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Sustainable Design and Construction

Andrew S. McBrideAbout Andrew S. McBride
Andrew McBride has been with the University of Richmond since May 1994. He is a registered architect and his education includes a Master of Science degree in Business specializing in real estate and urban development from Virginia Commonwealth University, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Architecture from Iowa State University.

Author(s): Andrew S. McBride - University of Richmond

This chapter is current as of October 15, 2013

Introduction


The intent of this chapter is to acquaint facilities managers with sustainable design and construction techniques. The reader is encouraged to follow links provided for further information and instruction.

Sustainability is a term frequently used on college campuses. In response to global warming, in 2006 a small group of college presidents created the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment (ACUPCC) (www.presidentsclimatecommitment.org). “Modeled after the U.S. Mayors' Climate Protection Agreement, the initiative seeks” to lead “their institutions to develop comprehensive plans for making their campuses climate neutral, and for providing the education and research necessary for society to re-stabilize the world’s climate.”1 Seven tangible actions listed in the commitment will help institutions achieve climate neutrality. In addition to reducing the amount of waste sent to landfills, cleaning buildings utilizing “green” housekeeping methods, and reducing the consumption of water and energy (topics addressed in other chapters of this manual), facilities managers are being asked to develop their institutions' buildings in a sustainable manner. The most often cited definition of sustainable development is credited to the Brundtland Commission of the United Nations, which defined it as development that “meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”2

How does the ACUPCC affect facilities managers who are responsible for the design and construction of buildings? One of the tangible actions requires the institution to establish a “green building policy” within two months of signing the commitment and to implement it within two years. The policy must include language that states “that all new campus construction will be built to at least the U.S. Green Building Council’s (USGBC) LEED Silver standard or equivalent.”3 Although alternative rating systems such as the Green Building Initiative's Green Globes (www.greenglobes.com) are permissible, this chapter will concentrate on LEED, since it is specifically referenced in the ACUPCC Implementation Guide.

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LEED Overview


LEED, which stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a third-party certification program that objectively measures and validates the sustainability or “greenness” of buildings. The USGBC first developed LEED as a pilot program in 1998 in an effort to stop the “green-washing” that was prevalent at the time. After extensive modifications, the LEED-NC rating system for new commercial construction and major renovations was rolled out in the spring of 2000 and gained worldwide acceptance. Since that time, thousands of projects have been registered, with most eventually earning certification. The USGBC’s website (www.usgbc.org) states that “LEED provides building owners and operators with the tools they need to have an immediate and measurable impact on their buildings’ performance.” Organized into nine sections (Integrative Process, Location & Transportation, Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy & Atmosphere, Materials & Resources, Indoor Environmental Quality, Innovation in Design, and Regional Priority), LEED “evaluates the environmental performance from a whole building perspective over a building’s life cycle.”4

The first step in having a project certified is to designate a project leader who will be responsible for managing the process through design and construction. Although it is not necessary for the project leader to be a LEED Accredited Professional (AP), it helps, since this person has been trained on how to use the reference guide. Also, the project receives credit for having a LEED AP on the project team.

The next step is to register the project with the USGBC. This can be done online through its website (www.usgbc.org). The benefits of registering a project are access to the Credit Interpretation Rulings (CIRs) and the Letter Templates. Since the reference guide was written to cover all types of projects in general, there may be instances where issues with a particular project are not addressed. The CIRs are formal rulings that help clarify the guide. Access to the Letter Templates is extremely important because this is how the project is ultimately evaluated. Each prerequisite and credit has a template where project data is entered and supporting documentation such as drawings, specifications, and cut sheets are uploaded.

As the schematic design begins to take form, the design team meets to discuss which credits to pursue and fills out the LEED Registered Project Checklist. This helps the consultants develop appropriate systems and select materials that meet the sustainable goals for the project.

The final step of submitting the application involves completing all of the prerequisite and attempted credit Letter Templates along with payment of the certification fee. A project must be registered in order for the Letter Templates to be completed and associated documentation uploaded. The USGBC will conduct a third-party review of the information submitted and make a ruling on the number of credits achieved. Buildings that pass the review will be awarded a plaque to be mounted in a prominent location on the building based on the following scale: Certified, 40–49 points; Silver, 50–59 points; Gold, 60–79 points; and Platinum, 80–110 points. Regardless of the number of points achieved, certification will be withheld if any prerequisites are not met. An appeals process is available to challenge rejected prerequisites and credits.

The reader is urged to contact the USGBC directly at (www.usgbc.org) if interested in pursuing LEED certification, since the rating system is occasionally modified after changes are recommended and voted on by the membership. Although several versions of the LEED rating system have evolved over the years, the intent of the credits has remained relatively constant. The remainder of this chapter will focus on the intent of the prerequisites and credits in the nine sections of the LEED Reference Guide for New Construction and Major Renovations.

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Sustainable Sites


The next section in the Reference Guide deals with how to build in a sustainable fashion with regard to land use. Buildings affect their surroundings in many ways. Clearing land destroys habitats and can potentially choke rivers and streams with erosion sedimentation. Impervious site improvements such as parking lots, roads, and sidewalks increase storm water runoff, which pollutes our water and stresses our municipal sewer systems. Heat absorbed from the sun by dark pavement and roofing materials increases the average temperature of the local micro-climate. Even a building's exterior lighting system has implications. Light shining upward pollutes the view of the night sky and impacts wildlife. This section contains one required prerequisite and 6 available credits.

Prerequisite 1, “Construction Activity Pollution Prevention,” reduces the erosion, waterway sedimentation, and airborne dust that usually occur on construction sites. An erosion and sedimentation control plan must be developed in accordance with the most current requirements of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Local and state laws will often be more stringent. Contact your local government entity for details on requirements in your area.

Credit 1, “Site Assessment”, encourages a more thorough assessment of the site to help the design team take advantage of opportunities that will complement the project’s sustainable design. 1 point can be earned if a site survey is conducted identifying: topography, hydrology, climate features, vegetation, views, proximity to transportation infrastructure, and proximity to potential health opportunities or concerns.

Credit 2, “Site Development – Protect of Restore Habitat”, encourages conservation and/or reclamation of green spaces “to provide habitat and promote biodiversity”.7 2 points can be earned by restoring 30% of the site using native or adaptive plants. If that option is not feasible, 1 point can be earned by donating $0.40/s.f. of the site area to a national or local land trust.

Credit 3, “Open Space”, promotes the creation of outdoor “rooms” where people interact with each other and the environment. 1 point is available if 30% of the site is left open and a ¼ of that open space is vegetated with plants other than turf grass. Also, the open space must be physically accessible.  

Credit 4, “Rainwater Management”, encourages site development to be designed “to reduce runoff volume and improve water quality by replicating the natural hydrology and water balance of the site, based on historical conditions and undeveloped ecosystems in the region.”8 2 points are available by managing stormwater runoff from the site for 95% of the local or regional rain events using low-impact development (LID) techniques. An additional point is available if 98% of the rain events are managed.

Credit 5, “Heat Island Reduction”, seeks to reduce the “heat island effect" from dark roofs and non-roof surfaces such as parking lots, roads, and sidewalks that absorb heat from the sun. 2 points are available if the total roof and site paving area is less than or equal to 2x the area of non-roof hardscape (paving, sidewalks, etc.) that is shaded or has a solar reflectance value (SR) of at least .28; and, 1.33x the area of high-reflectance roofs with a solar reflectance index (SRI) of 39 for steep roofs and 82 for low sloped roofs; and, 1.33x the area of vegetated roofs. Campuses may struggle with this credit for a number of reasons. First, asphalt pavement is the most economical material for roads and parking lots; unfortunately, it does not have a high enough SRI and generally there is not enough tree coverage to shade the dark surface (projects built without parking lots have a better chance). Second, many campuses have steeply pitched shingled roofs covered with slate or other similar materials that have SRIs of less than 39. If that option is not feasible, 1 point can be earned by covering 75% of the parking spaces with roofs that are vegetated; or, have a SRI of at least 39; or, are covered with energy generating systems like solar panels.

Credit 6, “Light Pollution Reduction”, encourages designers to reduce the glare and glow from their projects so that clear vision of the night sky is available and the impact on nocturnal wildlife is reduced. 1 point is available if uplight and light trespass requirements are met.  Refer to http://www.usgbc.org/node/2600382?return=/credits/new-construction/v4-draft for the specific requirements.

 

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Water Efficiency


This section discusses how to use water more efficiently. Although many regions of the country have experienced drought conditions recently, water usage remains unchecked. According to the USGBC, “Americans extract 3,700 billion gallons per year more than they return to the natural water system to charge aquifers and other water sources.”9 This section contains three required prerequisite and four available credits.

Prerequisite 1, “Outdoor Water Use Reduction,” reduces the use of outdoor water by either reducing the use by 30% compared to baseline landscape watering requirements or by not installing irrigation at all.

Prerequisite 2, “Indoor Water Use Reduction,” reduces the use of indoor water by reducing the use by 20% compared to current baseline water consumption of fixtures. Refer to the following table http://www.usgbc.org/node/1734960?return=/credits/new-construction/v4.

Prerequisite 3, “Building-level Water Metering,” encourages the reduction in water use by gathering and sharing data on water usage.  In addition to installing a water meter for the building, the owner must agree to share the data with the USGBC for five years.

Credit 1, “Outdoor Water Use Reduction,” seeks to reduce or eliminate the use of potable water to irrigate landscapes. Two points can be earned if the midsummer baseline irrigation need is reduced by 50 percent, and 4 points can be earned if no potable water is used for irrigation. This can be accomplished in a couple of ways. The first is to plant native or adaptive plants that do not require irrigation. The second is to irrigate with rainwater or some type of recycled water such as “gray water.” The University of Richmond uses a combination of native plants and hand watering, where required, with water from its lake.

Credit 2, “Indoor Water Use Reduction,” reduces the use of indoor water above the prerequisite by using alternative water sources.  For each 5% reduction above the 20% prerequisite a point can be earned up to 6 points if a 50% reduction is achieved.

Credit 3, “Cooling Tower Water Use,” seeks to reduce the amount of potable water used in cooling tower or evaporative condensers.  Up to 2 points are available if the levels found in the following link are achieved: http://www.usgbc.org/node/2611780?return=/credits/new-construction/v4.

Credit 4, “Water Metering”, encourages the reduction in water use by gathering data on water usage on two or more water sub-systems. 1 point can be earned if at least two meters are installed on building water sub-systems such as: irrigation, indoor plumbing fixtures, domestic hot water, water for boilers using 100,000 gallons or more per year, reclaimed water, and other building process water.

 

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Energy and Atmosphere


This section deals with how to reduce the use of energy and improve the atmosphere. The two go hand in hand because most of our energy comes from fossil fuels, which contribute to global warming and pollute our air. Reducing the amount of energy a building requires reduces operating costs and also reduces pollution. There are four required prerequisites and seven credits in this section.

Prerequisite 1, “Fundamental Commissioning and Verification,” ensures that the building systems are properly installed and work as designed so that the occupants are comfortable and the equipment is not costing more to operate than planned. Most building owners have to hire third-party commissioning authorities to perform this task. If possible, using in-house staff to act as the commissioning authority makes sense, given that they already maintain and operate the equipment.  In addition to mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems, the building envelope (exterior walls and roof) must be commissioned.

Prerequisite 2, "Minimum Energy Performace," establishes the “Minimum Energy Performance” for the building and sets the baseline for optimized energy performance comparison. The design engineer needs to ensure that the building systems comply with both the mandatory provisions and the prescriptive or performance requirements in Appendix G of ASHRAE/IESNA (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers/Illuminating Engineering Society of North America) Standard 90.1-2007 (www.ashrae.org or www.iesna.org). There are three options to meet this prerequisite. Option 1 deals with the whole-building energy simulation where the energy performance for the building compared with the baseline must show a 5 percent improvement for new buildings or a 3 percent improvement for renovated buildings. Option 2 deals with prescriptive compliance with ASHRAE 90.1-2010 using Chapter 4, “ASHRAE 50% Advanced Energy Design Guide”. Option 3 is available for buildings smaller than 100,000 square feet that use the first three sections of the "Prescriptive Compliance Path: Advanced Buildings™ Core Performance™ Guide" (www.advancedbuildings.net). The design engineers are responsible for this prerequisite, and it can be fairly costly given the amount of data that needs to be entered into the computer model. If used early in the design phase, while decisions of how the building will look can still be adjusted, the model can be a great tool and ultimately reduce project costs.

Prerequisite 3, “Building-level Energy Metering,” encourages the reduction in energy use by gathering and sharing data on water usage.  In addition to installing a energy meter for the building, the owner must agree to share the data with the USGBC for five years.

Prerequisite 4, “Fundamental Refrigerant Management,” reduces the ozone depletion in the upper atmosphere by prohibiting the use of chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) refrigerants in new building heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, refrigeration, and fire suppression systems, along with requiring a phase-out plan of CFC refrigerants when existing systems are reused in renovations or when tying into a central plant.

Credit 1, “Enhanced Commissioning,” expands on the benefits promoted in Prerequisite 1. As with the prerequisite, training and using in-house staff to perform these tasks as part of their support of the university may prove beneficial for long-term operation. Up to six points may be awarded with this credit.  3 points are earned if the commissioning authority does the following for mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems: reviews material and equipment submittals; verifies that construction documents include requirements for both systems manuals and operator/occupant training during project close-out and that both were actually done; verifies seasonal testing; reviews the building operation 10 months after substantial completion; and develops an on-going commissioning plan. Another point is earned if monitoring-based procedures are developed and measurement points are determined. 2 additional points are earned if the commissioning authority does the following for the building envelope: reviews material and equipment submittals; verifies that construction documents include requirements for both systems manuals and operator/occupant training during project close-out and that both were actually done; verifies seasonal testing; reviews the building operation 10 months after substantial completion; and develops an on-going commissioning plan.

Credit 2, “Optimize Energy Performance,” encourages reduced energy usage. This credit offers up to 16 points if Option 1, “Whole Building Energy Simulation,” is used. Option 1 is based on how well the building’s energy model compares with the baseline prerequisite. One point is earned if the simulation shows a 6 percent savings over the baseline, and an additional point is awarded for each 2 percent savings up to 26 percent. An additional point is awarded for each 3 percent savings between 26 and 38 percent and one final point for a 4 percent savings between 38 and 42 percent. Existing building renovations have a lower threshold, starting at a 4 percent savings and increase to a total of 40 percent. Alternatively, office buildings smaller than 20,000 square feet can earn up to 5 points by using Option 2, “Prescriptive Compliance Path: ASHRAE Advanced Energy Design Guide.” This requires compliance with the prescriptive measures of the ASHRAE 50% Advanced Energy Design Guide for Small to Medium Office Buildings (www.ashrae.org). One point may be earned for each of the following building components: building envelope, windows, interior lighting, exterior lighting, and plug loads.

Credit 3, “Advanced Energy Metering,” encourages the reduction in energy use by gathering data on energy used by the building systems and any use that represents 10% or more of the annual building energy consumption. 1 point can be earned if the meters are: permanent; record at least hourly; transmit to and accessed from remote locations; store data for at least three years; and, electric meters must collect both consumption and demand.

Credit 4, “Demand Response,” encourages the reduction in energy use by participating in demand response technologies. 2 points are available by participating in an existing demand response program.  If no demand response program is currently available, provide the infrastructure to participate when the program becomes available.

Credit 5, “Renewable Energy Production,” rewards projects that create their own electricity using renewable sources like wind and solar power. Up to 3 points are available. The first point is earned if only 1 percent renewable energy is produced. Another point is available if 5 percent is achieved and one final point for 10 percent. Many campuses have not pursued this credit in the past because the payback period was too long and because of aesthetic concerns.

Credit 6, “Enhanced Refrigerant Management,” expands on Prerequisite 4. Two options are available to earn one point. Option 1 requires the use of no refrigerants and Option 2 requires the calculation of refrigerants in accordance with the equation found in the following link: http://www.usgbc.org/node/2613584?return=/credits/new-construction/v4.

Credit 7, “Green Power and Carbon Offsets,” encourages the use of “Green Power” from renewable sources that do not pollute or contribute to global warming. One point can be earned by purchasing Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) equivalent to 50 percent of the building’s annual electricity for a period of five years. Another point can be earned if 100 percent is purchased. RECs have been quoted at $0.02/kWh over and above normal rates for electricity. As fossil fuels become more expensive, electricity generated by renewable sources will become more cost competitive.

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Materials and Resources


This section is dedicated to reducing waste in landfills, minimizing transportation emissions caused by material delivery and disposal, and utilizing resources appropriately. According to the USGBC, "construction and demolition waste accounts for about 40 percent of the total solid waste stream in the United States."10 One of the most sustainable actions we can take is to reuse things instead of throwing them away. Not only does this divert trash from landfills, but it saves energy that would have been required to manufacture the new materials needed. Substituting rapidly growing plants for trees as a resource in certain building materials is another example of a sustainable action. If lumber must be used, it should come from forests that are third-party certified as being properly managed. There are two required prerequisite and five available credits in this section.

Prerequisite 1 "Storage and Collection of Recyclables," reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills by facilitating the "Storage & Collection of Recyclables" from building occupants. This should be a standard operating procedure for custodial staff. Every waste receptacle should have recycling bins nearby. Even the wastepaper cans in individual offices should have smaller containers inside them for non-recyclable trash. At a minimum, a campus should collect and recycle paper, cardboard, and drink containers (glass, plastic, and metal).

Prerequisite 2, “Construction and Demolition Waste Management Planning,” reduces the amount of construction and demolition waste sent to landfills. A plan must be created and implemented on how to separate at least five recyclable materials from the trash and identify where the materials will be diverted and how they will be processed.

Credit 1, “Building Life-cycle Impact Reduction,” reduces the amount of construction waste sent to landfills by encouraging reuse of building materials. Up to 5 points are available through four options. Option 1 deals with historic building reuse and earns 5 points. Option 2 also earns 5 points for renovating abandoned or blighted buildings. Option 3 earns 2 points for reusing 25% of completed project surface. 1 additional point is available for each additional 25% up to 75%. Option 4 is available for new construction by assessing the whole-building life-cycle. 3 points can be earned if there is at least a 10% reduction in three of six impact categories compared to a baseline building.  

Credit 2, “Building Product Disclosure and Optimization – Environmental Product Declarations,” encourages use of products that improve environmental life-cycle impacts. Up to 2 points are available through two options.  One point can be earned through Option 1- “Environmental Product Declaration” by using 20 different products from at least 5 different manufacturers that meet one of three criteria found in the following link: http://www.usgbc.org/node/2616376?return=/credits/new-construction/v4. Another point can be earned through Option 2 “Multi-Attribute Optimization” by using products that comply with at least one of two criteria found at the same link and that the total cost of those products is worth at least 50% of all the products used in the project.

Credit 3, “Building Product Disclosure and Optimization – Source of Raw Materials,” is similar to credit 2 with up to 2 points available through two options. One point can be earned through Option 1 – “Raw Material Source and Extraction Reporting” by using 20 different products from at least 5 different manufacturers that meet one of two criteria found in the following link: http://www.usgbc.org/node/2616388?return=/credits/new-construction/v4. Another point can be earned through Option 2 “Leadership Extraction Practices” by using products that comply with at least one of six criteria found at the same link and that the total cost of those products is worth at least 25% of all the products used in the project.

Credit 4, “Building Product Disclosure and Optimization – Material Ingredients,” is also similar to credit 2 with up to 2 points available, but has three options available. One point can be earned through Option 1 – “Material Ingredient Reporting” by using 20 different products from at least 5 different manufacturers that meet one of four criteria found in the following link: http://www.usgbc.org/node/2616399?return=/credits/new-construction/v4. Another point can be earned through Option 2 “Material Ingredient Optimization” by using products that comply with the four criteria as appropriate for the product found at the same link and that the total cost of those products is worth at least 25% of all the products used in the project. Although only 2 points are available with this credit, Option 3 – “Product Manufacturer Supply Chain Optimization” provides another path similar to Option 2 by using products that comply with all the criteria found at the same link and that the total cost of those products is worth at least 25% of all the products used in the project.

Credit 5, "Construction and Demolition Waste Management,” reduces the amount of construction and demolition waste sent to landfills. Up to 2 points are available through two options.  One point can be earned through Option 1 – “Diversion” by diverting 50% of the construction and demolition waste from landfills and must include three different material streams. Another point can be earned with this option if 75% is diverted and must include four material streams. Two points can be earned through Option 2 – “Reduction of Total Waste Material” by generating no more than 2.5 pounds of construction debris per square foot of building area.

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Indoor Environmental Quality


This section is dedicated to improving the quality of the indoor environment. Because we spend most of our time indoors and more and more people suffer from asthma and allergies, it seems probable that some of the materials used in the construction of buildings are causing people to be sick. In the late 1970s, people died from Legionnaires’ disease, which was linked to a building’s HVAC system and water supply. In addition to eliminating the use of materials that make us sick and making sure that the ventilation systems are clean and that fresh air is introduced, good indoor environmental quality is achieved by allowing occupants to control their visual (lighting) and thermal comfort, along with having direct views to the outdoor environment. There are two prerequisites and 9 available credits in this section.

Prerequisite 1, “Minimum IAQ Performance,” requires the mechanical engineer to design the building’s HVAC system such that the indoor air quality (IAQ) meets sections 4 through 7 of ASHRAE Standard 62.1-2010 “Ventilation for Acceptable Indoor Air Quality” (www.ashrae.org). This standard was created to correct the problems created after engineers, in an effort to reduce energy usage, tightened buildings too much as a consequence of the 1973 oil embargo.

Prerequisite 2, ”Environmental Tobacco Smoke Control,” reduces building occupant exposure to tobacco smoke. A campus can accomplish this by prohibiting smoking inside all buildings and designating outdoor smoking areas at least 25 feet away from entries, operable windows, and outdoor air intakes.

Credit 1, “Enhanced Indoor Air Quality Strategies,” promotes creating an improved indoor environment with better air quality. Up to 2 points are available through two options.  One point can be earned through Option 1 – “Enhanced IAQ Strategies” by: a) installing a 10’ long entryway dirt collection system that is cleaned weekly; and, b) providing sufficient exhaust from custodial closets, laundry rooms and printing rooms so that fumes from chemicals do not cross-contaminate other areas of the building (also, doors need to have closers and walls need to extend to the deck above or the room must have a hard ceiling); and, c) providing filters with a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) 13 or higher for outdoor air supplies. Another point can be earned through Option 2 – “Additional Enhanced IAQ Strategies” by doing one of the following four strategies: a) preventing outdoor air pollutants from entering the building through outdoor air intakes; or, b) increasing ventilation required in prerequisite 2 by 30%; or, c) monitoring the CO2 (carbon dioxide) level in densely occupied spaces such as classrooms and alerting occupants if the amount of CO2 exceeds the setpoints identified in ASHRAE 62.1-2010, Appendix C by more than 10%; or, d) calculating the natural ventilation for each room to make sure appropriate fresh air is provided.

Credit 2, “Low-Emitting Materials,” encourages the reduction of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that cause many building occupants to have allergic reactions. Up to 3 points are available through two options. Option 1 – “Product Category Calculations” identifies the compliance levels for both emissions and VOC content for 6 categories: interior paints, interior adhesives & sealants, flooring, composite wood, and insulation. One point can be earned if 2 of the categories are compliant. Another point is available if the number is doubled and a total of 3 points are available if 5 categories are compliant. Option 2 – “Budget Calculation Method” provides an alternative way of earning this credit if option 1 is not achievable. In this method, the building is divided into 4 assemblies: floors, walls, ceilings and insulation. Each assembly is evaluated for compliance of each of its layers. The percentage of compliance of each of the 4 assemblies are added together and then divided by 4. If the result is between 50% and 69%, one point is earned; between 70% and 89%, two points; and, greater than 89%, three points.

Credit 3, “Construction Indoor Air Quality Management Plan,” promotes better indoor air quality during construction. One point can be earned if a plan is developed to prevent dust and odors generated during construction from becoming embedded in the ductwork and mechanical equipment. To achieve this credit, the plan must follow the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors' National Association’s (SMACNA) IAQ guidelines for occupied buildings under construction; protect absorptive materials such as duct liners and insulation from getting wet; prohibit smoking inside the building and within 25’ of the building entrance; and, cover all return air grilles with air filters that have a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) of 8 before starting up the air handlers for the first time (www.smacna.org). Also, the filters must be changed just prior to occupancy.

Credit 4, “Indoor Air Quality Assessment,” promotes better indoor air quality after construction. Up to 2 points are available through two options. Option 1 – “Flush Out” has two paths which provide only one point. Path 1 – “Before Occupancy” ensures that all vapors and odors from construction are removed from the building prior to occupancy. This credit can be achieved by conducting a complete “flush-out” of the entire HVAC system with fresh air after all construction activity has ended by supplying a total air volume of at least 14,000 cubic feet (cf) of fresh air per gross square foot (gsf) of floor area. The indoor environment must be between 600F and 800F with a relative humidity (RH) of 60% or less. Path 2 – “During Occupancy” must follow the same procedure, but at least 3,500 cubic feet (cf) of outdoor air per gross square foot (gsf) of building area prior to occupancy. Once the building is occupied, the amount of fresh air introduced must be 0.3 cubic feet per minute (cfm) per square foot (sf) of floor area or meet prerequisite 1, whichever is greater, until a total volume of 14,000 cubic feet (cf) of fresh air per gross square foot (gsf) of floor area has been delivered. Two points are available through Option 2 – “Air Testing”.  Air testing must be done after construction and before occupancy with the results falling within the limits of table 1 found in the following link: http://www.usgbc.org/node/2614245?return=/credits/new-construction/v4.

Credit 5, “Thermal Comfort,” rewards projects with one point if both the thermal comfort design is met and controllability of the system is provided. Occupants are generally more productive if they feel comfortable. The design component can be achieved if the HVAC system and the building envelope are designed to meet ASHRAE Standard 55-2010, “Thermal Comfort Conditions for Human Occupancy. The control component can be achieved if at least half of the individually occupied spaces can control the temperature and ventilation in their space and if all group spaces also have similar controls.

Credit 6, “Interior Lighting,” encourages making a more productive indoor environment by providing good light quality and controllability. Up to 2 points are available through two options. One point can be earned through Option 1 – “Lighting Control” by providing at least 90 percent of the individually occupied spaces with three levels of lighting level control. Spaces with multiple occupants must have the same lighting level controllability along with separate switching for presentation/projection walls, and all switches must be in the room. Another point can be earned through Option 2 – “Lighting Quality” by four of eight strategies found in the following link: http://www.usgbc.org/node/2614573?return=/credits/new-construction/v4.

Credit 7, “Daylight,” helps reduce electric use during the day by lighting spaces along exterior walls with daylight instead of using electrical lights. Up to 3 points are available through three options.  Option 1 – “Simulation: Spatial Daylight Autonomy” earns 2 points if 55% of the regularly occupied floor area has daylight autonomy and a third point can be earned if 75% is achieved. In either case, the space cannot be exposed to direct sunlight for more than 10% of the time. Option 2 – “Simulation: Illuminance Calculations” earns 1 point if 75% of the regularly occupied floor area has Illuminance levels between 300 and 3,000 lux at both 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. on a clear-sky day on the equinox. Another point is earned if 90% is achieved. Option 3 – “Measurement” earns 2 points for the same Illuminance levels in option 2, but for 75% of the spaces if the measured daylight is achieved on days other than the equinox. 3 points are earned if 90% is achieved.

Credit 8, “Quality Views,” improves productivity by allowing building occupants to view the outdoors. Studies have shown that people feel better when they have a connection to the natural environment. One point can be earned if 75% of the regularly occupied spaces have a direct line of sight to the outside and have multiple views 900 apart along with views of plants, animals, the sky, or some type of movement. There is an exception for buildings with atria allowing 30% of the views into the atrium.

Credit 9, “Acoustic Performance,” also improves productivity by having spaces that do not have distracting noises. One point can be earned by reducing HVAC background noise, isolating sound transmission between spaces, meeting the appropriate reverberation time for specific room types, and evaluating if sound reinforcement or masking systems are needed.

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Innovation and Design Process


This section of the Reference Guide provides an opportunity for building projects to be rewarded for innovative sustainable building features and knowledge of sustainable building practices. There are two credits available in this section with a total of 6 available points.

Up to 5 points are available in Credit 1 through any combination of the following strategies. Up to 3 points can be achieved through “Innovation” if each innovation demonstrates significant, measurable environmental performance not found in the LEED Reference Guide.  Examples of innovative design credits the University of Richmond has earned in the past include “LEED Education,” “Green Housekeeping,” and “Integrated Pest Management.” For these credits to be approved, the applicant must identify the intent, requirements, submittals, and design strategies of the proposed innovative design. 3 points are also available by meeting the requirements of a LEED “pilot credit.” 2 points are available through “Exemplary Performance,” which is usually considered if the requirements for the prerequisite or credit are doubled.

Credit 2, “LEED Accredited Professional,” rewards projects that have a LEED AP with the appropriate specialty on the design and construction team.

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Regional Priority


The final section of the Reference Guide provides an opportunity for building projects to be rewarded for earning credits that have been identified by their regional councils and chapter as being environmentally important to their region. Each regional council or chapter identifies six credits that are most important to their particular region. Projects can earn up to 4 bonus points if they earn at least four of the credits identified.  The USGBC website, http://www.usgbc.org, lists the credits selected for each region.

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Summary


Because those responsible for the design and construction of buildings on our campuses will undoubtedly be impacted by the ACUPCC, the LEED rating system must be understood. Although the system may seem daunting, institutional builders should have little difficulty earning LEED Silver since they build for the long term and value life-cycle cost evaluations, which are the hallmark of the LEED rating system.

The first step to understanding LEED is to enroll in one or more of the classes offered by the USGBC (www.usgbc.org). Becoming a member of the USGBC and an associated local chapter provides not only discounts for these classes but also access to additional resources such as credit interpretations and members who can share their experiences working with LEED. Institutions that build on a regular basis should consider administering the LEED submittal process in-house; at a minimum, the institution should have staff members who are LEED APs and can effectively communicate with the design team about what sustainable strategies will work best for which project. For institutions that build on a less frequent basis, hiring a consultant to administer the LEED submittal process makes the most sense.

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Footnotes


1. “A Call for Climate Leadership.” American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment. 2007. http://www2.presidentsclimatecommitment.org/pdf/climate_leadership.pdf, p. 3.

2. “Report of the World Commission on Environment and Development.” United Nations, General Assembly Resolution 42/187. December 11, 1987. http://www.un.org/documents/ga/res/42/ares42-187.htm

3. “Implementation Guide v 1.0.” American College and University Presidents' Climate Commitment. September 2007. http://www.presidentsclimatecommitment.org/pdf/ACUPCC_IG_Final.pdf, p. 13.

4. U.S. Green Building Council, LEED-NC for New Construction Reference Guide v 2.2 First Edition (Washington, DC, October 2005), p. 13.

5. “Integrative Process”, U.S. Green Building Council, LEED, Credit Library, New Construction v4, September 2013. http://www.usgbc.org/node/2613097?return=/credits

6. “Integrative Process”, U.S. Green Building Council, LEED, Credit Library, New Construction v4, September 2013. http://www.usgbc.org/node/2613097?return=/credits

7. “Site Development – Protect or Restore Habitat”, U.S. Green Building Council, LEED, Credit Library, New Construction v4, September 2013. http://www.usgbc.org/node/2758192?return=/credits

8. “Rainwater Management”, U.S. Green Building Council, LEED, Credit Library, New Construction v4, September 2013. http://www.usgbc.org/node/2764291?return=/credits

9. U.S. Green Building Council. October 2005.  LEED-NC for New Construction Reference Guide v 2.2 First Edition, p.113. Washington, DC.

10. Ibid., p. 233.

 

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References


American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment. September 2007. http://www.presidentsclimatecommitment.org.

American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE). 2004. ASHRAE Standard 55-2004, "Thermal Environmental Conditions For Human Occupancy." ASHRAE. 28 pp.

ASHRAE. 2004. ASHRAE Standard 62.1-2004, "Ventilation For Acceptable Indoor Air Quality." ASHRAE. 179 pp.

ASHRAE. 2004. ASHRAE Standard 90.1-2004, "Energy Standard For Buildings Except Low-Rise Residential Buildings." ASHRAE. 44 pp.

Hodges, C. B. ,and Elvey, W. W. 2005. "Making the Business Case for Sustainability: It’s Not Just About Getting Points." Facilities Manager 21(4), http://www.appa.org/FacilitiesManager/article.cfm?ItemNumber=2408&parentid=2393

United Nations, General Assembly Resolution 42/187. December 11, 1987. http://www.un.org/documents/ga/res/42/ares42-187.htm

U.S. Green Building Council. October 2005. LEED-NC for New Construction Reference Guide v 2.2. First Edition. Washington, DC. 

U.S. Green Building Council. April 2009. LEED Reference Guide for Green Building Design and Construction. 2009 Edition. Washington, DC. 

U.S. Green Building Council. September 2013. LEED, Credit Library, New Construction v4.  http://www.usgbc.org/credits/new-construction/v4

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