Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, is a voluntary, consensus-based, market-driven program through the U.S. Green Building Council that provides third-party verification of green buildings. LEED provides building owners and operators with a framework for identifying and implementing practical and measurable green building design, construction, operations and maintenance solutions. In recent years, Weigand Construction has been active in the LEED construction initiative, with five LEED accredited professionals on staff and participation in the LEED certification process on new buildings.
LEED Certification Considerations
When determining at the onset whether a construction project will be directed toward achieving LEED certification, many variables come into play, including the source of project funding, available grants, existing site conditions, and policies adopted by various organizations. The most notable factor with building owners is often the cost associated with becoming LEED certified, as well as the continual record keeping required subsequent to certification.
In most cases, building owners are receptive to LEED construction principles that either do not add any cost to a project, or provide a reasonable financial return. Weigand Construction has identified several of the LEED credits that meet these criteria, and will bring these to the team’s attention during the pre-construction phase so that a determination may be made as to whether they should be incorporated into the project. Additional sustainable credits will also be discussed that may involve initial cost but provide a reasonable financial return in energy usage over time, such as a large pond in close proximity to a building utilized for a heat pump system, as an alternative to a traditional rooftop unit HVAC system.
Examples of items that can be incorporated into a project’s scope of work at minimal or no cost:
- Site Selection – Use of existing property with minimal impact on the environment.
- Public Transportation – Project is located within close proximity of public transportation limiting automobile use.
- Provide a high ration of open space relative to building footprint exceeding local zoning requirements.
- Heat Island Effect – Use of a highly solar reflective roof system.
- Light Pollution Reduction – Minimize light trespass from a building to reduce “sky-Glow” during the evening hours.
- Water Efficient Landscaping – Reduce or eliminate the need for a landscape irrigation system.
- Storage and Collection of Recyclables – Facilitate the reduction of waste generated by building occupants during and after construction. Provide separate dumpsters for different types of recyclable materials.
- Use of construction materials made from recycled products.
- Regional Materials – Use of building materials manufactured within a 500-mile radius reducing environmental impacts resulting from transportation,
- Minimum Indoor Air Quality – Establish minimum indoor air quality performance standards meeting the minimum requirements as defined by ASHRE 32.1, 2004 edition.
- Environmental Tobacco Smoke Control – Prohibit smoking in the building.
Whether you choose to implement a no-cost option or pursue LEED certification, our team of experts will help you arrive at the best solutions to suit your needs, both now and in the future.