In a nod to Earth Day on April 21, The Columbus Dispatch published an article on April 23 on the growing trend of green buildings in Ohio. The article, “Green’ Building Designs Pop Up in State,” by Steve Wartenberg, included comments from ms’ own Jason Christoff, PE, and Eric Elizondo, AIA, two LEED AP BD+C accredited professionals at ms consultants. Both Mr. Christoff and Mr. Elizondo presented at last week’s Design Columbus 2012 Education Day and Trade Show. The event, which focused on Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), had over 500 participants.
Discussing the issue of LEED buildings with The Dispatch, Mr. Christoff noted that “LEED buildings are becoming more popular…The idea is to educate and allow everyone to understand the process because what hinders it is ignorance — people don’t understand the benefits and reasons to do it.” While he estimated the average cost increase to a project to meet LEED requirements is approximately 5 percent, he stressed that most projects make that money back in less than seven years. “The benefits are reduced utility costs and a better working environment that increases productivity. Absenteeism goes down, and property values and rental rates go up.”
Mr. Elizondo commented on the 125,000 s.f. pending LEED certified Watson and Tressel Training Site at Youngstown State University. “By using carefully designed ventilation and lighting systems, ms expects a reduction in energy consumption by 22 percent and water use by 44 percent compared with more-traditional systems."
During the Design Columbus 2012 Trade Show, Mr. Christoff and Mr. Elizondo were joined by fellow ms employees, Melissa Berardi, LEED AP BD+C, and Daniel Barringer, LEED AP ID+C, in their presentation entitled, “Open Letter to My Owner, With Love, Your LEED AP.” The presentation discussed the lessons ms professionals have learned working on LEED projects and presented key information for owners’ consideration. More than 50 industry professionals attended to learn about:
• The owners’ motivation to go LEED
• Formulating the project strategy for success including costs, owners’ engagement in developing a LEED project
• What the expectations of energy efficiency are under LEED
• The owners’ role in recycling, willingness of the owner to be the enforcer
• Thinking about public outreach and education
Other companies and firms in Ohio are getting the message on the importance of LEED. In fact, Ohio was 12th in the nation in 2011 with the certification of 13.2 million square feet of LEED-certified building space, according to the U.S. Green Building Council.
Have you had much personal experience with LEED certified buildings in Ohio? We’d love to hear your story! And our sincere thanks to everyone working towards sustainability on a personal and professional level. You make Ohio an even better place to live!