“The price of anything is the amount of life you exchange for it.” 

– Henry David Thoreau, philosopher

Not so long ago, one of the common objections to sustainable building was the comparative costs of design and construction. Never mind the ROI over time from the beneficial advantages of green elements in these structures.

No longer. 

In the world of green building, or sustainable building, LEED certified structures have become quite commonly known and recognized among contractors, builders, engineers, and architects. However, it is not universally understood in the building environment yet.

So, a fair question to ask would be, “What is LEED?”

When it Comes to Building, the World is Getting Greener

Simply put, LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, which is the most widely used green building rating and certification system in the world. LEED was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and provides third-party verification that a building meets all the essential criteria of green design.

And, while a structure need not be LEED certified to be classified as a green building, it is the most widely recognized and utilized green construction certification system in use around the world.

One source pointed out, for example, 

“LEED is the most widely used and well recognized green building rating system around the world. LEED certification is now used for practically all building (commercial or residential) and project types – from new construction and interior fit-outs to sustainable operations and maintenance upgrades.

It signifies a certification that ‘creates healthy, highly efficient, cost-saving green buildings,’ improving environmental performance from carbon footprint to indoor environmental quality.”

LEED certified construction has multiple benefits. According to Dickinson College in Pennsylvania,

“LEED-certified buildings are:

  • Built to be energy-efficient, ensuring that the home can be comfortably heated and cooled with minimal energy usage.
  • Designed to minimize indoor and outdoor water usage.
  • Use an estimated 30 to 60% less energy than a comparable home built to International Energy Conservation Code.”

Green building practices continue to be developed and are becoming more popular as sustainability concerns rise.

However, not every green, or sustainable, structure must be LEED certified to be considered “certifiably” green. But green construction is becoming more in demand by homeowners, businesses, and others. So, it behooves architects, as well as engineers and builders, to be up-to-date and educated on green building practices and requirements.

Which is where a construction consultant who specializes in sustainable building can be a valuable asset. 

Green Construction Consulting is Critical in Today’s Building Environment

Needless to say, not every architect or builder is a LEED certified professional. That does not prevent them from designing or building green, or sustainable homes and other structures. However, even for those who have been LEED certified, third-party expertise can save time, money, and – quite possibly – an entire project.

If you are an architect, for example, tasked with a green building project, there are several benefits that a construction consultant can provide for you.

Inexperienced project teams can benefit as a consultant helps to lead them through the entire process. More experienced project teams can still benefit by having a construction consultant assist with various aspects of the project, such as defining sustainability goals at the start of a project.

Assist with a Basis of Design (BoD) document

This includes design information necessary to accomplish the owner’s project requirements (OPR), such as system descriptions, indoor environmental quality criteria, and information regarding applicable codes, standards, regulations, and guidelines.

Clarify sustainability goals

Every green building project has unique sustainability goals. Construction consultants can help you clarify those goals and determine which, if any, of the stated goals for the project are not viable. Sustainability goals include objective such as:

  • Reduced operation and maintenance costs with limited cost
  • Attaining net-zero energy usage
  • Achieving optimum indoor environmental quality

Guide the design process

A construction consultant can lead or assist in an integrated design process, working with all the stakeholders of the project together to help ensure the success of the project. Consultants understand that owners, architects, engineers, contractors, facility managers, and building users can contribute to the effective design and construction of the project. 

In addition, an experienced green construction consultant can help with tasks including:

  • Application review
  • Facility Audit
  • Labor estimates procurement
  • Payback and ROI analysis
  • Introduce material and labor financing options
  • Fixture identification and selection
  • Lighting control recommendations
  • Compliance with federal, state, and local utility rebates

And, perhaps just as importantly, a good construction consultant will help you achieve the confidence you want for the completion of your project, as well as peace of mind.

Expert Construction Consulting for Your Next Project

Whether you’re a contractor or homeowner getting started on a construction project, having a construction consultant by your side is essential. The expert is well-versed with all the crucial aspects of construction, including remodeling. Their services can come in handy if you don’t have much experience in construction.

If you need professional advice and guidance, we are here to help you in all the phases of your project. We will also attend to all your questions before, during, and after the project.

To learn more, email us at crystalconstruction@aol.com or give us a call at (707) 865-5157.

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