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What Does LEED Platinum Look Like Inside?

What Does LEED Platinum Look Like Inside?

​Quality, Consequences and the Construction Industrial Complex (part 48) – All IMHO:

This is the sustainability version of “Where’s Waldo”. How many sustainability features can you identify in the photo above? 

This is not as easy as it sounds and it shouldn’t be, as this photo is from a LEED Platinum project I worked on and LEED Platinum, should be difficult. Whatever we all think about LEED, great design that is inclusive of sustainability considerations is always good IMHO. Also what we will identify in this photo are also very good for the health and wellbeing of the occupants. Who can hate that? 

I use this photo, in before and after shots, in my sustainability presentations to prompt thinking about sustainability measures that “hide in plain sight”. In my experience it is the sustainability measures that are less glamorous and lowest cost that have the most impact. Generally when we look for building sustainability features we look for the “sexy” visual affirmations such as PV arrays, green roofs and wind turbines. However it is the embedded sustainability measures and technology that make the most impact but please the “Green Taliban” the least, that have the most benefit IMHO.

I see eleven sustainability measures with one of them having the best long term effect for zero cost. 

  1. LED lighting
  2. Lighting day light and occupancy sensor
  3. Bamboo wood furniture
  4. Triple glazing (hard to see I know)
  5. Operable windows (hard to see I know) 
  6. Exterior sun screen (hard to see I know) 
  7. Interior sun blinds
  8. Daylight and views (Well being more than anything but still reduces lighting load)
  9. DOSA displacement ventilation
  10. Room thermostat control (for radiant heating and cooling)
  11. Wall and ceiling with no sealant or paint applied

The features above produce a low energy footprint, lower long term running costs and improved occupant comfort. However, the largest impact for the lowest cost has to be the wall or ceiling that is not painted or covered in chemical sealant. Sometimes the biggest and most benefical impact can come from informed decisions of omission. 

From the measures above, the top three that effect health and wellbeing the most by reducing VOC’s and improving indoor air quality are;

  1. Wall and ceiling with no sealant or paint applied – low to zero VOC’s
  2. Bamboo wood furniture – low to zero VOC’s
  3. DOSA displacement ventilation  

I acknowledge that not all projects can incorporate the features above but I hope some consideration can be given to them during the design process. 

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