...integrated into the business. At Turner, the data management required to track and document LEED credits is part of the standard document submittal and approval process. Bovis’ project management system also now incorporates controls to ensure submittal logging includes LEED information.
Meanwhile, sustainable construction practices are creating cleaner, healthier and more energy efficient construction sites.
“When we first started recycling construction wastes, everything was a struggle,” says Charles Whitney, Turner project executive. “Transfer stations were not that sophisticated and waste haulers did not know what they were doing.”
Initially Whitney’s projects achieved 40 % recycling rates. His current project, Columbia University’s 14-story, 188,000-sq-ft Northwest Corner building at Broadway and West 120th Street, is recycling more than 80% of its waste.
Bovis’ recycling rate has gone from 20% four years ago to over 86 percent, Stawniczy says. At Barnard College, the 110,000-sq-ft Nexus Building project on Broadway and 117th Street, achieved a 97% recycling rate.
The pursuit of LEED indoor air quality credits is leading to cleaner and healthier construction sites. “Dust control systems not only deliver a cleaner building but also make it a little more environmentally friendly for construction workers,” Whitney explains.
At the World Trade Center Memorial project in lower Manhattan, Bovis established a pollution prevention plan requiring subcontractors to use ultralow sulfur fuel for their equipment, tarp over stockpiles of soil, wet down soil and control the dust from cutting tile and brick.
Turner is currently testing alternatives to temporary lighting systems on construction sites, typically composed of strings of 100-watt incandescent bulbs. “The lights do not last long, they break and maintenance costs are high,” Deane says. “CFLs last ten times as long and use half the energy. LEDs last for five years and use just 10 percent of the energy.”
At the Columbia University site, Turner setup three contiguous floors with identical footprints and different temporary lighting systems. One floor is using incandescent bulbs, the second CFLs and the third LEDs.
Preliminary results indicated that LED’s make sense for jobs lasting three or more years, Whitney says. CFLs are more cost effective for jobs under one-year. Exactly where LEDs become more cost-effective than CFLs is still under investigation.
Energy efficient lighting is one of the new rules and regulations proposed by the New York City Green Codes Task Force Construction Practices Committee, says Whitney, who co-chaired the committee.
New Opportunities As green building matures, companies are expanding their service offerings and bringing skills in-house that were previously outsourced. Gilbane now hires energy modelers with extensive experience in mechanical and electrical design. In-house engineering staff provides input into the integrated design process and undertakes peer reviews of outside engineers for owners, Rogér says.
On the New Haven project Gilbane is providing operational support on the completed buildings. “We are able to work with the operators to see if the buildings are really meeting efficiency goals and if not we can figure out why,” Rogér says.
Traditionally retro-greening work was controlled by ESCO companies and not a market of interest to large contractors, Stawniczy says. “Now there is a big push by large general contractors to get in.”
Turner is focusing on commissioning, real time data management services and retrofits of existing buildings. “Five years ago you would never hear anyone talk about this stuff,” Deane says. “Now we are actively promoting it as the right thing to do as well as where the market is at.”
Turner recently completed a retrofit of the 2.2-million-sq.-ft. Morgan Mail Processing Facility on West 28th Street between 9th and 10th Avenues. The work included installation of a 2.5-acre green roof, replacement of 2,000 windows and upgrades to mechanical systems.
Skills & Training Most large firms require or encourage employees to become LEED APs or learn about sustainable building practices. Turner and Bovis both have in-house LEED AP training programs. “In some ways every job has sustainable features and we are trying to make it more the norm than the exception,” Deane says.
“It has become part of the culture, not just because of global warming but because it is the right way to do it,” Leon says. “It makes economic and business sense.”