LEED: AT Mechanical's Approach
Design-Build (db) construction
Design-Build construction is not suitable for every type of project, but it is growing in popularity. A 2011 study analyzing the design-build project delivery method in the United States shows that design-build was used on more than 40% of non-residential construction projects in 2010, a 10% increase since 2005.*
Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) utilizes an integrative or Whole Building design approach. A team of professionals design a building, and in the case of Design-Build LEED, construct it. That's why you have to pick your team wisely. Whether it's Plan & Spec's LEED or Design-Build LEED, selecting team members with experience is a must, and selecting team members with a positive attitude towards LEED can make all the difference.
An experienced LEED team member is aware of the time and dollar commitments required for each and every point. This does not raise the cost of LEED; it actually lowers it because an inexperienced team member will tend to overcharge for the service.
Having a positive attitude towards LEED is essential to a successful project that achieves all of its goals. AT Mechanical helps the process by making the LEED process as easy as possible. We do this by focusing in on the points necessary to achieve your desired rating, while simultaneously implementing economical strategies to increase efficiency.
LEED is a rating system for the design, construction and opeartion of high performance green buildings and homes.
(For new construction or LEED-NC there is a 100 point scale - key performance areas include sustainable sites, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources and indoor environmental quality. There are also 10 bonus points available for innovation in design and for regional priorities.)
- LEED was originally developed in 2000 by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC).
- It has more than 7,000 projects in the U.S. and 30 countries.
- There are over 20,000 member organizations that constitute the USGBC.
- LEED certified buildings are meant to use resources more efficiently.
- In 2009, LEED 3.0 was released that changed the scale from a 69 point scale to a 100 point scale. This was done by increasing the points available to certain key performance areas, such as energy efficiency.
- There are several different LEED rating systems, all custom tailored to different types of construction jobs. For example, LEED for Interiors is a rating system designed for tenant improvements and such similar work.
- LEED-certified buildings cost less to operate, reducing energy and water bills by as much as 40%.
LEED-certified buildings are designed to:
- Lower operating costs and increase asset value
- Reduce waste sent to landfills
- Conserve energy and water
- Be healthier and safer for occupants
- Reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions
- Qualify for tax rebates, zoning allowances and other incentives in hundreds of cities.
*This information can be read in further detail at the USGBC website.
- Sustainable Sites: This discourages developing buildings on previously undeveloped land to limit the impact on our ecosystem and waterways. It encourages appropriate landscaping and good transportation choices. It advocates the reduction of light pollution, erosion, heat island effect and construction-related pollution.
- Water Efficiency: This category encourages smarter use of water. This entails installing efficient appliances, fixtures and fittings inside as well as creating water-conscious landscapes outside.
- Energy and Atmosphere: "According to the U.S. Department of Energy, buildings use 39% of the energy and 74% of the electricity produced each year in the United States." This category encourages the implementation of energy-conscious strategies. This could potentially include the usage of renewable and clean sources of energy.
- Materials and Resources: This category encourages waste reduction during the construction and operations phases. Reduce, reuse and recycle!
- Indoor Environmental Quality: "The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates that Americans spend about 90% of their day indoors, where the air quality can be significantly worse than outside." This promotes the improvement of indoor air quality as well as providing access to natural daylight and improves acoustics.
- Locations and Linkages: This category encourages building on previous developed sites and away from areas that are environmentally sensitive.
- Awareness and Education: This encourages home builders and real estate professionals to provide education necessary to help tenants understand what makes the site green and how to make the most of these accommodations.
- Innovation in Design: This provides bonus points for any project that uses innovative technologies and strategies to improve a building's performance beyond what is required by LEED.
- Regional Priority: "USGBC's regional councils, chapters and affiliates have identified the most important local environmental concerns, and six LEED credits addressing these local priorities have been selected for each region of the country. A project that earns a regional priority credit will earn one bonus point in addition to any points awarded for that credit. Up to four extra points can be earned in this way."