Thursday, November 11, 2010

IBEW #234 Achieves Gold Rating for LEED EBOM

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 234 building has been Certified Gold LEED EBOM (Existing Building Operations & Maintenance) The building serves as the Union Hall for the local members and the Tri-County Joint Apprentice and Training Committee (JATC) training center for electrical workers. The building was originally designed and built by Ausonio in 1996, and Ausonio has now served as the LEED Consulting firm helping the IBEW get the building certified.

This is the first IBEW building to achieve LEED Certification in the nation, although there are two buildings that are anticipating certification for new construction in Indiana and Hawaii. This is also the first building in the tri-county area to receive a Gold rating for the Existing Building Operations & Maintenance Program (EBOM Version 2.0).

According to Andy Hartman, President of IBEW Local 234, " The idea of certification was also popular with our membership. They thought it was a good idea. With the Green Movement that is happening and that electricians are involved with a lot of that work, the membership thought it was fitting for us to be certified. They wanted to show that we care about the environment."

IBEW Local 234 is a very efficient building, rated at 37% above the national average for similar buildings. In December of 2009 they installed a new photovoltaic array. The 6.6kW DC system is producing power and uploading information to http:// There is also a link on the IBEW Local 234 website to view the historical production of the photovoltaic system.

IBEW Local 234 has a unique approach to Alternative Commuting Transportation. They changed the requirement that out-of-work union members come to the Hall to sign the Out-of-Work Registry each month and to receive job referrals. Now they can phone or fax for this purpose. As a result, in 2009 they reduced trips to the building by 80%, saving 186,745 miles and 85,903,066 pounds of CO2.

The grounds are cared for by an organic landscape service that uses sustainable practices, such as using only organic-based fertilizers and soil amendments. The planting areas surrounding the building are landscaped with native drought tolerant plants, which are watered by an automated rain-sensing drip-irrigation system. The beds are mulched, and weeding is done by hand.

IBEW Local 234 regularly hosts meetings for the Monterey Bay Electric Vehicle Alliance. They have recently applied for a permit to install a car charger for plug-in hybrid vehicles.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Community Justice Center Earns LEED Platinum!

Monterey College of Law's Community Justice Center has achieved a Platinum LEED rating. The project succeeded in getting all 55 points it was designed to achieve through its sustainable features. Platinum LEED only requires 52 points. This is the first Platinum LEED building in the Monterey Bay area completed by a 100% local Design-Build team (JHW Architects and Ausonio Incorporated).

Monterey College of Law has been working on this project for longer than three years, since it was Phase II. The LEED process started mid-2007, and the integrated a design approach was instrumental in its success, not to mention a very committed Dean and Board of Directors.

This project has its share of firsts.
It is the first Platinum LEED project nationally that:
1. Is a building for a Law School.
2. Will serve as a court house.

It is the first local Platimum LEED project that:
1. Had a local architect (JHW Architects, Daryl Hawkins).
2. Had a local LEED AP (yours truly).
3. Brought together a local Design-Build team from the Monterey Bay.

Interestingly, this project was the second LEED Platinum building in the city of Seaside California.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

A Basis of Design in Time can Save Energy

I have been vigilant about writing an Owner Project Requirements (OPR) document at the outset of every LEED NC project. Usually after the first design charette a draft OPR is produced. It represents the sustainable goals and the programming of the owners facility. It is a requirement of commissioning, but it serves as a reference that guides us through the project.

The Basis of Design (BoD) is the next document that should be written immediately after the OPR. According to Richard Farkas, President of DCSI (, "the BoD is developed by the engineers to reflect their understanding of the OPR." The BoD should be prepared before the commissioning agent (Cx) starts reviewing the 50% construction documents (drawings and specification - also known as CD's). It's a nice thought, but be often does this happen? Too often the Cx has no BoD at 50% CD's and is trying to puzzle pieces of the OPR to the drawing and specifications. This is not the best use of Cx time. I can compare it to having a tax advisor spending more time sorting through your shoe box of invoices than look for tax savings or advantages.

I am currently working on St Therese Mission, which has targeted LEED v3 Platinum. DCSI is our Cx. Farkas has been persistent about getting his Bod's prior to reviewing CD's. Now I see why. With his time being free from having to connect puzzle pieces between the OPR, specifications and drawings, he can now focus on how the systems can meet the energy goals of the project. We are counting on 19 points in optimizing energy. Sure we have a dream team with RAFI Architecture, Petty & Associates Engineering and PDA, but it's 19 points in the desert...not any easy feat! The Cx can be a valuable resource to see how we are tracking at our energy goal. They can only do this if we free them up by having detailed BoD's.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Ribbon-cutting Community Justice Center

The official ribbon-cutting and dedication of the Monterey College of Law Community Justice Center will be held at 2:00 p.m., Tuesday, April 20th at 100 Col. Durham Street, Seaside, CA.

The new Community Justice Center is registered as a LEED Platinum project that represents the highest standards of sustainable construction and planning. Included in the new building are two courtrooms, five indoor and three outdoor caucus areas for mediation, and the new offices of the law school’s Mandell-Gisnet Center for Conflict Management. The law school is also working with the Monterey County Bar Association and the Monterey County Superior Court to develop a community legal clinic that will use the new facilities to provide free or low-cost legal services to the community in the evening.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Progress on the world's first LEED registered floating building

From the shore, you can see the structural steel take shape for the Marina Services Building at Forever Resorts at Cottonwood Cove.

Rod Taylor, Regional Vice President for Forever Resorts, surveys the structural steel. The project is awaiting K-tect energy efficient building panels.

Here is the view looking down the new dock. The orientation on the building is not the final direction.

Nyloboard is shown here. This product is made of 100% recycled carpet fibers. Studies of the EPA have shown that 4 billion pounds of carpet is disposed of in landfills each year. Nyloboard is a low VOC product that takes the place of wood, and is durable to elements.