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The Contractor's Self-Perceived Role in Sustainable Construction: Survey Results

Description

The paper was written for the International Group for Lean Construction Conference in July 2013 in Fortaleza, Brazil.

With the advent of sustainable building ordinances in the United States and internationally,

The paper was written for the International Group for Lean Construction Conference in July 2013 in Fortaleza, Brazil.

With the advent of sustainable building ordinances in the United States and internationally, contractors are required to deliver sustainable projects but have historically not been considered partners in developing the sustainability goals and objectives for projects. Additionally, as alternative project delivery methods gain popularity, contractors have an opportunity and—in an increasing number of cases—a requirement, to take a larger role in sustainability efforts beyond the design phase. Understanding the contractor’s self-perceived role in this industry is imperative to informing their future role in the sustainable construction industry. This paper presents data and analysis of a survey of general contractors in the Phoenix, Arizona market that asked for their opinions and viewpoints regarding sustainable construction. Respondents provided feedback about corporate profitability, growth forecast, and the perceived efficiency of the U.S Green Building Council’s LEED rating system. The survey also queried contractors about current and future work breakdown structures for sustainable project delivery as well as their underlying motives for involvement in these projects.
Academics from Arizona State University worked with local industry to develop the survey in 2012 and the survey was deployed in 2013. We sent the survey to 76 contractors and received responses from 21, representing a 27.6% response rate. Respondents include representatives from general contractors, mechanical contractors, and electrical contractors, among others. This paper presents the responses from general contractors as they typically have most contact with the owner and design teams.

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Date Created
  • 2013-05

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Proposal for LEED Silver Existing Buildings: Operations & Maintenance Certification of the Memorial Union, with focus on Energy Efficiency & the PowerParasol Project, Zero Waste by 2015, Water Efficiency, and Alternative Transportation Methods

Description

As the student union on Arizona State University’s main Tempe campus, the MU should be a model of building sustainability. After a fire engulfed the MU’s second floor in 2007,

As the student union on Arizona State University’s main Tempe campus, the MU should be a model of building sustainability. After a fire engulfed the MU’s second floor in 2007, the building underwent major renovations and achieved LEED v2.0: Commercial Interiors (LEED CI) Gold certification. Since then, more up-to-date building certification programs have been established, including the Green Globes (GG) green building rating system and a more recent version of LEED that suits the MU’s situation—Existing Buildings: Operations and Maintenance (LEED EB:OM). This paper performs a cost-benefit analysis of these rating systems, specifically looking at 1) national recognition, 2) ease of use, 3) amount of resources needed to invest, 4) length of time of the certification process, 5) certification fees and costs, 6) pre-requisites and system structure of point allotment, and 7) flexibility of the systems. A review of the previous LEED CI certification of the MU addresses 1) solar panel installation and renewable energy achievements, 2) improvement of indoor air quality, 3) application of sustainable construction practices, 4) missed opportunities since renovations were not performed on the entire building, 5) water efficiency scoring, and 6) lack of significant Energy & Atmosphere improvements. A proposal for the university to consider LEED EB:OM certification for the Memorial Union will be presented, analyzing the points already secured by campus-wide programs and policies, credits that are possible with minimal funding, and elaborating on opportunities already planned for completion, including 1) the Power Parasol project, 2) “Zero Waste by 2015” and “Carbon Neutrality” programs and goals, and 3) plans for alternative transportation methods through the Tempe Campus Access Management Plan. In conclusion, my recommendation to pursue LEED EB:OM and achieve Silver level will be presented. With the majority of LEED points already secured and several on the horizon, certifying the MU under LEED EB:OM will set an example and increase the amount of existing buildings on campus to pursue LEED certification. University-wide policies on green cleaning, sustainable purchasing, alternative energy sources, carbon neutrality, and LEED for Multiple Buildings all contribute to simplifying the LEED certification process for ASU buildings campus-wide.

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Date Created
  • 2013-05

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LEED certification: gold standard or gold star

Description

Since its launch by the US Green Building Council (USGBC), Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification has been postured as the "gold standard" for environmentally conscious, sustainable building

Since its launch by the US Green Building Council (USGBC), Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification has been postured as the "gold standard" for environmentally conscious, sustainable building design, construction and operations. However, as a "living measurement", one which requires ongoing evaluation and reporting of attainment and compliance with LEED certification requirements, there is none. Once awarded, LEED certification does not have a required reporting component to effectively track continued adherence to LEED standards. In addition, there is no expiry tied to the certification; once obtained, a LEED certification rating is presumed to be a valid representation of project certification status. Therefore, LEED lacks a requirement to demonstrate environmental impact of construction materials and building systems over the entire life of the project. Consequently, LEED certification is merely a label rather than a true representation of ongoing adherence to program performance requirements over time. Without continued monitoring and reporting of building design and construction features, and in the absence of recertification requirements, LEED is, in reality, a gold star rather than a gold standard. This thesis examines the lack of required ongoing monitoring, reporting, or recertification requirements following the award by the USGBC of LEED certification; compares LEED with other international programs which do have ongoing reporting or recertification requirements; demonstrates the need and benefit of ongoing reporting or recertification requirements; and explores possible methods for implementation of mandatory reporting requirements within the program.

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Date Created
  • 2013

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The effect of high SRI roofing finishes across climate zones in the U.S

Description

The intent of this research is to determine if cool roofs lead to increased energy use in the U.S. and if so, in what climates. Directed by the LEED environmental

The intent of this research is to determine if cool roofs lead to increased energy use in the U.S. and if so, in what climates. Directed by the LEED environmental building rating system, cool roofs are increasingly specified in an attempt to mitigate urban heat island effect. A typical single story retail building was simulated using eQUEST energy software across seven different climatic zones in the U.S.. Two roof types are varied, one with a low solar reflectance index of 30 (typical bituminous roof), and a roof with SRI of 90 (high performing membrane roof). The model also varied the perimeter / core fraction, internal loads, and schedule of operations. The data suggests a certain point at which a high SRI roofing finish results in energy penalties over the course of the year in climate zones which are heating driven. Climate zones 5 and above appear to be the flipping point, beyond which the application of a high SRI roof creates sufficient heating penalties to outweigh the cooling energy benefits.

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Date Created
  • 2011