Monday, March 31, 2008

Journal #17: Environmental Practices in Construction - LEED

I am going to use this journal entry as another step in my independent project of a summary, analysis, etc... of current environmental practices in construction. In an earlier post, I discussed AASHTO's efforts to educate workers and foreman to create more environmental conscious sites through the daily inhabitants. I took a look at the LEED rating system again and summarized what I thought were the aspects that were directly related to construction management.

SS Prereq. 1: Construction Activity Pollution Prevention

This is a required part of gaining a LEED certification which states that there must be a certain level of soil control: soil water runoff, dust control, and soil reuse. This, I feel, is almost mandatory at every construction site. Even at the strip mall sites I worked at over the summer soil was always reused as part of cut/fill or sold to other sites, and dust/runoff control were absolutely necessary in order to gain construction approval from the local government. Any complaints from the community would immediately result in problems for scheduling (noisy/dusty night shifts were shut down). So this isn't asking too much of a contractor to comply with.

MR Credit 2.1: Construction Waste Management: Divert 50% From Disposal

This credit is worth 1 point and promotes attention in waste management during construction. It requires that 50% of all non-hazardous construction and demolition debris be salvaged or recycled. This is definitely a good point, as a construction manager would have to plan and implement a series of standards that all parts of the project would comply to in order to meet this waste quota. However, get a construction manager who is good enough at debating and he/she could convince the US Green Building Council that recycling is less environmentally sound than landfilling. Look out LEED, Carnegie Mellon's life cycle analysis is about to slap you in the face.

MR Credit 2.2: Divert 75% From Disposal

Just an extension of MR 2.1, and adding another point if you are a better recycler... but is there any room for source reduction efforts in construction? I guess that just falls under the category of "salvaged materials."

EQ Credit 3.1: Construction IAQ (Indoor Air Quality) Management Plan: During Construction

This credit focuses promoting better air quality for construction workers during construction, which ultimately leads over to better air quality for the permanent occupants. The requirements include protecting absorptive materials from moisture damage, air filtration control (if applicable), and sheet metal/air conditioning standards. The filtration systems must be replaced before any occupancy, and includes proper control of the HVAC system. The credit seems like another valid point, and could create a better work environment possibly resulting in increased productivity. There is a related credit that has to do with IAQ for pre-occupancy that involves a flush out, with fresh air, of the building before occupancy, or air testing.

That was all I could find that cited the construction process in the new construction rating system. However, I was told by my advisor for next year that there was little being implemented by construction organizations for environmental practices, and to look through published papers which is my next step.

1 comment:

Deanna said...

you working for Arpad already??

the recycling from construction waste likely falls into the "good" side of LCAs - steel, bricks, other metals all require large amounts of energy to produce from raw materials and smaller amounts to produce from recycled material.

not sure about gypsum though.

one of the books we read to the kids talks about a big digger "scooping up the dirt, pausing, swinging, and putting it somewhere else in the world." fill material will always be in constant motion I think.