Tag Archives: LEED

Hotels earn more when LEED certified

A new study suggests Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified hotels can be more successful than their uncertified competitors. The Courtyard Kansas City at Briarcliff is the first LEED-certified hotel in Kansas City. Photo courtesy Marriott International

A new study suggests Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified hotels can be more successful than their uncertified competitors. The Courtyard Kansas City at Briarcliff is the first LEED-certified hotel in Kansas City. Photo courtesy Marriott International

Cornell University has released a new study reporting hotels certified under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program earn increased revenue.

“The Impact of LEED Certification on Hotel Performance” was conducted by Matthew Walsman, Rohit Verma, PhD, and Suresh Muthulingam, PhD, from the university’s Center for Hospitality Research (CHR). In total, 93 LEED-certified hotels were compared to 514 competitive non-certified facilities. Performance review data over a two-year period was supplied by CHR partner, Smith Travel Research (STR), for the comparisons. Data used was the average daily rate (ADR) and revenue per available room (RevPAR).

The findings indicated the boost in revenue was found in various types of hotels, although most compared were luxury facilities in both urban and suburban locations.

“We’ll have many more hotels to study in the future,” said Walsman. “Now companies like Marriott have included LEED as part of their own design specifications for new constructions.”

The initial LEED program did not directly include hotels, but in the newest LEED v4 includes hospitality-specific categories.

According to researchers, the next data that should be considered is a cost analysis between LEED-certified and not certified hotels, in addition to this study of only profits.

USGBC launches international market briefs

Tallest Tower in Taiwan

Taipei 101 in Taiwan: one of the world’s tallest buildings to hold Platinum under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program. Photo © BigStockPhoto/ How Chua

The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has expanded its online data visualization resources, allowing access to aggregated green building project information in more than 150 countries.

Following on the U.S. state market briefs launched in the spring, the international market briefs detail Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) projects by owner sector, rating system, and space type for all countries, along with in-market LEED credentialed professionals and USGBC members.

“LEED is driving innovation and sustainable development across the globe,” said Mahesh Ramanujam, USGBC chief operating officer. “These market briefs offer a global view, country by country, simultaneously representing the international demand for LEED and our commitment to making the story and the data behind it transparent.”

The gross commercial square footage certified by the Green Building Certification Institute outside the U.S. rose from 156 to 176 million square feet in a single year (2012-2013). Currently, more than 648 million square feet of commercial space is LEED certified outside the United States, including new buildings in Venezuela and Kuwait, along with Canada, India, China, and throughout Europe.

The international market briefs can be downloaded either as a visualization or as a raw data file at usgbc.org/advocacy/country-market-brief

Walking the Walk

Energy distributor makes efficiency top priority

A clear-span steel structural system was chosen to accommodate heavy equipment at the Washington Electric Cooperative project in Marietta, Ohio. A standing-steam metal roof system was specified to provide relief from the leaks of the former facilities. Photos © D.A. Fleischer Photography

A clear-span steel structural system was chosen to accommodate heavy equipment at the Washington Electric Cooperative project in Marietta, Ohio. A standing-steam metal roof system was specified to provide relief from the leaks of the former facilities.
Photos © D.A. Fleischer Photography

By Kevin Hutchings

Maximizing energy efficiency is a key concern on virtually every new commercial construction project. When the construction happens to be for the electric provider itself, it is easy to understand how the priority takes on even greater importance. This was the case for Washington Electric Cooperative, an energy distributor located in Marietta, Ohio.

The company had been operating for years out of three separate facilities, serving nearly 10,500 customers in six counties. After five years of site planning and land acquisition, it was ready to consolidate under one roof, adding both operational and administrative efficiencies in the process.

Chief among Washington Electric’s goals with its new facility was the desire to build to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification, underscoring its commitment to energy efficiency. Additionally, the company had a vested interest in using a local company for construction.

Persistence pays off
Washington Electric approached a local builder for a design-build solution. However, since the project was receiving financial assistance from the local Rural Utility Service (RUS), a government agency, the project was required to go through a bid process. After nine bidders and 90 days, local company Mondo Building & Excavating was chosen for the project.

The building was originally designed to pursue entry-level LEED certification. Striving for a higher goal of Silver would have required enhancements specific to such areas as water runoff and recycling—issues not germane to Washington Electric’s core business.

“We really wanted to do it right when it came to the energy side,” says the company’s CEO Ken Schilling. “We wanted to walk the walk with everything from solar panels to high-efficiency water heating, geothermal heating and cooling, and high-efficiency windows.”

In an effort to decrease the amount of artificial light needed and control heating costs, all offices were located on the outer perimeter, and a clerestory runs the entire length of the facility.

In an effort to decrease the amount of artificial light needed and control heating costs, all offices were located on the outer perimeter, and a clerestory runs the entire length of the facility.

Bringing more natural light inside the building also played a key role in LEED certification. For instance, all of the offices were located on

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the outer perimeter, enabling inclusion of windows. This allows the building to gain more heat from the sun during the winter, as well as reduce the energy required for electrical lighting.

Kevin Guiler, project manager, explains how another design element provided a flood of natural light.

“We added a clerestory that runs the entire 61-m (200-ft) length of the facility. It has 762-mm (30-in.) windows that add daylight and help conserve energy by reducing daily lighting needs,” he said.

The clerestory also features a gable-type window on the front facing to give it an attractive, finished look.

The new facility is 2787 m2 (30,000 sf)—including 1003 m2 (10,800 sf) of office space and 1783 m2 (19,200 sf) of space for operational support. At any given time, bills are being processed in the front area, while bucket trucks and track diggers are maneuvering in the building’s back area.

With such a broad range of activities happening inside, it was critical to find a cost-effective building design that could also be versatile.

A clear-span steel structural system was used to construct the facility, with 7.6-m (25-ft) bays in the back to accommodate the heavy equipment frequently moving in and out of the building. While the company’s needs did not call for a clear-span frame, the structural system did provide the flexibility necessary to optimize all work processes inside the facility.

The building’s roof features a standing-seam metal roof system. This was a change from the existing buildings the company was operating from—all three were experiencing leak issues. Schilling recalls the issues of the old administration building in particular.

“It was a brick building built around 1963, and it had a flat roof,” he says. “It leaked around the rooftop heat pumps and was giving us fits.”

The roof system provided a proven weathertight solution. The assembly’s efficiency, long life cycle, and recyclability attributes helped contribute to the sustainability of the new facility as well.

Smooth construction
Despite running into a few unforeseen challenges, including some tricky excavation work around a high-pressure gas line outside the building, the overall construction process itself went smoothly.

“Our concept was we wanted a simple building, but one that was very energy efficient and functional,” says Shillilng. “We were determined to get a lot of bang for our buck and have a building that will be useful for the next 50 years. “

CROPKevin Hutchings has been the training manager for Butler Manufacturing for 15 years. He is responsible for product, builder management, and sales training. Hutchings joined Butler as an order technician for the buildings division and in the retrofit roof group, where he gained substantial experience in metal roof design and detailing. He has also served as project services manager for the roof division of Butler, managing a number of large and complex retrofit roof projects. Hutchings can be contacted by e-mail at jkhutchings@butlermfg.com.

A Paradigm Shift in Specifying Temporary Structures

All images courtesy Mahaffey Fabric Structures

All images courtesy Mahaffey Fabric Structures

by Beth Wilson

Clear-span aluminum structures and temporary steel buildings have advanced over the years. Knowing when to use them is a skill worth mastering for construction specifiers, procurement professionals, and facility managers. Familiarity with specific spaces, and knowing the assemblies’ framework of costs and benefits, may also help designers and specifiers incorporate them into their own sites and make optimal recommendations.

For those who have been in the trade for a while, there may be a natural aversion to temporary structures. Historically, these options have been expensive, constrictive, and almost universally required functional concessions on some level. Up until about a decade ago, if space was needed immediately or in the near-term for occupancy of less than five years, there were not a lot of reasonable options (Figure 1).

Traditional options for occupancies of less than five years.

Traditional options for occupancies of less than five years.

New options
Since the turn of the century, there have been exponential improvements in the strength, quality, versatility, cost-effectiveness, and energy efficiency of clear-span aluminum and temporary steel structures. The result has been a paradigm shift in the consideration of temporary space.

Although modular trailers have come a long way in form, function, and versatility, they are generally designed for office and classroom use and are not typically scalable without creating a village. When larger, contiguous, weather-tight warehouse or workspace is needed, the two best options are industrial clear-span tents and temporary steel buildings.

Clear-span structures
There are several classes of clear-span structures that can be installed onsite in less than one week, outfitted with utilities and a full range of access, safety, and security features. Also called ‘industrial tents,’ these aluminum systems include stretched fabric.

These are lightweight aluminum structures offering both durability and versatility. Typically, they are deployed for up to six months at a time in temperate climates where sun protection is more of a priority than severe weather, such as petrochemical facilities and oil fields in Texas and Louisiana. A structure rated for a wind speed of 144 kph (90 mph) is more than sufficient to protect contents and occupants from summer thunderstorms. Further, these structures can be relocated fairly easily, making them a good choice if site flexibility is an issue.

Interior view of final strucutre deployment around existing nuclear facilities at Grand Gulf Nuclear Power Station in Port Gibson, Mississippi.

Interior view of final strucutre deployment around existing nuclear facilities at Grand Gulf Nuclear Power Station in Port Gibson, Mississippi.

If a more substantial structure is needed in harsher climates for at least three months, an aluminum box beam system is a better option. These can withstand winds up to 209 kph (130 mph) and snow loads of up to 146 kg/m2 (30 lb/sf).

For hangar-type applications or environmental remediation sites in snow country, a peaked arch structure is the best option, as it is engineered with a slope for snow shedding. This is a light-weight structure, which can also be moved with ease.

Temporary steel buildings
Similar to clear-span aluminum systems, temporary steel buildings offer the key benefits of a permanent structure without the long ‘planning/building’ wait and long-term commitment to real estate. They are designed with the aggregate of state and local building codes in mind. Most, if not all, are compliant with American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) guidelines, International Building Code (IBC), and California Fire Marshall Code (equal to or exceeding the standard issued by the National Fire Protection Association [NFPA]). Given these considerations, obtaining permits and approvals is usually expedient. Also, because clear-span structures have no interior uprights to impede usable space, flexibility is maximized.

Perhaps most compelling in the consideration of temporary steel buildings is their low upfront and monthly cost over a three-year term when compared to plan/build and lease options. Particularly when one considers lease and plan/build expenses start well before the space is ready, it is worth noting the cost per square meter for time-in-use during the first year (Figure 2).

Time-framing the decision
There are two primary questions that frame the ideal spot for using clear-span aluminum structures and temporary steel buildings: How soon is it needed, and for how long?

A clear-span aluminum structure can easily meet an immediate need and is typically durable enough to remain installed onsite for up to two years. Temporary steel buildings can also be onsite quickly—21 to 30 days in most cases—and serve a three- to five-year term. The structures can certainly last longer, but it becomes a less economical choice.

If the need is not immediate, and the term is more than five years, then leasing, purchasing, or building offsite space become better options (Figure 3).

While some larger organizations have entire departments dedicated to property planning, investment, and management, others choose to stay focused on core businesses and avoid the complexities of long-term real estate entanglements. The latter is an ideal scenario for temporary structures. Also, because temporary buildings are considered an operating expense as opposed to a capital expense, many organizations see tax benefits in their use. Additionally, the overall cost for space needed for five years or less can be as much as 81 percent less per square meter.

Finally, both aluminum and steel clear-span structures can generally be installed without a poured or pieced foundation. A dry, level lot, or a paved parking lot, are all that is needed for installation. This is a big factor on the shortened installation timeline, and also exempts temporary buildings from property taxes in most jurisdictions.

Various costs associated with temporary steel buildings compared with other routes.

Various costs associated with temporary steel buildings compared with other routes.

Energy efficiency, sustainability, and LEED
Previously, the term ‘temporary’ was used to infer flimsy and disposable. With advances in materials and engineering, temporary structures can be designed to be energy-efficient, and their elements are generally reusable and recyclable. A temporary building may not be certified under Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) on its own, but employing one may help qualify a larger project for points. Suitable vendors should obtain materials from recycled sources, repurpose its structures (or elements thereof), and recycle materials at the end of their useful life. For example, a manufacturer targeting LEED accreditation could use a temporary structure to expand a production facility, as opposed to building a larger permanent facility.

Specifically, potential LEED credits include:

  • Materials and Resources (MR) 1.1, Building Reuse–Maintain Existing Walls, Floors, and Roof;
  • MR 1.2, Building Reuse–Maintain 50% of Interior Non-structural Element;
  • MR 2, Construction Waste Management—if a vendor can prove elements of a structure will be recycled at the end-of-life; and
  • MR 3, Materials Reuse—if the structure used has been erected before.

In addition to LEED benefits, many vendors now offer energy-efficient lighting and HVAC options, as well as insulated wall panels ranging in R-value from R-13 to R-30. These buildings are often used for safety and craft ‘tents’ in the harshest of summer and winter climates, offering refuge for workers on remote sites. The cost of utilities in operating these is greatly reduced from the tents of a decade ago.

Utility and safety are essential
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) frequently makes use of clear-span structures and temporary steel buildings in disaster relief and recovery efforts, as well as for environmental remediation. The requirements for these projects are frequently as rigorous as a permanent structure, including wind and weather, energy efficiency, utilities, security systems, and custom interior finishes. Sometimes the only difference is the timeframe—onsite immediately, or in less than a month.

The safety and professional certifications of a chosen vendor should be considered when choosing a temporary structure for a site. Often sites have specific requirements, such as:

  • Transportation Workers Identification Credential (TWIC);
  • Defense Information Systems Agency (DISA);
  • Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA); and
  • National Center for Safety Initiatives (NCSI).

On May 22, 2011, an Enhanced Fujita (EF) 5 tornado hit the town of Joplin, Missouri. Public infrastructure was leveled, including an elementary school with a large multi-purpose room (i.e. the cafeteria, gym, and auditorium) that also served the larger community for meetings and events. Replacing such a core asset for the town became a priority for the USACE team, and so a fully functioning gymnasium for the elementary school was installed. The 20 x 30-m (66 x 100-ft) community-uniting facility was bigger and stronger than the multipurpose room that stood before the storm. The steel I-beam construction with vertical steel sidewalls and pre-stressed roofing material provided a solid structure around which the community could rebuild itself.

Weighing options for temporary structures versus leasing, purchasing, or building offsite space. Images courtesy Mahaffey Fabric Structures and Boomerang Buildings

Weighing options for temporary structures versus leasing, purchasing, or building offsite space. Images courtesy Mahaffey Fabric Structures and Boomerang Buildings

Bringing a building to you
In late 2011, integrated energy company Entergy, was up against a federal deadline to update the nuclear cores at Grand Gulf Nuclear Power Station in Port Gibson, Mississippi. The cost of moving the reactor units to a controlled work environment would have been astronomical.

A custom structure was built over the reactors in place. In less than three weeks, a 25 x 40-m (82 x 132-ft) building was erected. A portion of the building had 6.4-m (21-ft) uprights to accommodate the use of heavy equipment inside, while the balance had 4.8-m (16-ft) sidewalls. The two were merged around an existing security fence and plantings, avoiding the need to alter the site, which would have required a lengthy and involved permitting process.

Two additional structures were also used. One tent was used for meals and safety meetings for the project laborers and a second was created to shelter the nuclear waste disposal process. When the old cores were replaced with the new more efficient ones, an aluminum temporary structure provided a controlled environment for the load-out from the tanks.

The plant was shut down during the changeover, making time of the essence. This was an ideal application of temporary structures, which provided the required workspaces on-demand, while minimizing logistics and expenses.

Interim solutions
For most of the 20th century, the fire station at the Port of Los Angeles was a unique landmark—a towering covered boathouse that protected the expensive vessels and equipment the crews used to fight fires in the port. In 1986, the boathouse was demolished, making way for the development of a new cargo container complex.

This is the interior of the temporary building serving as school gymnasium in Joplin, Missouri in May 2011.

This is the interior of the temporary building serving as school gymnasium in Joplin, Missouri in May 2011.

The Ralph J. Scott, a 30-m (100-ft) fireboat commissioned in 1926, was then moved to an open water slip in the port. In 1989, it was declared a National Historic Landmark, but, left to the weather, the elements took their toll. Fireboat #2, as it was also called, was retired in 2003. The weather contributed to the deterioration, and there were few laborers left with the skills to maintain the hand-riveted hull. The fireboat sat on a cradle behind the award-winning Station 112 in the Port for many years awaiting a visitor-friendly facility and the funding and manpower for the restoration. An interim shelter to prevent the vessel’s further deterioration was needed, as well as an enclosure where the restoration of the Los Angeles Fire Department’s (LAFD’s) longest-serving apparatus might commence.

In early 2013, a plan was delivered to the Port and the onsite building erection was completed in a total of 21 days. The Ralph J. Scott now sits in a custom building at the Port of Los Angeles—a 15 x 36-m (50 x 120-ft) structure with custom 10.67-m (35-ft) sidewalls and a 32-degree roof pitch. Special eave and gable framing support the taller sidewalls while maintaining a clear-span working space in the center to accommodate the ship’s shape.

Conclusion
From school gymnasiums to nuclear reactors to historic sites, temporary buildings offer a range of flexible, durable, and safe options that are both cost-effective over the short term and energy-efficient in the harshest of climates. While planning future projects, it is critical to ask the ‘how-soon’ and ‘how-long’ qualifying questions to determine whether a clear-span aluminum structure or temporary steel building should be considered.

Beth Wilson is the marketing manager for Mahaffey Fabric Structures—a vendor for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), Exxon, S&B Engineers and Constructors, the U.S. Army, and Turner Construction. She is a board member for the Memphis Regional Chapter of the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) and has been published in more than 20 industry publications. Wilson was instrumental in promoting Mahaffey’s sustainable Boomerang Building product line and providing guidance on building components made from recycled material with the goal of achieving LEED points. She is also an accomplished presenter and mentor for those seeking CMP credit with the USGBC and the Green Building Certification Institute (GBCI). Wilson can be contacted by e-mail at beth@boomerangbuildings.com.

Adaptive Reuse: Inner-city High School Campus Builds Up

he doors used effectively separate the elevator lobby area from the corridors in Georgia’s North Atlanta High School high-rise building.  Photos © Jim Roof/Won-Door FireGuard

The exterior of the 11-story renovation of North Atlanta High School. Photos © Jim Roof/Won-Door FireGuard

By Sharon Haddock

The new North Atlanta High School has risen from the ashes of an old office complex and now boasts safe access and egress for students across campus.

Designed by Collins Cooper Carusi Architects along with Cooper Carry & Associates, the 23-ha (56-acre) site was previously a complex of aging IBM office buildings that included two 11-story towers. Reborn as a school, the project is targeting Silver under the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) program.

Opened as of November 2012, it also showcases—particularly to school districts looking for more land and space—that valuable, finite inner-city space can be effectively and efficiently repurposed.

Door specifications
Horizontal sliding accordion fire doors were specified for 48 openings. These doors were chosen to separate and protect—among other access points—the express elevator doorways that will transport students rapidly to the upper floors.

“We needed to get 2400 kids up to the classrooms on the upper floors,” said Margarita R. Perez, the onsite architect for Collins Cooper Carusi Architects. “Our primary concerns were the up-and-down access and security—that is where the doors came in.”

The accordion fire doors make easy and safe access for the surges of students trying to make their way from class to class on different levels.

This shows the exterior of the 11-story renovation of the North Atlanta High School.

The doors used effectively separate the elevator lobby area from the corridors in Georgia’s North Atlanta High School high-rise building.

“We needed elevator lobbies with large openings and we still had to meet code,” said Perez. “Basically, we were handed a glass box to work in. Our openings had to be quite large to really allow the kind of flow we needed.”

Perez said the doors and a destination elevator system—where people are grouped in the elevators according to the various floors they want—solved many of the design problems for the 11-story school.

The North Atlanta High School project is different from the conventional design and construction of educational facilities. Perez said her firm and the contractor ended up modeling almost every move to be sure what they were doing would work with existing low ceilings and infrastructure.

Office conversion
‘Adaptive reuse’ is the term used for this type of project where office towers were converted into an educational space. One of the original towers was razed, and the other was renovated into 37,161 m2 (400,000 sf) of classroom space, as well as a cafeteria, administration offices, media center, and library in the three lower floors.

The new tower houses the gymnasium, a 600-seat auditorium, theater, and performing arts space. Each building is 121 x 30.5 m (400 x 100 ft) with the dimensions and low ceilings dictated by what had been in place before. Further, the parking lots have been converted into baseball fields laid out among the existing woods.

The project cost the school district a total of $132 million—a fair price given the fact large enough plots were otherwise unavailable for purchase in the area. This made it one of the largest investments by Atlanta Public Schools on the north side of Atlanta in decades—a response to significant increases in enrollment numbers.

This door can disappear into a pocket support in the high school.

This door can disappear into a pocket support in the high school.

Sharon Haddock is a freelance writer with experience as a reporter/editor for The Deseret News, Provo City, and Won-Door Corporation. She can be contacted at haddoc@deseretnews.com.