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It's not that easy….bein' green

 

- Rob Smith is a principal at Architects Smith Metzger.

 Or is it?  An associate in my office was flipping through a 645 page reference guide on green building design searching for a way to get a project from LEED SILVER to LEED GOLD, and he commented on the tremendous effort in the certification process to get the LEED badge.

He already took the “low hanging fruit” such as bike racks and low-flow faucets.  Other choices were either a mountain of paperwork to track a single credit or the option to buy energy credits. 

We couldn’t help but wonder how it came to this. All the added documentation and fees to be green.  Mr. Contractor, chase down the recycled content on every material in this project…yes, all of them!  And at the end of the day, there’s hundreds of hours spent analyzing energy usage. But that’s ok – that’s our job. Some clients feel the additional costs for these services are a small price to pay for a sustainable building, but some do not.

That’s when the light bulb went off. IT IS EASY BEING GREEN!!  What the green movement has done is make many things in designing a building “standard practice”.  Think of the things that most take for granted now.

You want low-emitting paints? No problem. The industry has those options now. How about a way to divert all that construction waste from landfills? Sure, there’s a company that will do all that now. Low-flow toilets are now a standard.  

So even if you don’t go for the badge, rest assured your building will still embrace many green principals and utilize all the fantastic new toys of the trade.

What do you think about green certification?  Let me know at rsmith@smithmetzger.com

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