- GreenSpec Insights
- Energy Solutions
- BuildingGreen's Top Stories
- BuildingGreen Talks LEED
In our experience with over 200 (real) LEED projects, we have seen four approaches.
The team completes the LEED scorecard and declares victory. There is no mention of LEED in the project manual and the contractor is asked to “make the right green choices.” There is no review of the scorecard after construction. While this is clearly a useless LEED approach, there are many who accept this result. In fairness, some are municipalities that are not able to mandate certification, others are architects who believe their professional training and personal commitment is the correct measure of sustainability.
Specifier’s Response: As always, at least include low-VOC products, high-performance products, and construction waste management in your specs.
The team completes the LEED scorecard, makes a determination of which design credits could be easily achieved, and includes only a few requirements in the specifications. Perhaps construction waste management, FSC-certified wood, and Green Label Plus carpet are sufficient to demonstrate some interest in sustainable design. Data-intensive credits such as recycled content, regional materials, and low-emitting materials are typically avoided. Again, the scorecard is not evaluated after construction.
Specifier’s Response: Match the specs with the LEED credits selected. Include submittals at the level of detail that a LEED audit would require, such as chain-of-custody (CoC) documentation for FSC products and VOC levels for paints, coatings, sealants, and adhesives.
The team completes the LEED scorecard, includes it and all relevant requirements in the project manual, and collects all the data from the contractor, but does not submit to GBCI for certification. The team makes an internal evaluation of whether the goal has been obtained, and declares success. This approach is frequently taken at colleges, where those that manage the projects need to respond to various faculty and student initiatives. There is some certainty that LEED Certification would have been achieved, but typically there is no energy model, no commissioning—generally, little attempt at any credit which involves increased expense.
Specifier’s Response: Again, match the specs with the LEED credits selected. Note that the credit numbering and language for all the different LEED rating systems is slightly different—be sure which LEED program the team is following.
The design team is actually committed to sustainability, and regrets the owner can’t or won’t fund LEED Certification. The energy model is developed early and really informs the design. Products that meet the VOC limits, regional goals, recycled content are specified into the project without reference to LEED. The contractor is asked to include sustainability in their product choices. The contingency fund for construction includes sustainability as a reason for a change order. After all, isn’t that what design is all about—understanding the owner’s requirements and delivering the best result for the funds available?
Specifier’s Response: Same as Approach 3 above, but now there’s the opportunity to go beyond LEED requirements. Make sure environmentally committed firms like Interface and Kingspan have an opportunity to bid. Ask the project owner what their standard products are, to help minimize waste in the future. Look downstream and make sure the NFPA fire door inspections are actually done and documented.
Also read Six Things LEED Consultants Do Wrong in Specs, by Mark Kalin—and join the discussion there.
Mark Kalin is President of Kalin Associates Specifications and currently Chair of CSI’s National Technical Committee. The firm has completed specs for over 200 LEED projects. Free spec downloads and position papers at www.kalinassociates.com.
Check out GreenSpec for guidance on more sustainable building products to include in your project specifications.
We installed these in our new house and they work great. Excellent product.
With a little patience you can find the material information embedded in their pdfs. But it looks to me like some of the...
I so hope you are right in these posts. However , it doesn't matter if LEED is better and the military and others prefer LEED, the senators and..." More...
For higher performance from a mini-split system the outside temperature regime is important to consider. Heat pumps designed for operation in very..." More...
Kevin Gardner says, "
I was looking at the same two models (I live in NH). I ended up going with what my selected contractor preferred (which happened to be Mitsubishi..." More...
Ben Wiechman says, "
We're looking at basically the same situation located in central Minnesota.
I've been looking primarily at the Fujitsu and Mitsubishi split..." More...
A building is created, built, run, impacted, used and abused by dozens, hundreds, and even tens of thousands of the least..." More...
Archives by Category
AIA Convention (18) [RSS]
Authors (7) [RSS]
Awards (7) [RSS]
Behind the Scenes (44) [RSS]
Books & Media (69) [RSS]
BuildingEnergy Conference (3) [RSS]
BuildingGreen Talks LEED (53) [RSS]
BuildingGreen's Top Stories (102) [RSS]
Bulletin (7) [RSS]
Case Studies (27) [RSS]
Colleges and Universities (2) [RSS]
Energy Solutions (278) [RSS]
Events (93) [RSS]
Google Earth/Sketchup (5) [RSS]
Greenbuild '07 (27) [RSS]
Greenbuild '08 (29) [RSS]
Greenbuild '09 (14) [RSS]
Greenbuild '10 (7) [RSS]
Greenbuild '11 (6) [RSS]
GreenSpec Insights (195) [RSS]
LEED (51) [RSS]
Living Future (5) [RSS]
Miscellania (41) [RSS]
Nature & Nurture (70) [RSS]
Op-Ed (65) [RSS]
Passive Survivability (7) [RSS]
Politics (32) [RSS]
Product Talk (103) [RSS]
Q&A (9) [RSS]
Resilient Design (11) [RSS]
Riversong's Radical Reflections (12) [RSS]
Science & Tech (30) [RSS]
Sticky Business (11) [RSS]
The Industry (97) [RSS]
Water Wise Guys (11) [RSS]