We sat down with a group of engineers for a RTM Sustainability Forum to talk about sustainable and energy-efficient design. Here is a continuation of that sustainability forum – focusing on the benefits of LEED design and the projects our team is working on now.
Brant Holeman, QCxP, LEED AP O+M – Project Engineer
Marcin Jakubowski – Principal
Dan Sebastian, PE, CxA, LEED AP BD+C – Project Engineer
Kathryn Duytschaever, PE – Principal
What are some benefits of LEED design?
Brant: Energy efficiency is probably the most frequently discussed benefit, but there are several others, including a better understanding of building use, more attention paid to the design and construction process, and more education for the owner and occupants.
The questions asked by LEED, and programs like it, require very specific answers and often lead to even more questions. Electric, water, and gas use, business hours, furniture layouts, sequences of operation, maintenance, etc. are all important topics that get scrutinized when certifying a green or sustainable building.
Marcin: Water conservation. Low-flow fixtures are here, but we need to start collecting and using more rainwater and gray water.
Dan: LEED design pushes owners to approach their projects with a sustainable and energy-efficient design. Including things like commissioning and energy modeling translates to tangible benefits for the sustainability of the project.
Are you working on any new sustainability projects, or have you recently finished any?
Marcin: A net zero condo building in Washington, D.C. It’s exciting, given the fact that our capital city wants to mandate the net zero requirements in the near future.
Dan: I am currently wrapping up energy modeling of a residential high-rise project here in Chicago. And I will start the commissioning process on this same building soon. It’s been a fun project to be a part of because I’ve been involved since the early schematic phase when RTM produced and handed off the schematic design to a design-build contractor.
Kat: We just finished a ground-up elementary school that utilized a highly efficient energy recovery VRF system. The project also included CO2 detection to limit ventilation and daylight harvesting LED lighting.
We’re currently working with a school to look at doing a net zero school design. The building will utilize an energy-efficient envelope, HVAC, and lighting system, as well as time clock recepticals, and limited recepticals to prevent phantom loads from occurring in the building. Solar power, both generation and storage, should be enough to cover the gas consumption and bring the building to a net zero utility cost.
Learn more about RTM’s sustainability expertise.