A track focusing on operations and maintenance has been added to the U.S. Green Building Council's (USGBC's) LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Volume Program.

The LEED Volume Program streamlines the LEED green-building certification process for high-volume property owners and managers, allowing them to earn LEED certification faster and at a lower cost than would be possible with individual building reviews.

“With the launch of the Operations & Maintenance track, LEED’s largest users are now able to make a sizable impact in greening their existing-building portfolio, as well as achieving green design and construction of their new builds,” Scot Horst, senior vice president, USGBC, said. “Because existing buildings make up the vast majority of the U.S. building stock, and the existing-building market is nearly 100 times larger than the new-construction market, tools like this are essential to reducing energy consumption from this sector.”

The Operations & Maintenance track was shaped by 11 commercial real-estate firms, national retailers, hospitality providers, colleges and universities, local and state governments, and federal agencies: Cushman & Wakefield, Bentall Kennedy, City of San Jose (Calif.), Kohl’s Department Stores, Stop & Shop, Bank of America, the University of Florida, American University, the University of California Santa Barbara, Wells Fargo, and InterContinental Hotels Group.

“The LEED Volume Program benefitted both our corporate tenant and investor clients by providing a streamlined and cost-effective approach to certification,” John Santora, client solutions, Cushman & Wakefield, said. “It also allowed us to educate and empower our management professionals so that they are now able to implement sustainable operations and practices at our properties.”

Currently, 18 Cushman & Wakefield properties representing 8 million sq ft of commercial real estate are certified.

“Achieving one of the nation’s first groups of certifications using the LEED Volume Program for Operations & Maintenance across such a diverse portfolio of assets demonstrates our strong belief in the importance, long-term value, and opportunities presented by improving the sustainability of existing buildings, in addition to new construction,” Christian Gunter, vice president, Bentall Kennedy, which has certified 45 buildings representing more than 8 million sq ft of commercial space through the LEED Volume Program, said.

More than 625 building projects, including Starwood Hotels & Resorts, The PNC Financial Services Group, Best Buy, Marriott, Citigroup, and Starbucks Coffee Co., have been certified through the LEED Volume Program since its launch in November 2010.

To learn more about the LEED Volume Program, click here.