Benchmarking Your LEED-EBOM Best Practices

Many FMs participate in benchmarking programs to see where they stand in comparison to their peers. LEED-EBOM provides some additional opportunities to facilities managers, where benchmarking can be applied to sustainability. You can apply benchmarking to see which LEED-EBOM items have high percentages of implementation by others. By looking at the percent implemented by others, you can see which points may be easier to achieve to increase your LEED-EBOM score; i.e., the “low-hanging fruit.”

Let’s look at the output for a LEED-EBOM building. In this example, by our adding up the points in each of the seven LEED-EBOM sections, we can see in Figure 1 that our current score is 33 points and we need to increase it to 40 points to be eligible for the lowest level of certification.

Now that we know where we stand, it would be very useful to see what the implementation rate is for the individual initiatives that we would consider implementing.

We first define our “filter set”—those buildings that we believe are comparable to ours. See some of the previous papers in this section to see how to define this. That way, we are not comparing our results to the general database, but to only the part that is similar to our building.

We’ll expand the ‘Sustainable Sites’ section to see the detailed sustainability initiatives for this section, as shown in Figure 2.

In Figure 2, we see that there are two credits that we said we are considering implementing for our building (SS Credits 3 and 4) and another many of those with LEED-EBOM have implement (SS Credit 5). Let’s look at these one at a time:

  • SS Credit 3 (Integrated Pest Management et al) will give us one point, if we achieve it. But we note that very few of the companies in our filter set have implemented it (30.1%), and not that many of those with LEED-EBOM have implemented it either (42.9%). This is clearly not one of the “low-hanging fruits.”
  • We already have seven points from SS Credit 4 (Alternative Commuting Transportation et al), but we are seeking nine point. We see that nearly everyone else is achieving that level (86.9% of the general population in this filter set, and 91.7% of those with LEED-EBOM). Thus, this Credit is likely a good one for us to implement.
  • SS Credit 5 (Protect or Restore Open Habitat) is a credit that not many from the general population have implemented (33.3%), but 68.6% of those with LEED-EBOM have implemented it. Perhaps we should consider this one as well.

For any of the Credits in the FM BENCHMARKING system, one can click on the “more” button and see examples of buildings that have achieved that credit. Figure 3 is an example of those who have achieved SS Credit 5.

The criteria listed for SS Credit 5 doesn’t seem to be too difficult. “Develop a plan to preserve and maintain your open space to minimize disturbance of the site. Use native vegetation for at least 25% of the site area, excluding the building footprint.” This would appear to be an excellent LEED-EBOM credit to implement, and you probably would reduce the costs of landscaping on the site by using more native materials.

As you can see, this is a straightforward process to identify the LEED-EBOM items that would be most appropriate to implement. By using the tool in this manner you should be able to identify the ‘low-hanging fruit’ to achieve higher LEED-EBOM scores and get you closer to LEED certification.

Articles are based on data from FM BENCHMARKING, the online benchmarking tool for facilities managers and CREs. Data tracked by FM BENCHMARKING includes cost data (utilities, maintenance, custodial, security), sustainability data, and best practices. For more information, go to

FM BENCHMARKING is a collaboration between Facility Issues and FMLink.