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Baker Donelson Center Tennessee's First Multi-Tenant Building To Receive LEED Existing Building Certification


(Nashville, Tenn. / January 7, 2011)  The 229,000-square-foot Baker Donelson Center in downtown Nashville has been certified as a LEED building by the U.S. Green Building Council, becoming the only multi-tenant existing building in Tennessee to be so designated. The building's primary tenants – Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz; Barge Waggoner Sumner and Cannon; and the Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce – will host a breakfast briefing at 9 a.m. on January 14 to highlight the importance of the LEED green building certification programs and celebrate the LEED designation.

At the breakfast, Bob Balzar, Vice President of Energy Efficiency and Demand Response for Tennessee Valley Authority, will make a short presentation on the value that LEED certification can bring to building owners and tenants, as well as to the community as a whole. It will be held in the new Baker Donelson Events Center on the first floor of the building.

The January 14 event is open to the public but registration is required; to RSVP, contact Dianne McDerman at or 615-252-4201.

The LEED certification program encourages and accelerates global adoption of sustainable green building and development practices through a suite of rating systems that recognize projects that implement strategies for better environmental and health performance. The LEED for Existing Buildings rating system helps building owners measure operations, improvements and maintenance on a consistent scale, with the goal of maximizing operational efficiency while minimizing environmental impacts.

"Securing the LEED-EB designation for an existing building involves reviewing a number of existing processes to see how you can improve the building's efficiencies and lower its environmental impact," said Jo Anne Corbitt, director of property management for The Mathews Company, who served as the project coordinator on this effort for the building's owners, Commerce Street Associates.

"It also involves working with all of the building tenants to secure their participation and buy-in for a number of the required elements. But the good news with Baker Donelson Center is that we were working with tenants who already had strong recycling and environmental programs in place and who were immediately engaged in the idea of working in a more environmentally conscious environment."

She noted that the building management is already realizing cost savings from the measures taken as a part of the LEED program. Among the steps that the building management and tenants undertook were the following:

  1. A ramped-up recycling program that includes not only white paper, but also fluorescent tubes, construction materials, cardboard, aluminum and plastic containers
  2. A commissioning process for all HVAC equipment in the building to determine that it was performing as designed and in its most efficient mode, with alterations made as needed
  3. A policy for all new construction that required all contractors to follow the LEED-outlined materials qualifications
  4. An enhanced boiler maintenance program to maximize operating efficiency
  5. An evaluation of all of the electrical service in the building to ensure efficiency
  6. Adding aerators on all bathroom sinks to reduce water consumption
  7. A review and analysis of cleaning products and equipment for LEED standards, which required some minor alterations.

LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance Background Information
LEED for Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance (LEED-EB: O&M) was developed to address the ongoing sustainability processes related to a building’s operation after it was constructed. Where the more common LEED for New Construction (LEED-NC) focuses on the sustainability measures related to the design and construction of new buildings, it provides a "snapshot" solely on the building’s anticipated performance that was developed through the design process. This “snapshot” provides a meaningful guide to a building’s sustainability but is only representative of a single moment in time.

Like other LEED rating systems, LEED-EB: O&M incorporates tools and metrics that are based on industry standards that help promote energy efficiency, water efficiency, sustainable site utilization, minimizing the effects of transportation on the environment, sustainable material selection and other factors that help promote interior environmental quality.

The LEED-EB: O&M rating system has several unique features which differentiate it from other systems. The biggest difference is that it is the only LEED rating certification that has an expiration date. This difference further highlights that, while the other LEED rating systems are a “snapshot” of a building on a particular date, LEED-EB: O&M measures a building’s ongoing performance. Because of this ongoing performance analysis and measurement, recertification occurs on a one- to five-year basis, further highlighting that LEED-EB: O&M certified buildings are sustainably managed and operated. Another significant difference is that LEED-EB: O&M projects require a true whole building process, where the building owner as well as tenants are part of the process. This process starts during the initial certification process and continues by implementing processes and policies that are developed during the certification.

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Johanna Burkett
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