Tag Archives: LEED v4

How To Realize Actual Savings From Green Renovation Projects

Here’s how to realize actual savings from green renovation projects.

You’ve spent tens of thousands of dollars on a renovation with the goal of raising a building’s Energy Star score from 60 to 75 because your CFO wants an Energy Starcertification. Will it work? How will you know? Was the initial goal a real-world possibility based on experience, or just wishful thinking?

The idea of bridging the gap between a goal (or design intent) and actual efficient operation (i.e., achieving that goal) is just as critical to keep in mind for green renovation projects as it is for new construction. Setting realistic goals, commissioning all work (and recommissioning it down the road), and measuring and verifying that the work is meeting the goals on a long-term basis are three steps facility managers should take to ensure success with green renovation projects.

Defining the scope of the renovation — whether a relatively simple lighting retrofit or a full gut rehab — is the first step to setting realistic goals once the renovation is complete. According to Peter Strazdas, associate vice president, facilities management, Western Michigan University, this is often the most difficult part. Setting the scope, and thus the goals, is akin to setting the project program on new construction. But with renovations, it’s often more difficult to keep the intended focus.

“The program tends to get diluted, so we concentrate a lot on staying the course with renovations,” he says. “We carefully document the program for the renovation at the beginning, and more importantly, we document why we are employing certain strategies.” Strazdas says the reason for careful documentation is to show both his customers — the faculty and students who use the buildings — as well as his facility managers and technicians precisely why decisions were made at the front end. This limits changes and keeps the scope manageable. It also helps with ongoing efficient operations as the technicians know and understand why decisions were made.

“They may understand the technical stuff, but they don’t understand why, for instance, we chose LEDs or occupancy sensors. It’s terribly important to start this explanation at the beginning with the project program.”

Strazdas says Western Michigan currently has more than 300 renovation projects in the works, so it’s easy to see why it’s important to keep each project on target — in terms of both facility management goals and what the customer wants. At the end of the day, those are the two most critical factors that define whether a project is successful or not.

But how do you set realistic goals, then ensure that they‘re followed through to success? With new construction, an energy model is the go-to strategy for setting efficiency goals — and that strategy could work for renovations, as well. If the project is big enough, says Strazdas, the few extra bucks up front to model is worth it. “The model helps identify strategies that we could not have come up with on our own,” he says. “You can’t just work on the back of a napkin anymore.”

But a full-scale energy model for most renovation projects isn’t realistic. Jim Cooke, national facilities operations manager for Toyota Motor Sales North America, says his organization sets goals for renovations by comparing expected results with new construction. He says the first question is: “How close can we come with a renovation project to how efficient we are with new construction? Our goals for renovations definitely revolve around being able to apply lessons learned from new construction.”

Source: facilitiesnet

LEED v4 Expands Acoustic Performance In Multiple Areas

n addition to Schools and Healthcare, LEED Building Design and Construction (BD+C) v4 expands acoustic performance into several other variations of the rating system, such as New Construction, Data Centers, and Hospitality. LEED Interior Design and Construction (ID+C) v4 also includes a new EQ credit for Acoustic Performance.

LEED BD+C v4 EQ Prerequisite: Minimum Acoustic Performance (Schools only). This Schools-only prerequisite ratchets up the v2009 criteria by specifying a maximum HVAC background noise level of 40 dBA. A new requirement requires high-noise sites to implement measures to mitigate sound transmission into core learning spaces (including between spaces).

Core learning spaces at or over 20,000 cubic feet will need to reduce the reverberation time in accordance with the 2002 NRC-CNRC Construction Technology Update No. 51, Acoustical Design of Rooms for Speech (or local equivalent). Spaces under 20,000 cubic feet must either exhibit sound-absorbent finishes (NRC rating of 0.70 or higher) that equal or exceed the ceiling area, or teams must confirm conformance to ANSI Standard S12.60-2010.

LEED BD+C v4 EQ Credit: Acoustic Performance (1 point). Unlike the Schools-only prerequisite, this credit also applies to LEED for New Construction, Data Centers, Warehouses & Distribution Centers, Hospitality, and Commercial Interiors. There is Schools-specific credit language and the two-point Healthcare-2009 EQc2 credit is also parsed.

New Construction, Data Centers, Warehouses & Distribution Centers, Hospitality, and Commercial Interiors Criteria: Teams shall minimize HVAC background noise per the 2011 ASHRAE Handbook, HVAC Applications, Chapter 48, Table 1 or AHRI Standard 885-2008, Table 15 (or a local equivalent). Teams must calculate or measure sound levels to confirm compliance. The credit also references the ASHRAE 2011 Applications Handbook, Table 6 (or a local equivalent) for maximum allowable HVAC noise levels resulting from sound transmission paths.

Next, teams must meet the composite STCc ratings and reverberation time requirements as tabulated in the LEED credit language. Lastly, for large conference rooms and assembly spaces, teams shall address the need for sound reinforcement systems. If needed, teams shall meet the specified Speech Transmission Index (STI) or Common Intelligibility Scale (CIS) rating, keep sound levels at or below 70 dBA, and maintain specified sound-level coverage. For projects that use masking systems, the design levels must not exceed 48 dBA.

Schools Criteria: Building off of the schools-specific prerequisite, HVAC background noise levels may not exceed 35 dBA. The credit also requires projects to meet ANSI Standard S12.60-2010, Part 1, except windows — which must have an STC rating of at least 35 unless noise levels can be verified to justify a lower rating.

Healthcare Criteria: The healthcare-specific criteria is basically the Healthcare-2009 EQc2: Acoustic Environment criteria with some minor revisions to the credit language. The two basic options remain:

Option 1: Address speech privacy, sound isolation, and background noise (1-2 points).

Option 2: Acoustical finishes and site exterior noise (1 point).

LEED O+M v4 EQ Credit: Occupant Comfort Survey. Even the Occupant Comfort Survey credit within LEED Building Operations and Maintenance (O+M) v4 requires an acoustic evaluation. This underscores the green building industry’s increasing understanding that our sense of hearing plays a significant factor in comfort, wellness, and the ability to perform in a space.

Daniel Overbey, AIA, LEED AP BD+C, is the director of sustainable design practices for Browning Day Mullins Dierdorf Architects in Indianapolis. He can be reached atdoverbey@bdmd.com.

LEED v4 Offers More Stringent Acoustical Standards

Typically, the term indoor environmental quality (IEQ) evokes considerations of healthy indoor air along with visual and thermal comfort. Adequate ventilation, indoor pollution source control, equitable controllability of lighting systems, and access to daylight and views appropriately draw focus as key concepts for design teams endeavoring for optimal indoor environments. However, the high-performance design community is now beginning to recognize the importance of acoustical comfort as an important sensory influence in assessing IEQ. As part of that recognition, the new LEED v4 offers more stringent acoustical standards.

Loud sounds and ambient environmental noise can be detrimental to the experience of a space, but recent research is going beyond anecdotal evidence to prove just how vital acoustical performance can be for the success of a project — especially schools and healthcare facilities.

Performance And Health

When noise levels in a classroom are too high, students and teachers lose the ability to intelligibly understand each other. According to the United States General Accounting Office (GAO), more than 28 percent of elementary and secondary schools exhibit unsatisfactory environmental noise conditions. In a GAO study of 21,900 schools, concern over acoustics was rated higher than ventilation (27.1 percent), physical security (24.2 percent), indoor air quality (19.2 percent), heating (18.9 percent), or lighting (15.6 percent).

The detrimental effects of poor acoustical environments spread beyond learning environments. Another study, published in the British Journal of Psychology, asked workers to perform two tasks: 1) memorize and then recall a piece of prose; 2) undertake simple mental arithmetic. During the test period, workers were subjected to recordings of general office noise. The research found that the accuracy of the subjects’ work was reduced by approximately 67 percent when exposed to the recorded office. A later study found that 57 percent of workers in an office environment have their concentration negatively affected by nearby sounds and background noise.

Beyond annoyance or decreased productivity, the effect of poor acoustical environments may also impact health.

Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) examined evidence from large-scale epidemiological studies linking the population’s exposure to environmental noise with adverse health effects and established a link between road traffic noise and increased risk of cardiovascular diseases, including myocardial infarction. In fact, an emerging body of work is beginning to establish a link between exposures to environmental noise and sleep disturbance, cognitive impairment in children, and Tinnitus, among other human health concerns. A facility’s acoustic performance matters for reasons of comfort, occupant performance, and human health.

Tips For Success

Acoustics have been a niche concern for so long that many are uncomfortable with the topic. The following considerations will help achieve good acoustic performance:

Engage an expert: An acoustician can prove very helpful in achieving specific acoustic performance criteria. Alternatively, a mechanical engineer with a specialized knowledge in acoustics can be effective. This acoustic expert should work with the project team to help conduct a site analysis, implement strategies, perform calculations, and take field measurements.

Identify referenced standards: LEED v4 permits a reasonable degree of flexibility within the acoustic performance credit framework. Referenced standards can be bypassed in lieu of local equivalents. Teams should determine the appropriate standards early in a project and commit to them.

Define the criteria early: Teams will be most successful if acoustics are planned for early in the design process. Different user groups have unique requirements that need to be carefully documented. Teams should match appropriate strategies to specific criteria.

HVAC background noise: Determine specific acoustic and HVAC needs, then assign and coordinate design and performance criteria. This will affect what mechanical equipment is selected.

Sound isolation: Complete the calculations during the design phase. Identify or calculate STCc ratings for all assemblies. Verify calculations after substantial completion of construction. Measure the Noise Isolation Class (NIC) for all assemblies.

Reverberation time: A metric heavily influenced by design specifications, criteria should be identified and coordinated. The entire team should have a general understanding of spaces with sensitive or otherwise atypical reverberation time requirements.

Thanks to our friends at Facilities.net for this article!

Newest Version of LEED Rating System to Launch in November

Leed-logo-top-storyU.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) membership voted during the summer of 2013 to adopt the fourth version of the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED v4), the next update to the green building rating system. The final overall vote was 86 percent in favor of adopting LEED v4. This includes 90 percent approval from the user category of the voting body, 77 percent approval from the general interest category and 89 percent approval from the producer category. The minimum overall percentage of votes needed for a passing vote was 66.7 percent.

LEED v4 will officially launch at the Greenbuild International Expo and Conference and Expo, Nov. 20-22. Teams will then be able to register their projects under the new system and access the tools and suite of resources that support it.

“There are 46 countries and territories around the world and all 50 U.S. states (and the District of Columbia) represented in the voting pool for LEED v4, which includes an extraordinarily diverse group of industry professionals, manufacturers, educators and other green building leaders,” says Joel Ann Todd, chair of the LEED Steering Committee. “USGBC sets a very high bar for a rating system to be approved. The rating system must earn a significant percentage of the overall vote as well as a majority approval from each of the various LEED stakeholder groups. This ensures that rating system approval represents the full diversity of USGBC’s membership.”

Over the course of LEED’s development cycle, the program undergoes a series of public comment periods ending with a final ballot, during which USGBC members vote on whether to adopt the changes within the final proposed system.

“This update of LEED builds on the past while offering new requirements, preparing all LEED projects to achieve higher levels of building performance and positive environmental outcomes,” says Scot Horst, senior vice president of LEED for the USGBC. “This newest version of LEED challenges the market to make the next leap toward better, cleaner, healthier buildings. I am confident that people will also notice the improved usability of the system with an improved documentation process and more resources and tools to assist and support positive action.”

USGBC plans to offer education on LEED v4 in the form of webinar suites, and the full program, along with reference guides, will be unveiled at Greenbuild International Conference & Expo.