May 18, 2010 | bfeldman | Sustainability

Thoughts on LEED

I’m preparing to speak at the “GovEnergy” Convention August 18th, Dallas Texas.  I’m part of a panel discussion on LEED construction.  The attendees are mostly government employees.  They represent all the best TLA’s (three letter acronym) from the Federal Government – DOD, DOE, EPA, HUD, DOJ, FAA, FCC etc.  They expect 3,000 attendees.

I intend to use Emerson’s Data Center as an example for my topic – “What an owner needs to understand about LEED and energy efficiency”.   My experience over the last few years has led me to this belief:  for LEED to reach it’s full potential, owners must become more involved in the process.  It’s not enough to tell the design team “I want a LEED Gold building”.  Owners should be including within the agreement with the team what number of LEED credits is required for specific points dealing with water efficiency and energy efficiency .  These two credit categories have a huge impact on building lifecycle costs.  For instance, an owner might specify:

  1. This project requires 4 points in Water Efficiency Credit 3 (water use reduction)
  2. This project requires the team to earn 7 points in Energy and Atmosphere, Credit 1 (20% above the baseline for new buildings)
  3. This project requires 3 points in Energy and Atmosphere, Credit 2 (on site renewable energy)

It’s common practice for a project to have a budget and to place language into the owner/architect agreement stating that the budget must be maintained.  Certain LEED credits should be no different.  It’s also important to state that not all LEED credits are equal, even if they carry equal weight in the scoring process.  Is one point for using rapidly renewable materials really equal to one point gained in EA Credit 1 – where this point will lead to annual energy savings over a period of 20–30 years?  Is specifying bamboo flooring really equal to increased chiller efficiency?USGBC-leed-logo

Food for thought…..

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