SCUP-44: Tuesday noon
One of the first sessions this morning was a presentation on the USGBC's Portfolio Program. Titled "From Building-Centric to Campus-Wide", it addressed USGBC's efforts to facilitate initiatives which address sustainability issued more scaled to campuses than to individual buildings. Examples include green cleaning policies and practices, access to alternative transportation, and selection of sustainable building sites.
One of the first sessions this morning was a presentation on the USGBC's Portfolio Program. Titled "From Building-Centric to Campus-Wide", it addressed USGBC's efforts to facilitate initiatives which address sustainability issued more scaled to campuses than to individual buildings. Examples include green cleaning policies and practices, access to alternative transportation, and selection of sustainable building sites. Schools which implement policies across campus to address any of these (and many others) can get the policies and practices approved once and then use them to score points on multiple LEED-candidate buildings with minimal redocumentation.
The Portfolio Program has gone through a lot of rethinking over the years, and now seems most likely to be of use to schools which would like to certify large numbers of existing buildings, according to a LEED protocol known as "Operations and Maintenance". Most colleges and universities have multiple existing buildings -- more already in place than are likely to be added in the near future. Given the administrative burden required to document and justify campus-wide LEED points, it seems likely that new construction for most schools will continue to be certified one buidling at a time. (One major exception may be public schools which are under state mandate to get all new buildings certified; the Portfolio Program may be a decent fit to some of those.)
Two schools within the University of California system were the first pilot participants in the Portfolio Program. From the stories they told, it was a long and somewhat frustrating process. Part of this may be due to the fact that at the same time the Portfolio Program was being trialed, the LEED certification protocols themselves were being enhanced, and responsibilities were being shifted from USGBC to the newly constituted Green Building Certification Institute. Half a dozen other universities are poised to be second-round pilot sites. I hope that their experiences run more smoothly, or this program may wither for lack of exercise.
Questions from the audience focused largely on the costs of LEED certification, most of which take the form of administrative expenses, not fees to USGBC. Answers to those questions, however, seemed to focus mostly on USGBC's pricing schedule. USGBC fees are the tail, in terms of LEED certification expenses. Infrastructure enhancement (metering, etc.), data collection and monitoring, and documentation effort are the dog. If USGBC wants high participation from colleges and universities, it needs to find a way to reduce the major costs and burdens.
An entirely different presentation followed -- a detailed run-down of a new sciences building at the University of Calgary (Alberta, Canada). It managed both to give a high-level overview of the objectives for the building (the problems to be solved) and the design process, and also to present some details on the particular mix of technologies used to reduce energy (including water) demands by one-half or more. Few of the specific techniques were particularly unusual, but the discussion of why these techniques and features were chosen, how they were integrated and balanced, short-term results and long-term potentials was instructive and useful.
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