The quest to have projects LEED®-accredited continues to grow each year. For some building owners, the goal is to simply reach "certified" status, while others strive for silver, gold, or platinum level certification. We are sailing uncharted waters in this process, so Engineered Systems magazine and I are going to help you stay the course. As a part of the new ES Blog, we are going online with a "Sustainable & Attainable" series to provide a practitioner's guide to energy and environmental achievement.


I truly believe in the LEED concept and believe that the process has sustainable value for the building owner, beginning with the scorecard approach to LEED, because it is measurable, and measurement is the cornerstone to quality control. Having a measurable process eliminates opinion and simply states that the addition of credits equals the sum of the credits.

Way back in the 20th century, when some of us were striving to overcome the first energy crisis, we didn't have an analytical approach to energy conservation. Instead, we each had our own approach to leadership in energy and environmental design. How often did we see projects win energy design awards before the builders had even finished construction of the project?

Unfortunately, some of those award-winning designs became energy-efficient, albeit sick buildings. On a more positive note, at that point in time, ASHRAE rolled out its energy-engineering award that was based on a minimum of one year of building operating performance. Back then, I would explain the value of this award by saying, "I could design the perfect energy-efficient HVAC building system but, if a facility group didn't understand the system, embrace the operation and maintenance, and take ownership of this ‘great' design, then my project would be a real dog of job."

In other words, it takes more than a uniquely engineered design on paper to be energy-efficient. Measuring the energy consumption based on actual performance was one of the few ways we could analytically judge the success of those award-winning jobs.


As we went through the 1980s and 1990s, energy engineering lost its edge as we were consumed with building buildings, and so now we are returning to a more energy-conscious environment with a better way to benchmark engineered solutions for the building industry. The LEED process is the 21st century's answer to energy engineering, but how long will it take for us to get up to speed with the scorecard procedure? Many of us who provide commissioning services have a lead over those who do the actual energy and environmental design because commissioning is a prerequisite. What does that mean to us? Well, we have 12, 14, maybe 16 LEED projects going, while design teams are working on one LEED job at a time. So we are learning the LEED process 12, 14, 16 times faster and, as a third-party commissioning firm, we are gathering a wide range of energy and environmental design approaches from several different design teams. How great is that?

Armed with all this potential wisdom, we are rolling out our "Sustainable & Attainable" series that you can find on the ES Blog at http://blog.esmagazine.com. With the blog's capability to host comments from readers, we will be opening up lines of communication about the LEED experience. In turn, we will be sharing with you some great ideas, standard details, sequence of operation, and tricks of the trade as they pertain to energy and environmental design.

The goal is to provide a practitioner's approach to LEED with the creation of standard details, high-performance (HP) system sequences of operation, checklists, and other useful documents from an ES LEED electronic library. In the months to come, we will be posting our suggestions for:

  • Project tracking logs
  • Shop drawing submittal stamps
  • Measure and verification (M&V) plans
  • Benchmarking the M&V plans
  • Standard HP details
  • Standard HP specification inserts
  • Standard HP sequences of operation

    So, log on to http://blog.esmagazine.com and see what's going on. Download the available files as we post them. If you have an electronic document you want to share with us, please do. We are all anxious to learn more and do things better for the environment. We will continue to build our ES LEED electronic library in the coming months with the belief that this analytical process is a sustainable success. After all, LEED is good for you, me, the neighborhood, the community, and the world we live in. ES