Skip to Main Content Skip to Footer

Return to BOK Home

Abstract: Sustainable Design and Construction

Sustainable design and construction techniques seek to make institutions climate neutral.

LEED Overview

LEED is an internationally recognized  certification program that trains institutional managers to measure  and ensure sustainability in commercial construction and renovation  projects.  Building  environmental performance over its lifespan is projected and evaluated  in nine categories: integrative process, location and transportation,  sustainable  sites,  water  efficiency, energy and atmosphere, materials and resources, indoor environmental quality, innovation in design, and regional priority. This process requires  a  designated  project leader to steer the designation process, project registration with USGBC, and adherence to the LEED registered project checklist, which rates buildings as certified, silver, gold, or platinum.  The project leader is  not required to be a LEED Accredited Professional, but it   is helpful and can benefit the project score with an additional point award for having a LEED AP on the  project team.

Sustainable Sites

This section outlines guidelines for maintaining sustainability in land use. Clearing land can block waterways through soil erosion; storm water runoff can  be altered by paving and building; and increased lighting can impact wildlife. One prerequisite and six available credits are part of the certification process. Prerequisite  to 1 (Construction Activity Pollution Prevention) seeks to minimize erosion, waterway sedimentation, and airborne dust (in compliance with EPA regulations). Credit 1 (Site Assessment) calls for a review of opportunities to

identify topography, hydrology, climate,  vegetation, views, and proximity to transportation, health care, and infrastructure characteristics, which can be leveraged to increase sustainability. Credit 2 (Site Development: Protection of Restored Habitat) promotes reclamation of green spaces and conservation. Credit 3 (Open Space) encourages building  of  outdoor  spaces,  vegetated spaces for congregation. Credit 4 (Rainwater Management) promotes designs that reduce the volume  of runoffs and seeks to improve water management through natural hydrology. Credit 5 (Heat Island Reduction) addresses the heat island effect that results from dark roofs and dark nonroof surfaces that absorb heat from the sun. Credit 6 (Light Pollution Reduction) promotes the reduction of project-generated glare and glow, which negatively affects wildlife.

Water Efficiency

This section outlines guidelines for efficient water usage. Three prerequisites and four credits are part of the certification process. Prerequisite 1 (Outdoor Water Use Reduction) requires reducing outdoor water usage to 30 percent of baseline landscape watering requirements or avoiding irrigation. Prerequisite 2 (Indoor Water Use Reduction) requires reducing indoor water usage to 20 percent or less of existing baseline water fixture consumption. Prerequisite 3 (Building- Level Water Metering) promotes monitoring and modifying water usage based on water meter data.

Credit 1 (Outdoor Water Use Reduction) encourages the reduction or elimination of use of potable water in land irrigation. Credit 2 (Indoor Water Use Reduction) endorses the use of alternative water sources. Credit 3 (Cooling Tower Water Use) advocates  minimizing  levels of potable water used in cooling towers or evaporative condensers. Credit 4 (Water  Metering)  promotes  the use of water usage data to identify opportunities to conserve.

Energy and Atmosphere

This section reviews techniques for energy use reduction and atmosphere improvements. Four prerequisites and seven credits are part of the certification process. Prerequisite 1 (Fundamental Commissioning and Verification) addresses the need to ensure that building systems are properly installed and work per system specifications. Prerequisite 2 (Minimum Energy Performance) codifies minimum energy performance as a baseline for optimized energy performance comparisons. Prerequisite 3 (Building- Level Water Metering) requires monitoring water use based on data gathered from an energy meter.

Prerequisite 4 (Fundamental Refrigerant Management) prohibits the use  of  chlorofluorocarbon  (CFC) refrigerants in new buildings and requires a phase-out in older buildings to reduce ozone depletion. Credit 1 (Enhanced Commissioning) encourages in-house staff training. Credit 2 (Optimize Energy Performance) advocates reduced energy usage. Credit 3 (Advanced Energy Metering) promotes  modifying  water  usage based on data gathered from an energy meter. Credit 4 (Demand Response) encourages reducing energy use by participating in a demand response program. Credit 5, (Renewable Energy Production) provides incentives for projects to create energy from renewable resources.

Credit 6 (Enhanced Refrigerant Management) expands on the CFC reduction goals in Prerequisite 4. Credit 7 (Green Power and Carbon Offsets) promotes the use of renewable energy certificates.

Materials and Resources

This section emphasizes resource utilization techniques to reduce landfill waste and transportation emissions. Two prerequisites and five credits are part of the certification process. Prerequisite 1 (Storage and Collection of Recyclables) encourages institutions to develop recycling initiatives and procedures.

Prerequisite 2 (Construction and Demolition Waste Management Planning) outlines processes for reducing construction waste routed to landfills by separating recyclable materials from trash. Credit 1 (Building Life- Cycle Impact Reduction) encourages reducing waste through reuse of construction material. Credit 2 (Building Product Disclosure and Optimization) promotes reducing waste by using products that minimize life- cycle impacts. Credit 3 (Building Product Disclosure and

Optimization: Source of Raw Materials) recommends products that are certified as environmentally sound. Credit 4 (Building Product Disclosure and Optimization: Material Ingredients) similarly recommends environmentally sound materials. Credit 5 (Construction and Demolition Waste Management) expands on the prerequisite to reduce landfill waste.

Indoor Environmental Quality

This section outlines processes that improve indoor environment quality. Two prerequisites and nine credits are part of the certification process. Prerequisite 1 (Minimum IAQ Performance) requires  that  building Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) comply  with  the ASHRAE standard for ventilation of indoor air quality. Prerequisite 2 (Environmental Tobacco  Smoke  Control)  details tobacco exposure guidelines. Credit 1 (Enhanced Indoor Air Quality Strategies)  outlines  two  options:  (1) enhanced IAQ strategies, which advocate the use of dirt collection systems, industrial area exhaust management, and filters rated MERV 13+; and (2) additional enhanced IAQ strategies, which encourage monitoring outdoor air intakes, increasing ventilation,  monitoring  CO2  levels, and calculating required natural room ventilation.   Credit 2 (Low Emitting Materials) promotes minimizing the use  of volatile organic compounds. Credit 4 (Construction Indoor Air Quality Management Plan) advocates the use  of SMACNA guidelines for achieving better indoor air quality during construction. Credit 5 (Thermal Comfort) encourages project design that considers occupant comfort. Credit 6 (Interior Lighting) promotes creating a more productive indoor environment by providing good light quality. Credit 7 (Daylight) encourages the use of external lights and windows. Credit 8 (Quality Views) promotes the positive effect that an outside view has on occupant morale. Credit 9 (Acoustic Performance) notes the effect of distracting noise on productivity.

Innovation and Design Process

Institutions can be further rewarded for innovative sustainable building features and practices through innovation awards and exemplary performance.

Read the full article.

Leave a Reply