How the New LEED Will Affect Contract
I am in the middle of a GANA sandwich this month, having
just returned from the Glass Association of North America’s annual conference,
only to begin preparations for the upcoming Building Envelope Contractors
(BEC) Conference in Vegas later this month. The BEC is always a hotbed
of glazing contractor discussions and networking and I am looking forward
The annual conference was an excellent way to catch up on the association’s
activities as well, and one presentation in particular got me to thinking
about how much the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)
program will impact our industry in the future. (See, I was to the point
where you probably are right now, saying, “Oh no, another LEED story!”
to yourself, but LEED continues to be adopted as code around the country
and you will not escape its reach, even if you want to.) Saulo Rozendo,
part of the high-performance building solutions team at Dow Corning Corp.,
gave an excellent presentation about the implications of the coming changes
in LEED and the International Green Construction Code (IgCC).
Here are the top five ways I expect the updated LEED green building certification
program will affect the way contract glaziers do business:
1. You’ll be doing alternative designs and analysis. LEED has always
encouraged building designers to include analysis of alternative designs
for energy load reduction. Under LEED 2012, it will be mandatory to
do so. So you’ll want to select at least five of those façade elements*
and create a minimum of two scenarios that show there is an opportunity
for reduced energy loads.
2. You’ll be involving manufacturers more. The new LEED regulations
will make it necessary for manufacturers to be present in project meetings
and during design development. Manufacturers will be called upon to answer
more questions about the proven performance of their products. Manufacturers
also will need to provide detailed life cycle analysis info about their
products as well.
3. You’ll be doing more work earlier, even before you have the job.
The new LEED regulations will make it very difficult to use a conventional
“we draw it, you bid it and get it, then we collaborate” scenario. LEED
will only hasten the coupling of architect and contractor with glazing
contractor prior to job award. There will need to be extensive collaboration
in order to be able to provide the data needed for LEED. Most of the big
guys are already playing this way—in collaboration on potential jobs very
early in the design/build process—and they like doing so, but it will
cause you to change how you gain work in the future.
4. You’ll have to make the case for glass yet again. And this time
for a whole new set of reasons. The new LEED rules take into account a
building’s potential for economic and social revitalization. The LEED-masters
have recognized that constructing a LEED platinum building that sits unoccupied
may, in reality, do more harm than good to the environment. So with the
new regulations the effect of the building on the economic and social
vitality of an area also is being judged. Glass has a great story to tell
here, but you are going to have to do the telling. “You’ll need to connect
the benefit of glass facades with the urban context,” said Rozendo.
5. You’ll be doing more testing and have higher costs. The construction
industry has never been known for taking anyone’s word for anything and
LEED compliance will be no exception. Though a few years away, independent
verification will arrive, whether in the form of testing or inspection.
The new LEED regulations have some really good parts, too. Credits will
be available for the reduction of “light pollution.” This means awnings,
low-E storm windows, solar control treatments, window film and blinds,
drapes and curtains will receive credit.
It was interesting to see what type of projects are getting certified
• 5,417 building design and construction projects;
• 1,896 interior design projects;
• 1,044 operations and maintenance projects;
• 10,166 homes; and
• 71 neighborhood development projects have all been LEED-certified.
Though those numbers seem relatively low now, they will continue to grow
until an uncertified building is rarer than a certified one.
LEED is one of those trends that will slowly and subtly, yet profoundly,
change our industry in the days to come. Be ready.
* Five must be selected from the following list: massing and orientation;
solar gain on facades and roofs; glazing characteristics; insulation;
window-to-wall ratio (aperture percentage); lighting power density; operational
parameters; and thermal comfort ranges.
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