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by Aman Singh Das | August 05, 2010


Last month, I wrote about a revelation I had as an EDF Climate Corpsfellow working at PepsiCo. Through analyzing the company’sutility bills and compilation of data about its electricity, water and gasusage, I debunked a myth that the PepsiCo facility near Dallas, Texas (where I'mworking this summer) was far from becoming LEED certified.

In realizing that the facility could, infact, meet many of the USGBC’s LEED rating system prerequisites, I havebeen filling out my draft LEED scorecard and plotting the best way for thebuilding to acquire enough LEED points to become a certified greenbuilding.

In order to reach my goal of at least a Silverlevel certification, I will need to seek out ways to pick up 50 points intotal. Below, I have outlined areas where PepsiCo and other companies can beginto look for easy-to-pick-up points.

Optimizing energy performance

The EDFClimate Corps Internship connects MBA students with companies on want to focuson becoming more sustainable in their operations by focusing on energy efficiencysolutions. Peter Petropoulos is part of their 2010 class

At up to 18 points, optimizing energy performanceis one of the best opportunities to gain some key points. So far, I havefound opportunities for PepsiCo in:

--Changing the operating schedule of the airhandling units
--Connecting additional lighting not currently connected tothe central control system already on site
--Retro-commissioning the HVAC system, which was designedfor a 24/7 call center though PepsiCo is not run 24/7
--Installing occupancy sensors in the many conference roomsthat lack them

All together these energy efficiency projectsshould yield three to four points, which may not sound like much but arecritical points to the overall success of the project.

Stretching vision to new areas ofsustainability

As the comprehensive LEED rating system does notsolely rely on energy use, I have had to stretch the energy-specific knowledgeI acquired during the Climate Corps training into new areas ofsustainability through:

--Writingan integrated pest management plan to reduce the use of toxic chemicals:1 point
--Monitoringthe purchasing of consumables and switching to those with more recycled content: 1 point
--Regularlyinspecting dumpsters to examine waste stream and ensure that materials arenot going to the landfill unnecessarily: 1 point
--Installingplumbing fixtures that exceed the minimum requirements for water efficiency:1 point

What have I learned from all of thissnooping around? When seeking a LEED certification, there are a few pitfalls towatch out for:

1.Don’t expect what you don’t inspect.

Just because the recycling policy is in place,filters are supposed to be changed every six months,or the lights go off "automatically" at 7 PM, does not mean thatthese things actually happen 100% of the time. If it is theresponsibility of the janitorial staff, security, one of the on-site vendors,etc., regular audits to the policies are the only way to ensure that they areworking.

2.Get creative.

LEED is expansive and once you make it past theprerequisites, there are no required points. It is important toinvestigate all of the opportunities, pursue your best options, and try not toignore the less exciting topics – the points can add up fast.

3.You can't win if you don't keep score.

There is more to LEED than what is spelled out inmost reference books. Do your research. There may be extra pointsavailable for regional priorities in your area. There are pointsavailable for innovations that your team comes up with. There are evenpoints for exemplary performance if you blow the requirements out of thewater. It is critical to keep track of each point, each possible point orpoints that should be eliminated. Cost per point is another good metricto track to help steer your plan down the optimal path.

--By Peter Petropoulos, EDFClimate Corps fellow at PepsiCo, MBA candidate at Booth School of Business, University ofChicago, Memberof NetImpact

Thisis Peter's second post in a series of blogs that In GoodCompany will host this summer in collaboration with EDF, featuring fellows from their 2010 Climate Corpsclass, as they journey through their internships. With their posts, theseinterns will give us a rare lens into the behind-the-scenes operations atcompanies who are proactively discussing corporate sustainability, one conversationat a time. See below for other posts From The Intern Diaries.


Filed Under: CSR

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