As concerns for the bottom line and the environment meander their way through our business day, the prospects of an easy answer offer a refreshing spring breeze in an otherwise tension-heated work day. While an easy solution for every aspect of improvement may not be in hand, the promise for both an improved bottom line and a reduced environmental impact are sure. Those who rise to the challenge will receive their due reward.
Pursuing LEED is an ECONOMIC pursuit.The pursuit, while providing reduced utility costs also results in good conscience in respect to stewardship of the earth and one's care for the users of resultant structures. The LEED framework applied distills to a mindful use of natural resources, effectually reducing losses in heating, lighting, and water usage due to both system design and new materials. The gains in human health and well being are potentially significant.
LEED, as a mindset, touches all aspects of building construction. The resultant efficiency improvements include:
- reduced material waste during production, reducing costs.
- reduced construction labor costs due to streamlined methods.
- a healthier human environment as a result of new materials technologies and testing.
Additional efficiencies can be achieved by parallel trends in construction, such as off-site construction of major components. The Hospitality, as well as Multi-Family Housing Industries, are seeing an ever-increasing shift to modular construction methods. The trend to prefabricate off-site and assemble on-site now encompasses not just major components such as cabinetry, railing, and wall panels but now full rooms as well. These changes in materials and workflow are already proving to be repeatable and cost-effective while providing easy improvements to the long term occupant health with reduced negative environmental impact. See our previous article on Modular Construction.
Paving the Way
The USGBC in establishing and the industry in adopting the LEED program have set the pace. This program is wielding substantial influence on professionals involved in the construction industry. The cutting-edge early-adoption phase is still in swing. That said, the significant technological advances in chemistry, manufacturing methods, and adoption offer the next wave opportunity that you, the professional, can forge ahead with. These long term advantages beckon YOU to LEED the charge, you could of course follow and lose the benefits that being at the forefront provide. If you don't choose either of the former, in the end, you'll be left in the forgotten wasted dust of antiquity.