Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a green building certification developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) that rates green buildings, neighborhoods, and homes based on their design, construction, operation, and maintenance. It helps facilitate that operators and owners of buildings area environmentally responsible and use the building resources in an effective and efficient manner. One if the buildings that have received the accreditation include the Liberty Centre, which is a 17-story building encompassed of various offices. It is located in Portlands Lloyd District, Oregon. It is easily accessible via public transport, including a light rail stop just outside the buildings entrance. In addition the tenants are provided with educational information pertaining environmental features, such as the importance of recycling containers within the building, as well as encouraging them to take sustainable business choices.
The Liberty Centre construction entailed the incorporation of the Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) methodology, which as the A.I.A Guide (2007) posits, is a project delivery methodology that entails the integration of systems, people, practices, and business structures into a process that collaborates and harnesses participants talents and insights, thereby ensuring that the results are optimized. Therefore, this methodology increases value to the owner, maximizes efficiency, and reduces waste in the entire project construction, design, and fabrication. In essence, different participants were included in the construction process from the planning phase. In essence, the project team was involved in the entire project lifecycle, including planning, design, construction, maintenance, and operation. These were the GBD building architects, the developer and property operations, Ashford Pacific Incorporated, the commissioning agent and sustainability consultant, Green Building Services, and the consulting engineer, Glumac. These project team members were important in the whole project life cycle, and each played their part to ensure that the building was sustainable regarding energy consumption, as well as use of the construction resources in an efficient and effective manner. The IPD approach facilitated collaboration and communication among the team members, which are essential elements for all successful LEED projects. In the Liberty Centre construction project, key stakeholders were involved in virtually the whole construction life cycle, such as tenants, green building consultants, facilities management, as well as the building operations staff in the early projects development process. According to Ofori-Boadu (2012), contractors have to modify their management practices, and the contractors in the construction of Liberty Center capitalized on this aspect. The team in unison gathered building construction information, as well as tracking the construction process in a database, which acted as a central location for information and the team members could access the information they needed and easily assess it for the projects purpose.
The processes in the building use green systems. For instance, it capitalizes on a green janitorial system that uses microfiber products, chemicals, vacuums, rags, and mops with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters. The technology helps filter and trap large amounts of tiny particles that a traditional vacuum will end up circulating in the air. The HEPA technological advancement ensures the filters can trap at least 99.97% of very small particles, even of 0.3 microns. In addition, the janitorial night crew are usually involved in compacting and recycling cardboards and papers to ensure that the waste is minimized and has little or no adverse environmental impact. The building also has composting mechanisms in the buildings, thereby enabling the building to be effective in waste management. Also, the buildings operation and maintenance were within the design parameters, which was very essential in constructing the Liberty Center and ensuring that the energy efficiency goals were achieved. Therefore, it was evident that the project team never underestimated the importance of facilities management where the janitorial, procurement, and landscaping processes were streamlined and adjusted to meet LEED certification requirements.
The departmental management in the Liberty Centre construction project performed all tasks, which were inclined to the LEED certification process. For instance, the dedicated engineering department was critical in running the green building. It ensured that the computers were able to adjust temperatures as programmed, and thus, ensuring that the building consumed energy in an efficient manner. In addition, the Blackberrys installed made it easier to control cooling and heating systems remotely. However, this depends on committed and well-trained maintenance staff to ensure that the building systems are working optimally and run as intended. In seeking LEED certification, new hires were properly trained. The training allows the team to start thinking of how to incorporate more sustainability in the building and how it should fit in day-to-day-decisions. Therefore, the project team understands the need for sustainability in the projects. In essence, as USGBC (2010) asserts, technology cannot operate optimally without competent staff who ensure that the building is properly managed by maintenance staff, and thus, the effective and efficient operation of the building on various aspects, such as energy consumption and waste management.
Ashford Pacific sought for LEED certification after adapting sustainable initiatives dubbed under the E-initiative, which had four goals. These were increasing a positive impact on the local Portland community, which entailed the use of efficient use of natural and human resources as well as reducing the impact to the environment. Therefore, the building contractor of the Liberty Centre pursued LEED certification so as to quantify the E-initiative programs success, distinguish the Liberty Centre from the competing office space in the locality, as well as to reaffirm the firms guiding principles. In the construction of the building the Ashford Pacific played a huge role in ensuring that heating, water, lighting, and cooling issues were properly managed. For instance, before the LEED certification, the building, water closets were not working properly on the first flush primarily because there was no expansion tank. However, in an effort to be LEED certified, expansion tank was set up, which provided a buffer in periods of high demand USGBC (2010).
The Liberty Center construction project according to the LEED-EB v. 2.0 acquired a Silver score of 43 out of 85 possible points. As per LEED rating system, the project met several criteria. For instance, on sustainable sites, the building has alternative transportation, such as public transportation, bicycle storage, and changing rooms. It is a high development density building area, and has incorporated erosion and sedimentation control. It also effective source reduction and waste management, occupant recycling, sustainable cleaning of materials, as well as toxic material source reduction. Pertaining to water efficiency, it has water efficient landscaping and the reduction of water consumption. Indoor environmental air quality has been improved, including increased ventilation, asbestos removal and encapsulation, environmental tobacco smoke control, as well as thermal monitoring and compliance. Lastly, the design process was innovative and obtained a LEED accredited professional ranking. As such, the Liberty Center is one of the LEED construction project success and deserved the accreditation.
A. I. A Guide. (2007). Integrated project delivery: a guide. American Institute of Architects. California.
Ofori-Boadu, A., Owusu-Manu, D. G., Edwards, D., & Holt, G. (2012). Exploration of management practices for LEED projects: Lessons from successful green building contractors. Structural Survey, 30(2), 145-162.
U.S. Green Building council (USGBC) (2010). LEED Stories from Practice case Study: Liberty center. Case Study Lab, center for Housing innovation: University of Oregon. Retrieved from http://www.usgbc.org/Docs/Archive/General/Docs8826.pdf
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