Saturday, July 7, 2007

Designing for LEED-H

When designing a green building, integrated design is extremely important. For this project distance is a challenge, so I am doing a lot of the legwork upfront, and trying to get input from the builder, subcontractors, and my project manager who is searching out local businesses and opportunities. It's possible that the design might change later to fit many of these needs. That is okay as long as we don't change things after we start construction.

The building design is almost complete! I will post it soon!

After registration you must turn the following items into your LEED provider.

  • Builder Construction Agreement - This form is very easy to fill out and formally registers your project with the USGBC under the builder's name (this is usually turned in with the registration check to your LEED provider). Where we are: This has been turned in.
  • Preliminary LEED Checklist - This form is in Xcel format and condenses all of the credits and points your project is trying to achieve. It is not set in stone, but your provider will ask for a completed copy to get an idea of what LEED level the project is aiming for. A meeting with your team and provider (the preliminary meeting, which is a LEED prerequisite) will help to determine if your goals are realistic and who is responsible for what. This just recently changed in January of 2007, so make sure you are working with an updated version. Where we are: This has been filled out, and is being used to formulate the project specifications (see below).
  • Durability Inspection Checklist - This Xcel form is part of credit ID 2.4, which expands on prerequisites ID 2.1 and ID 2.2, in which a durability evaluation and quality management program are required. My LEED provider said that this form looks tricky but is simple once you have done it. It's the provider's job to walk you through it. Make sure you use version 1.11a. Where we are: I need to go over this with the provider and then the builder.

  • Building blueprints - In Greenbush architects aren't required to sign off on house design, (as they are here in the Cities). I'm trying to replicate this process for the specific area, so it will be interesting to see how LEED reacts to our building drawings without architectural signature. Where we are: These are almost completed!

  • Project specifications. These would be like normal architectural specs, only they should include all LEED-H criteria that is to be incorporated into the design. Your builder and contractor should also have a copy of these. Where we are: These are being written at this very moment.

The process of involving everyone for the design is extremely time-consuming. Make sure tasks are delegated appropriately, and with realistic timelines. It adds at least another month to building design, but in the end makes for a better-constructed, better-planned building.

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