VOICES In the Trenches
THE TREND SHOWS NO SIGN OF STOPPING:
Organizations are incorporating more sustainable
design into their construction projects to harness
energy savings and lessen their environmental
impact. To help with these efforts, a growing
number of U.S. federal, state and local government
agencies are creating procurement programs to
promote the use of environmentally sustainable
products and targeted energy and water savings on
The procurement process for green buildings
may seem daunting to a newcomer because it
requires different team member qualifications
and different requirements management. Yet the
performance—and bottom-line benefits—of such
buildings are impressive.
Green buildings demand more up-front teamwork
and open lines of communication between
disciplines. This is because sustainability is a factor
not just in the building’s design, but in its construction and eventual life-cycle performance too. In addition, many jurisdictions require arduous approval
processes to ensure the project conforms with local
green building requirements, which may be more
stringent than international and state building codes.
For instance, on several LEED-certified projects
I worked on in Florida, USA, for a retail client,
the project team calibrated the design of the walls
and roofs to ensure a certain level of insulation
around the building and minimize the impact
of the region’s high humidity. This resulted in
efficient HVAC cooling loads during peak and
off-peak hours, which translated to sustainable
building operations and met local green building
requirements. In order to achieve this, early on in
the design phase we collaborated very closely with
mechanical and electrical engineers as well as the
client’s construction management team.
This integrated effort for green buildings ultimately pays off via lower life-cycle operating costs
(energy and potable water savings), higher productivity with tenants and employees, and higher
property values for building owners.
Given the added requirements on the team,
it makes sense that more requests for proposals
(RFPs) seek teams that already have considerable
experience with LEED or Green Globes projects. In
addition, more RFP teams want bidders to be experienced with integrated project delivery.
Procurement plays a big role in
sustainable construction projects. But it
doesn’t have to slow down a project.
By Ed LeBard, PMP