It’s time to take a look at where we are on the path to LEED Certification. Early in the project going back to setting the goals with the client we collectively discussed the sustainability objectives for the project and it was decided to achieve one of the higher levels attainable. Then as a team we reviewed all the available LEED points and set a target for those points we would and could obtain. We identified the points necessary to achieve LEED Gold Certification. We initially set our sights higher than that but resolved after reviewing certain project constraints that we could handily go for gold.
The worksheet and narrative that we used to document our direction was published in our post “LEED-how green is green.” But you can go straight to the LEED Project Checklist by clicking “here.” So what happens next after you set your LEED point goals? Well at that point we incorporate the requirements whether it was energy efficiency, low-emitting materials or other credits into the design and construction documents; drawings and specifications which were explored in “Blueprints / what are they, what are they for.”
Once the project is priced and contracts are signed with a contractor, it’s off to the races in achieving the LEED points for real. This brings us to where we are in the project timeline today. As a refresher, there are 7 categories of LEED points:
- Sustainable Sites (SS)
- Water Efficiency (WE)
- Energy and Atmosphere (EA)
- Materials and Resources (MR)
- IndoorEnvironmental Quality (IEQ)
- Innovation in Design (ID)
- Regional Priority (RP)
The LEED Reference Guide for Green Building Design and Construction is a manual that is about 1 ½” thick and it outlines the requirements for each LEED Prerequisite and Credit. This guide is also the bible for studying for the LEED exam. Within each credit the guide outlines:
- Benefits and Issues to Consider; outlines the sustainable benefits of the credit and important issues like environmental issues and economic issues.
- Related Credits; identifies other credits that are related to the credit
- Summary of Referenced Standard; refers to industry standards applicable to the credit
- Implementation; the steps involved in achieving the credit
- Timeline and Team; where in the project timeline attention needs to be given to this credit and by whom.
- Calculations; outlines the calculations that arte needed for proper documentation.
- Documentation Guidance; outlines the documentation that is needed to achieve the credit.
- Examples/Exemplary Performance/Regional Variations/O&M Considerations/Resources
The documentation process begins with registering the project with the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI). This includes identifying team members and administrators who will access and utilize the site. LEED-Online is the tool for managing and documenting all of the project information and is ultimately the instrument to demonstrate credit compliance. Official review and certification can occur at the end of 2 stages; design and construction. You can also opt out for a combined review at the end of construction which is what FSB has chosen for the Visitor Center.
As we move through construction, it is all about the documentation of each credit. When you go to the online site for your project, you can view the LEED Scorecard. A portion is shown above. The scorecard shows each category and point that you have declared. The second column from the left shows who is responsible for documentation by the use of 2 symbols; a hammer and nail designating the contractor and his team and a crayon (? I prefer to think of it as a smart virtual pen) designating the design team. Let’s look closer at Indoor Environmental Quality, Credit 4.2 Low Emitting Materials-Paints and Coatings. It identifies the contractor as being responsible for documentation. The reference guide outlines the following information is required (and must be entered on-line):
- Calculations; contractor must calculate the total VOC’s (volatile organic compounds) by volume used on the project which must be below specified baseline threshold.
- Documentation; 1. Maintain a list of each indoor paint and coating product used; manufacturers name, product name, VOC data for each product, and allowable VOC. 2. Track the amount of product used and provide the above calculations.
The far right column shows the Assignee or person(s) on the team who is responsible for documentation of the credit. The far left blue column shows points that have been properly documented at the date of printing of the scorecard. To see the full Scorecard click “here.”
We’ll check in on the approach the contractor and design team are taking and how well they are doing on documentation.
Interested in how green your community is? Go to the directory of LEED certified projects at www.usgbc.org/LEED/Project/CertifiedProjectList.aspx