...targeted LEED certification. Convening all the team members during preconstruction helped the client identity sustainable strategies that are expect to earn the project Gold certification, Leon explains.
Green Thinking Green building is leading to a shift toward longer term thinking, with owners looking at lifecycle costs in addition to first costs, Deane says. Aiding the process is a new set of tools facilitating energy modeling and lifecycle analyses.
Initially, owners and developers were not keen on LEED because of the higher capital costs, says James Stawniczy, national director of sustainability at New York-based Bovis Lend Lease. Missing from consideration were lifecycle analyses. More energy efficient systems may cost more but have lower operating costs.
“Our business is changing with our traditional estimating services now taking into play the different types of equipment from a lifecycle perspective,” Stawniczy says. “We see it as a future service and are doing in-house training to gear people up for these processes.”
Gardner is seeing a real emphasis on lower lifecycle costs, which is presenting new opportunities for systems such as chilled beams and low pressure drop ductwork that wouldn’t have been considered just a few years ago.
Torcon employed low pressure drop ductwork at the 50,000-sq.-ft. warehouse for Genzyme Biosurgery in Ridgefield, N.J., seeking LEED Gold. “There might be a slight penalty in terms of ceiling space and you might need to buy a little more ductwork but owners save money in the long run,” Gardner says.
A chilled beam system was installed at the 26,000-sq.-ft. NJEDA Biotechnology Development Centre in New Brunswick, N.J. The system employs ceiling mounted hydronic HVAC components that circulate chilled or heated water and are designed to induce room air flow to cool or heat a space. Higher first costs are offset by energy savings.
Material Selection LEED credits targeting low or no-VOC materials, recycled content and local products are changing the types of materials used during construction. Initially there were concerns that these products would not perform as well and cost too much.
“Over the years that has changed dramatically,” Leon says. The cost of these materials is now in line with conventional products. “When low-VOC paints first came out they were $5 per gallon more. Now they are not and whether clients ask for it or not, architects are specifying it.”
Subcontractors and tradesmen have also become more educated about the materials, such as adhesives and sealants. “Now they want to use it for their own health.” Leon says.
IBEX construction is providing construction data and analyses to its client the Nordstrom Organization related to low-VOC interior finishes and carpeting, recycling and reusing materials and replacing standard lighting with LEDs.
The LED analysis showed the client spending huge amounts of money on the purchase, operation and maintenance of traditional lighting. Five years ago LEDs were too expensive and did not generate the right colored light, explains Andy Frankl, IBEX president. But now the client is able to find LED bulbs at the right costs and color and will be doing their first store using LEDs.
Construction Processes For many large contractors LEED is no longer seen as an extra step. It’s become...