February 2009, New York, NY-The Met Life building located in Long Island City is the first in New York City to be awarded LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance (LEED-EB:O&M). The building earned a LEED Silver rating with help from Great Forest. The prestigious LEED-EB:O&M standard recognizes green buildings that have achieved a level of sustainable building and operations practices, from recycling programs to energy efficiency.
“LEED for Existing Buildings recognizes what we have been telling our clients all along-that a lot can be done to make a building greener and increase cost savings just by focusing on how a building is operated and maintained. You don’t always need to do expensive renovations or retrofitting,” says Anna Dengler, Great Forest’s Director of Sustainability. “In the case of Met Life, we worked with their recycling and waste reduction programs.”
Great Forest performed an audit of the Met Life building’s waste stream to determine where waste reduction and recycling could be improved, tracked metrics of monthly recycling diversion rates, and worked with building staff on an educational event that featured the building’s recycling goals and samples of recyclable materials. Great Forest engaged people as they were depositing their cafeteria trash to show them where to place various items. The event helped the building achieve an Innovation Credit for educational programming of green building practices.
While LEED for New Construction (LEED-NC) has been popular for newly erected buildings, LEED for Existing Buildings (LEED-EB) has posed a challenge for older buildings in the city. The introduction of the new LEED for existing buildings in July 2008 shifted focus for certification from design to facilities and maintenance.
“I hope this will encourage a lot more existing buildings to green their operations,” says Dengler. “And there’s no better time than now to do this with federal, state and local government incentives available.”
There are currently only two existing buildings in NYC to have received the LEED rating-the NYMEX building under the old LEED-EB system (Certified), and the Met Life building in Long Island City under the new LEED-EB:O&M (Silver).
Established by the U.S. Green Building Council, the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating SystemTM is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction and operation of high performance green buildings.