At some point, most of us have heard about LEED, Green Globes and Energy Star as examples of benchmarking and rating systems within the realm of green building and sustainability; however, recently, another term has been thrown in to the mix: BOMA 360. With all of these programs out there, it can get confusing for members of the commercial real estate industry to navigate the differences between them and ultimately decide the value they bring.At some point, most of us have heard about LEED, Green Globes and Energy Star as examples of benchmarking and rating systems within the realm of green building and sustainability; however, recently, another term has been thrown in to the mix: BOMA 360. With all of these programs out there, it can get confusing for members of the commercial real estate industry to navigate the differences between them and ultimately decide the value they bring.
It can be agreed upon that all of these programs have the common goal of determining how well a building performs either to serve as a baseline for making improvements or to showcase the positive ways a building is already functioning. What sets BOMA 360 apart from the rest is its approach to determining the holistic performance of a building, hence the 360 title. Whereas the other programs focus primarily on energy usage and sustainable operation, BOMA looks at six areas of focus that contribute to exceptional building performance: Building Operations & Management, Life Safety/Security/Risk Management, Training & Education, Energy, Environment & Sustainability and Tenant Relations & Community Involvement.
In other words, the rating of a building's performance is based on everything from continuing education of onsite building engineers to consistent energy auditing to advocacy within the industry by applicants. In general, BOMA 360 can be seen as an excellent complement to a LEED or Green Globes certification because, in addition to comparing a building to others based on energy usage, BOMA 360 allows one to look at overall management practices as a means of comparison.
The process of achieving a BOMA 360 certification is contingent mainly upon the compiling and submission of required documentation. For example, under the Life Safety/Security/Risk Management category, buildings can achieve points by having an Emergency Communications Network. One method of doing this is showing participation in REISAC (Real Estate Information Sharing and Analysis Center) through subscription to email notifications. As another example, under the Environment & Sustainability Category, with regard to Traffic Reduction Initiatives, applicants merely need to describe their carpooling practices, use of bike racks, etc. to gain points.
Applications are accepted daily and designation is conferred quarterly. Renewal is required every 3 years. Compared to other certifications, the cost of BOMA 360 is reasonable at an estimated $950 compared to $5,200 for LEED EB and $8,285 for Green Globes certification. This cost is based off of the building square footage and discounts are given when portfolios including 10 or more buildings seek the designation. Currently, nearly 550 buildings have been designated with the BOMA 360 label, and cities such as San Francisco, Washington, D.C., Atlanta, Dallas and Houston having more than 25 BOMA 360 buildings.
Obtaining a BOMA 360 label shows current or prospective tenants that a building is going to be a safe, comfortable, efficient and healthy place to work. It reflects the investment given to ensure all components of a building are functioning properly from traditional energy usage line items such as the lighting, plumbing and HVAC systems to additional considerations such as the training of the building's personnel, recycling programs, insurance coverage and surveillance systems. BOMA 360 shows the entire spectrum of actions that a building's team is taking beyond merely “going green” and addresses all of the issues that property management professionals must address.