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John Bunzick, CCS, CCCA, LEED AP
Senior Member
Username: bunzick

Post Number: 918
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Tuesday, June 24, 2008 - 11:51 am:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

We are finding occasional projects where the owner would like to improve the sustainability of their projects, but doesn't want to use LEED. This may be another level 'below' the idea of specifying LEED without USGBC certification. Has anyone specified a project where things like regional content were merely 'suggested'? What other approaches are being taken to improve sustainability and put some requirements for this on the contractor, yet not go to the extent of LEED? Are there other forms of sustainable documentation being requested? General thoughts?
Anne Whitacre, FCSI CCS
Senior Member
Username: awhitacre

Post Number: 790
Registered: 07-2002
Posted on Tuesday, June 24, 2008 - 12:05 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I worked on a number of projects where the Owner "wanted LEED but didn't want to pay for LEED". the problem of course, is that without the LEED submittal, its pretty hard to get anyone to document anything on the project so you never really know what you've gotten.

One strategy is to prequalify contractors so that you get one with LEED experience, and then sit down with them and explain the Owner's sustainability goals and get some contractor buy-in to the idea of selecting regional and recycled products. Some contractors are more on board with that idea than others, and you want to get one who will carry through.

You should keep the commissioning aspects of LEED, since (in my opinion) that is really the heart of getting a good building for the Owner.

you can still request documentation, but of course there is a cost related to that. and you will need to get some understanding about where the Owner's priorities are -- invariably there will be some conflict regarding low cost/"right thing to do", or design/sustainability. (typical: for a LEED project in Seattle, the "right" limestone was from Idaho, but the Owner liked the French limestone better and decided to use that.)

so many basic materials (steel, concrete, wallboard) have recycled content now that its pretty easy to emphasize that for a project, and not worry about the occasional wall treatment that isn't; you can plan for higher performance mechanical and electrical systems, and put enough insulation to make a difference. those are all easy things to do, and will move the idea forward with little project related "pain".
Mark Gilligan SE, CSI
Senior Member
Username: mark_gilligan

Post Number: 61
Registered: 10-2007
Posted on Tuesday, June 24, 2008 - 12:28 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I think the Owner needs to be clear on what they want and then manage the process to make it happen.

Suggestions and contracts do not work well together. The Owner suggests but what is the Contractor's motivation? If you are not able to articulate what you "want" you are not likely to get it.
Bob Johnson (Unregistered Guest)
Unregistered guest
Posted on Tuesday, June 24, 2008 - 12:16 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I have specified a couple of projects (private developer projects) that wanted sustainable design incorporated into the design but were not interested in all the LEED bureaucratic submittals and paperwork.

I specified the projects just like a LEED project except deleting all references to LEED and all the LEED submittals. The sustainable design requirements that are typically in the specs were specified in the same way - minimum recyclable content, maximum VOC's etc. Also did waste management and sustainable design sections in Division 01 stating the Owner's goals and requirements for sustainable design without references to LEED and LEED credits. Just like LEED you make decisions on what sustainable design features you are going for.

Actually, I find those projects much more enjoyable and fullfilling than LEED projects where I find that everyone seems to caught up in the "LEED game" of what is the minimum I have to do to obtain LEED credits and losing sight of the real goal of a good sustainable design. You do not have to do a LEED or any other of the rating systesm to do a project with good sustainable design.

We made a significant effort to add sustainable design requirements to the RTKL master specification back in the late 90s well before LEED came out. I have found it interesting that I have to actually reduce some of those sustainble design requirements we had included when I do a LEED project.
Peggy White, CSI, CCS, CCCA, LEED AP
Senior Member
Username: peggy

Post Number: 11
Registered: 07-2007
Posted on Tuesday, June 24, 2008 - 02:03 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

LEED is a benchmarking tool that facilitates sustainable design practices. Step back from LEED Credits for a moment and think of them as potential strategies that can help you achieve your client's goals. Do they want energy efficiency? Probably yes. Would they like to have a healthy building? Ditto. Do they want to protect the building site? Probably. Determine which sustainble goals are most important to the client, and use the LEED benchmarking criteria to help you achieve those goals.

Its not rocket science and it doesn't have to be a paper chase - its integrated sustainable design.
John Bunzick, CCS, CCCA, LEED AP
Senior Member
Username: bunzick

Post Number: 919
Registered: 03-2002
Posted on Tuesday, June 24, 2008 - 04:20 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I think Anne is getting at the heart of my question: if we're not getting the LEED documentation, how do we know whether we've achieved any of the owner's stated goals? What are firms doing in this regard?
J. Peter Jordan
Senior Member
Username: jpjordan

Post Number: 278
Registered: 05-2004
Posted on Tuesday, June 24, 2008 - 04:42 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Most of the information you will need to verify the sustainability aspects of building products and systems will be contained in the product data submittals. The current requirements may be augmented with "Include data indicating..." We have been requiring separate LEED submittals so that we have a separate record for LEED certification in case of audit. If you want the Contractor to track the portion of products that are "green", you may want to modify the Division 01 Section "Submittals."

There is nothing magic about LEED submittals that makes them terribly different from the other submittals required. It is what is done with them that is different.
Bob Johnson (Unregistered Guest)
Unregistered guest
Posted on Tuesday, June 24, 2008 - 04:59 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

I agree with Peter and that was what I was trying to say (not very clearly) about deleting separate LEED submittals for products. You are just talking about some other additional characteristics of products that you want included with the product data submittal (I think most of them are already in the product data anyway in today's greenwashing world). Other sustainable design submittals such as IAQ management plans of course are a different category and may require a separate submittal.
Beth (Unregistered Guest)
Unregistered guest
Posted on Thursday, June 26, 2008 - 03:19 pm:   Edit PostDelete PostPrint Post

Green Globes is an alternative, and much easier to impliment.

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