Published Works

Industrial Green
LEED-certified warehouse facilities pose unique challenges.

September 1, 2010

What’s a million square feet and green? Why, a LEED-certified warehouse facility, of course! Many people can’t see how buildings with such large footprints
that disturb so much land can ever be green. But the growing number of LEED-certified warehouse facilities is helping to buck this perception.

I’m not saying that just because a warehouse is LEED-certified it doesn’t have an intense impact on the environment. But having these facilities all over the country is necessary to easily distribute the products our economy is built around. What I’m saying is: Since they are so necessary, shouldn’t we be building
these facilities to be as green as possible? Having worked on nearly a half dozen LEED-certified warehouse projects up and down the east coast (ranging in size from 200,000 square feet to nearly a million square feet), I’ve learned that creating a green warehouse is really easier than it may seem. Read more

A Unique Beast
Incorporating sustainability practices in retail environments is a whole different animal.

July 1, 2010

Building a green retail facility today has become relatively easy. Not to dismiss the process or say it’s a walk in the park, but compared to building the fi rst LEED retail shopping center in the U.S. back in 2003-2004 (Abercorn Common), today’s designers, code officials and especially tenants have a much greater understanding of sustainable design, LEED certification and green building technologies. Fortunately, when we propose a grey water system that uses rainwater to flush toilets, we no longer hear, “What happens if someone drinks out of the toilet?” as the first question. Ah, how far we’ve come. Read more

That sweet, sweet smell…of VOCs
Monitoring VOC-emitting products in a building takes some work.

April 1, 2010

Keeping VOCs out of your building isn’t easy. First, you need to be aware of and monitor the hundreds of products that are coming in and out of your building. Second, the VOC level stamped in micro-fi ne print onto the side of a product’s packaging is nearly impossible to read — if it’s listed at all. Otherwise, you’re left searching through page after page of MSDS sheets and technical data sheets. Finally, VOCs turn up in the products you least suspect. Read more

Rehydrating the U.S.
Why initiatives to preserve the world's water supply are more important than ever.

February 1, 2010

From Governor Schwarzenegger on 60 Minutes recently to the ongoing lawsuits and legislation emerging between Georgia, Florida and Alabama, the importance of wisely using our water resources has never been more in the spotlight.

Nationwide we have a water deficit of nearly 3,700 billion gallons annually — meaning we are taking out 3,700 billion gallons more water than we are returning to our rivers, reservoirs and aquifers — and that is not a sustainable path for secure water supplies in the future. Read more

To the Edge and Back

December 1, 2009

I can’t speak for everybody, but I know a vast majority of the people I talk to say, “thank goodness 2009 is over.” It has been a rough 18 months for most of us in the building industry, but if you believe the analysts, at least things are supposed to get better in 2010. I sure hope so.

What has been refreshing to see is that even in these challenging times, the prevalence of green building has continued to grow. It certainly has been a buyer’s market, with new tenants in control of lease negotiations and current tenants asking for concessions. But as building owners and managers scrambled
to cut costs, hold onto existing tenants, and maybe even fi nd a few new ones, they realized greening their facility could help on all three fronts. Read more

The Evolution Continues…
Minimum water efficiency prerequisite added to LEED.

September 1, 2009

For those of you following the rollout of LEED 2009, you’re sure to have noticed by now a number of changes to the credits: increased thresholds for existing credits, more regional opportunities and a completely different weighting system.

Another seemingly small but rather significant change has been the addition of a tiny new prerequisite: Minimum Water Efficiency. While all the other changes don’t necessarily affect a building’s ability to get certified, throwing in a new prerequisite is a pretty strong change — one reflecting the growing importance of water efficiency. Read more

Was that an EBOM?
Why going for LEED-EB: O&M certification shouldn't make your head explode.

July 1, 2009

What’s 4.5-inches tall, 11-inches deep, and weighs 12 pounds? The three new LEED reference guides, of course! The newly released reference guides for LEED 2009 come in three versions: Green Interior Design and Construction (aka, Commercial Interiors), Green Building Operation and Maintenance (aka, Existing Buildings and Operations), and the behemoth — Green Building Design and Construction (aka, New Construction/Core&Shell/School). The last one alone comes in at whopping 645 pages. Read more

Weathering the Storm

April 1, 2009

We’re living in some tough times right now. The one silver lining to our current economic situation is that with great challenge comes great opportunity. But what the heck does that mean for our buildings and us? One thing seems pretty consistent: There is a continued push for energy effi ciency and sustainable buildings—from schools to federal buildings to anything new. Read more

The Consultant Conundrum
Finding a well-versed LEED consultant can prove to be a precious resource.

November 1, 2008

Do you hate the “C” word? The use of consultants comes with all sorts of stigmas. Added cost, outsiders who don’t know the team, hired guns with nothing to lose — all of these are often associated with bringing in outside consultants for any sort of problem, and using a LEED consultant can be no different. But that doesn’t have to be the case, and in fact, using a LEED consultant on your first project can be one of the best investments for future projects that you will ever make. The LEED certification process is a complicated beast: Not only do you need to figure out what strategies to incorporate into your building, you then need to maneuver through the LEED documentation maze to actually earn certification. And that is where a qualified LEED consultant can pay dividends. Read more

Stakeholder Engagement is Key to LEED-EB

July 1, 2008

Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design for Existing Buildings (LEED-EB), huh? There are plenty of classes out there. All taught by LEED faculty. And they will give you a great overview of the five categories, 85 points (for EB 2.0; 91 points for LEED EB: Operations and Maintenance) and credit requirements. How do you get water credits? Reduce consumption compared to the baseline by 20 or 30 percent. How about the materials credits? Simple, just start using recycled janitorial products and increase the amount of materials your building’s occupants are recycling. Read more

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