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Kelsey Sheehan is a LEED GA certified Analytics Engineer at PointGuard. She has a B.S. in Building Science with a concentration in Sustainable Building Systems from Appalachian State. Before PointGuard she worked in energy analytics at Highwoods Properties as well as Schneider Electric.

The built world has grown exponentially more complex over the past half-century. Yet, so too has our desire to track and measure energy use and building performance as the systems become more sophisticated. As a result, there are a variety of performance certifications a building can obtain, all seeming to do different things. The complexity of these buildings requires a wide range of standards to produce an optimized and well-rounded building.

Like the human body, a building is a system; many components that contribute to the whole. While there are a variety of certifications that focus on different aspects of a building, today we’ll be focusing on the ones related to energy.  Many more certifications focus on materials, technology, or tenant experience to maximize improvements to the built environment.

These certifications fall under the umbrella of “sustainability” or “green”. The two most familiar ones are LEED and ENERGY STAR. Energy Star focuses mainly on energy and water usage while LEED takes a more comprehensive approach to whole building health. Well and Fitwel are two more that have been around for years that focus specifically on tenant and occupant happiness. A last one that is relatively new but has grown more in the age of high cybersecurity risks is Wired Score.

These certifications sound great on paper, but are they making an impact?

View All Certificates & their Impact

Humans by nature are competitive creatures. This is reflected in the way certifications are presented in the built world. A big motivator for achieving is being able to broadcast a beautiful plaque on the front entrance.

In addition to bragging rights, certifications allow for a wide variety of financial incentives that help buildings stay competitive in an increasingly competitive marketplace. Firms that focus on occupant experience, tenant health and safety, or sustainability goals consistently see better returns on their investment. Furthermore, with more and more focus being directed to a company’s environmental social governance (ESG) standards, they cannot afford to ignore these issues. Read Full Article

Interested in diving further into building certifications? Energy Management Association (EMA) will be hosting a webinar later this month, “Getting Credit: Finding the Best Certification for Your Building” sponsored by PointGuard. You can find more information online here