Category Archives: LEED ®

Optimizing Energy Performance – the big score

grass, earth and sky

Counting LEED credits can be nerve-racking. Do we have enough to get the LEED certification level that has been our goal. The closer the project gets to completion, you begin to find out that you either have the credits or you don’t. And if some credits are becoming questionable, you may be running out of time to make sure that you have them bagged.

Well, we are in the final tally stage of the project and we find ourselves asking questions like, “I thought we had that point. How did it slip through our fingers? Or, can we still find a way to get that one? Or, Yes! We’ve got that one in the bag.” Continue reading

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LEEDing Us to Water – minding conservation

Water Conservation

In the developed world where most of us reading this post live, we tend to take clean water for granted. And we are often wasteful. We even pay crazy prices for it packaged in plastic bottles. Natural mineral water has been elevated to a gourmet status with bottling and labeling rivaling what we find on fine wine racks.

We don’t think much about water consumption in general when in fact globally water is scarce. This is a cruel fact when you consider that nearly 1 billion people in developing countries across the globe do not have access to it. For them, clean, safe drinking water is seriously scarce. Continue reading

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Tracking LEED Credits – guest post / take one

 Derek and staff

I was recently contacted by a lady named Aundraya Ruse regarding the FSB Blog. She is with a company that provides software advice to clients and shared a recent article her company published about software tools that can help construction contractors track activities to properly achieve each LEED point for their project. I took a look and it was an interesting article. Our continued correspondence led to discussions about having them as a guest author on the FSB Blog.

She introduced me to Derek Singleton/ERP Analyst at Software Advice and we eventually had a telephone interview. He only had one photo of himself, so in order to make it into a collage I took the liberties of taking an Andy Warhol approach to manipulating the singular photo in my possession (sorry Aundraya). So here’s my interview with Derek. Continue reading

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LEEDing the Way – documentation


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.” Continue reading

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Getting to Know the Players-Take Seven

Chris Willis

Interview by Fred Schmidt

Getting to Know the Players-Take Seven

Chris Willis is one of the structural engineers on the Visitor Center project. You previously met Tom Bush also a structural engineer. Chris’s greater area of expertise and focus for project is the structural steel.

Chris, recap for the followers what your role is on this project.

Chris: My role is to take care of the superstructure, complete the plan sheets and work out the most important details for the purpose of detailing the structure.

Now that you have been working on the project and it’s under construction, what do you think about the project in general? Continue reading

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The Vertical Ascent – steel rising skyward

Reaching Skyward

The structural steel and its installation at the job site is one of the major construction activities that have been ongoing in recent weeks. The steel pieces had been previously delivered to the job and were being stored in available open areas on the very space constrained site for the Visitor Center. Two groups of steel have been placed first. The vertical steel columns surrounding the high bay Gallery area and the horizontal beams that will support the raised floor slab in the same high bay Gallery area. Continue reading


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Transparency – seeing through it all

Gallery-west end

The Gallery space is surrounded by exterior walls of glass. The configuration of this space and the resulting amount of glass was by design. The concept for this space and the goals for the building as a whole go back to the Visioning phase of the project. Continue reading

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Air Time – special delivery

Orange Delivery System

The mystery building delivery system that concluded the last post is part of the heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) system. More specifically it is part of the HVAC air delivery. There are several different air delivery components to the HVAC system that include rectangular metal ductwork, round metal ductwork, flexible ductwork and under floor ductwork. With the ductwork there is a whole series of accessories that include duct liners, insulation pins and washers, sealants, gaskets, hangers and supports. Continue reading

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Delivering the Goods – building delivery systems

Birdseye View Visitor Center

There are a number of systems within the building that are designed to deliver something unique and specific to that system. We have discussed some of these already, but there are several more that we will see being installed at the project in the weeks to come. Some of these unique delivery systems include: Continue reading

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Other Underground Movements

Floor Plan

There are other things moving about underground at the Visitor Center. Within the assembly of the building, there are several other systems moving about under the floor slabs.

  • Storm Drain Lines
  • Sanitary Sewer Lines
  • Grey Water Lines
  • Conduits for Power
  • Conduits for Communications/Data

Throughout design and the development of construction drawings there is a lot of planning that goes into systems integration and coordination and how all these building systems are woven together in a tidy manner. Within the construction sequence, the building must be layered from the ground up and there are certain systems that must go into the ground before being covered up. This post focuses on the systems that are placed underneath the concrete slab on grade. Continue reading

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