Dodge HVAC Pitfalls in LEED-EBOM

How the ventilation prerequisite can present barriers without careful planning



Is your building bringing in enough outside air to meet LEED-EBOM requirements? There are three ways to determine whether your HVAC system performs well enough.

2) Troubleshooting
Having trouble meeting the requirements? It may be due to one of these three issues:

Malfunctioning equipment: This can interfere with data collection as well as meeting the ventilation requirements, Ashworth notes.

“For example, the actuator arm might be broken,” Ashworth adds. “The system says it’s open, but if you go out there and look, it’s closed. You might need to fix things, open a damper, or reprogram setpoints that were changed in the system.”

Building systems that aren’t up to speed: Sizable variations in space types over time can complicate certification efforts, says Nicole Snarski, sustainability project manager at Cassidy Turley.

“Think of an old, traditional law firm space that has huge offices for lawyers and big open spaces for support staff in the middle of the floor plan,” Snarski explains.

“That requires a significantly different outside air scheme than some of the collaborative workspaces where two to four times as many people would be in that space,” Snarski adds. “The requirements fluctuate based on the number of people you fit into a space, which is changing over time. Unfortunately, a lot of the building mechanical systems aren’t being upgraded and retrofitted as the tenants change.”

Misinterpretation: An incorrect understanding of how to meet the requirements can throw a wrench into your certification plans, says Evan K. Tyroler, vice president and principal of Cassidy Turley Sustainability Services.

“Some people don’t understand that it’s not testing and balancing. Determining how much outside air you’re introducing into the building is a separate measurement,” Tyroler explains. “The bottom line is that if you have the right team and understand how your building is operating, you can be very successful with this portion of the LEED requirements.”


Janelle Penny janelle.penny@buildings.com is associate editor of BUILDINGS.


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