Thursday, December 2, 2010

Architects see growing importance in taking the LEED

There was an interesting article in the Boston Business Journal the other day regarding the increasing pursuit of LEED accreditation among design professionals, both personally and in their projects. The article, titled “Architects see growing importance in taking the LEED” by Mike Hoban, stated that LEED-certified commercial buildings just surpassed 1 billion square feet globally.

“LEED certification verifies that a building was designed and built using strategies aimed at improving energy savings, water efficiency and indoor environmental quality. And although LEED has its critics, industry professionals generally recognize that being a LEED accredited professional will soon become an essential designation for those in architecture, engineering and construction.”

This milestone truly proves that this entire “green” movement is not just a fad. It’s big business, it’s the future, and it’s an opportunity to not only make a positive impact on the environment, but to make a name for yourself and your firm. If you can successfully incorporate sustainability with aesthetically pleasing design, building green can also mean success. This focus on efficiency in design is making for great competition among firms, and LEED projects are increasingly becoming the industry standard.

“I believe that smart business owners realize that sustainable design is good business,” said Bob Hoye, president and CEO of TRO Jung Brannen. “They’re increasingly interested in sustainability and can appreciate the energy savings that come with it.”

Employees with firms that focus on energy efficiency are quickly attaining LEED accreditation. The article mentions Dan Arons, co-founder and principal of Architerra. His firm consists of 15 architects, and all of them are LEED Accredited Professionals, or LEED APs. But Arons stresses that a sustainable design firm needs to be much more. “Do they have accreditation? Yes, but do they have experience doing life cycle analysis, integrating teams with diverse experience, and the expertise to help make a team be efficient at evaluating sustainability?”He said that in today’s environment, nearly all projects are fast-tracked, because “owners understand that time is money. A design team needs to be more efficient, because anything innovative takes more thinking.”

Ultimately that’s what it comes down to with almost every customer - money. Designing and constructing a building to be sustainable will most likely cost more than traditional methods. Through careful planning and design, and strategic execution, a sustainably built project will eventually save the customer money. The challenge lays in selling this notion of “green” when it costs more upfront. With knowledge, experience and proper execution, a successful firm can show the client a real return on investment in the end, and will lead them success in the future.

For further information, or to see this article in Boston Business Journal online, click the link below.

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