and investor/stakeholder demands – driving the need for carbon reductions delivered through energy cost savings.
  • Disparate building management systems stand in the way of a lightweight digital solution for building portfolio data management.
  • Building owners/operators struggle to find a right-sized strategy that predictably reduces carbon emissions associated with property and portfolio operation.

On top of that, certain cities and counties have implemented benchmarking and reporting requirements, which add an additional impetus for building owners and operators to manage and minimize energy waste.

Third-party certification of existing buildings has played an important role in helping property managers address these issues. The most widespread solution has been the LEED Existing Buildings Operations + Maintenance certification (EB O+M). But EB O+M was not without its challenges. EB O+M under LEED v4 certification caused budgetary spikes that are difficult to gain approval for; and emphasized a rating over results, thus diluting the ROI. EB O+M certification for multiple buildings in a portfolio has proven to be a cumbersome and time-consuming process with poor predictability. Further, when the building performance is understood without the context of the overall portfolio, portfolio owners must work harder to leverage performance best practices within their organization.


USGBC offers a new path forward with LEED v4.1 and Arc

The Arc platform is intended for use with existing buildings, and LEED v4.1 O+M (or Arc) is 100% performance-based.

LEED v4.1 O+M requires that performance be measured on an ongoing basis using a user-friendly platform called Arc. The initial LEED certification is valid for three years rather than five years and building owners report data annually to maintain certifications. There is a simpler up-front process to get certified, and the project benefits from the continual feedback and reporting that is necessary for the re-certification every three years.

An added upside is that re-certification projects are automatically awarded 10 base points, regardless of which credits were earned in the previous certification. New certifications don’t receive any base points unless they provide documentation for specific credits.

This image is from a building certified under LEED for New Construction, and it indicates that the score is 34. The owner could achieve LEED certification with just 6 additional points.

About Arc

Conventional O+M sustainability metrics often degrade over time. LEED v4.1 delivers significant changes in O+M measures by requiring building owners to focus on how they operate and maintain a building as well as how they build it. LEED v4.1 O+M requires that building owners monitor sustainability indices closely over the building lifecycle; and then maintain and continuously improve them. The advantage is that the Arc platform allows for annual adjustments in the building program, and uses a process closely aligned with a typical building operator’s priorities.

Learn more about the Arc platform here:

Features Benefits
Integrates with ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager Data only needs to be entered one time in a system most Property Managers use now.
Projects are automatically registered with Arc Every building registered in LEED online is already in Arc, making initial benchmarking much easier to accomplish
LEED certification covers the registration fee No additional fees to register the project for up to three years for buildings that are already LEED certified – fee covers annual reporting for a three-year period. Buildings that are not LEED certified will be required to pay a registration fee. The certification fee is reduced for the three-year program.
Annual reporting rather than every five years More immediate benchmarking and feedback about performance.

Can improve LEED rating within three years.

Predictable budget and effort impact.

No change in overall costs.

Simpler data inputs More streamlined and manageable process. It’s easy to do.
More potent strategy development Arc is performance-based, so unique improvement plans can be created that add value to a building; owners will not need to chase LEED credits and their prescriptive strategies that don’t make business sense.

Additional or aligned services

  • Energy audit (optional for recertification)
  • Survey Response Review
  • Policy Development and/or Green Leases
  • Sustainable Program Development

Why Paladino?

Paladino provides white-glove implementation of LEED certification and re-certification through the Arc platform. We work as an advisor and guiding expert, making it clear what information is needed when it is needed, and what insights can be gained from the data. Paladino manages 100% of the workflow including submissions in the Arc portal and provides right-sized action plans to support the improvements necessary to achieve ongoing certification and desired improvement.

Among our strengths:

  • Our experience with LEED makes us highly capable.
  • We provide a portfolio-wide perspective and overall process/procedure improvements.
  • We are an extremely reliable partner and sustainability expert.
  • We can help you tell the story and market the results.
  • We know what works to achieve real performance improvements; we have never chased points.


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