Green Building Certification LEED Project Commissioning Services Energy Modeling Sustainable Studies Facility Assessments

Green Building Certification

Why Emerald Reach?

Our “Green Building” consulting services benefit clients and projects of all types and sizes. As a group of accredited and registered professionals, Emerald Reach Consulting is qualified to manage the “greening” of your next building project. From planning, through design and construction, to post occupancy, we can educate and guide clients through the “Green Building” certification process and develop documentation to obtain certification.

Emerald Reach can help you with

  • LEED
  • Green Globes US
  • Energy Star
  • iiSBE
  • EarthCraft House
  • NAHB Green Home
  • And others

Why Build "Green"?

Our world has become increasingly aware of the need to conserve our natural resources and use them carefully for the benefit the human community as well as the environment. One measure currently gaining momentum throughout the planet, particularly for those of us in the design and construction industry is through some type of "Green" building initiative.

The primary thrust of building “green” is twofold. First and foremost, it is environmentally responsible to do so. Secondly, it makes monetary sense to do it now.

Why "Environmental"?

Foresight during the design process reduces the amount of solid waste produced by your project while conserving precious non-renewable resources. “Green” building practices enhance local biodiversity, protect ecosystems and improve air and water quality.

Why "Monetary Sense"?

While it may cost a little more to design and construct such a “green” certified building, this is an investment in the building. The additional cost to the “green” products or features always pays for itself over time in the form of reduced heating/cooling costs and water savings. Studies have shown that some projects can be “green” certified with littte or no cost increase over standard construction if the decision is made at the earliest stages of the design process.

According to the EPA, “Green” buildings can cost effectively use 40% less energy than comparable standard construction buildings. Efficient plumbing fixtures, drought-tolerant landscaping and water-conserving irrigation systems help “Green” buildings consume 50% less water than standard buildings. EPA’s “ENERGY STAR” program alone during 2007 saved building owners $16 billion on their utility bills.

To assist our "Forward Thinking" clients, Emerald Reach is ready to help you explore your choices, guide you through the process and be your source for quality sustainable consulting.

LEED Project Administration

We can provide a full compliment of services in pursuit of your project’s LEED certification. We understand the requirements for New Construction, Existing Building O&M, Schools, Homes, and all of the other LEED Green Building Rating Systems.

Emerald Reach can work with any LEED project for complete administration for all the steps including:

  • Registration of client's project with the GBCI
  • Establishing the LEED® On-Line scorecard
  • Developing a Team Responsibilities Matrix for each credit
  • Providing templates to the team for preparation of documentation
  • Reviewing product and building material cut sheets for LEED® compliance
  • Oversee the Commissioning process
  • Reviewing all LEED® submittals and back-up documentation prior to submission
  • Researching/submitting Credit Interpretation Requests (CIRs)

Why Emerald Reach?

Our sole effort is to manage and coordinate the LEED process while we let others handle the architecture, engineering, and construction. This allows us to stay focused on the goal of certification, and be a valuable conduit between all the important elements. Our impartial involvement allows us to work with you to achieve the best common solutions for your project.

As specialist in LEED administration, we are dedicated to staying aware of all the latest trends, and opportunities with green and sustainable designs, products, and materials. We can help you identify “green” materials and products to be incorporated in the project, share resources, and research monetary incentives such as utility rebates, publicly-funded local support, and tax credits to support project funding.

Emerald Reach’s approach is oriented around your project goals. Because the process of “green” building certification is often a new way to do business for many of those involved, having a LEED specialist guide and manage the process and the project team’s responsibilities serves to insure a more effective and successful outcome.

In our experience, LEED's greatest challenge involves the flawless management of complex information across a range of project team members and persistent attention to detail. We can manage your LEED project, from the first design charrette through the final certification steps with GBCI.

What is LEED Administration?

United States Green Building Council’s (USGBC) LEED certifications are the most recognized and often used “Green” building certifications in the United States. One of the two major components of LEED certification is LEED Administration. It is basic LEED process management and required on all construction projects that are pursuing a “LEED” certification. At Emerald Reach, we provide a LEED Accredited Professional (LEED AP) to manage the day to day requirements of the LEED Certification process throughout the life of the project.

Successful pursuit of a LEED program depends on the exacting management of a very complex set of information and responsibilities. This is without question the greatest challenge of LEED: keeping track of what must be done, when, by whom, and making sure that all project team members know their LEED responsibilities and have the information they require to perform those responsibilities effectively.

LEED Administration involves a variety of activities, like:

  • Identify the appropriate LEED rating system (i.e. LEED NC vs. LEED CS vs. LEED CI vs. LEED ND etc.)
  • Review project details to determine feasibility of LEED Certification for the project
  • Advise and assist in determining which points to pursue to achieve certification based on budgetary requirements and goals
  • Organize and coordinate the LEED Team for the documentation and process management
  • Provide LEED Team members with direction, sample documentation, templates, and project resources
  • Direct LEED Team members to all applicable CIRs (Credit Interpretation Rulings) and current Errata relevant to the project
  • Conduct required LEED meetings with the Project Team
  • Identify prerequisites and credits the project has achieved and clarify what needs to be done where non compliance is an issue
  • Identify and outline what needs to be done for additional credits
  • Identify “Innovation in Design” and “Regional” Credits
  • Create a task matrix that identifies key players and their responsibilities as relates to LEED design and certification
  • Provide support and assistance to project team in understanding LEED credit requirements
  • Provide support to key team members in preparing online templates
  • Guide and manage the project team throughout the entire process
  • Manage the LEED Online process
  • Review letter templates and submittals as requested
  • Assist the team in responding to comments during the review process
  • Providing LEED training for Team members, staff, and contractors to facilitate the certification process

As a LEED specialist, Emerald Reach’s LEED AP’s devote the time necessary to stay current with this changing certification methodology and how it affects the building design, construction and facility operations industry. Adding Emerald Reach’s LEED certification services to your project brings cost effective “Green” building solutions as well as a knowledge base for your projects endeavors.

Commissioning Services

  • Commissioning for New Construction/Major Renovations
  • Retro-Commissioning
  • Re-Commissioning
  • LEED Specific Commissioning – Fundamental and Enhanced

Why Emerald Reach?

As an owner’s representative on the project team, the Commissioning Agent is in a unique position to offer unbiased project advice and independent testing to ensure that the owner’s project requirements are being met.

What is Commissioning?

Building Commissioning is a systematic process of ensuring, through documented verification, that the building and all it’s systems and assemblies are planned, designed, installed, tested, operated and maintained according to the documented design intent and to meet the owner’s project requirements.

Commissioning is not only for new construction:

  • Retro-Commissioning can be performed on existing buildings. Retro-Commissioning deals primarily with the optimization of existing building systems such as Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning and their control functions.
  • Re-Commissioning is to commission a building that has been commissioned before to ensure that the building is still operating optimally and all systems are functioning as intended. The energy savings documented by commissioning studies have caused some states to pass laws requiring re-commissioning on all state owned buildings every five years.

Why is Commissioning Important?

In today’s complex buildings, systems are sophisticated and highly interactive. No matter how carefully a building is designed, if the systems, equipment and materials are not installed properly, operating as intended and maintained by knowledgeable building staff the building will not perform as efficiently as it should.

Building commissioning is a proven way to achieve improved building performance and building life. As a process, building commissioning adapts to meet the unique needs of each building’s owner, design team, and future occupants. Commissioning planning and execution is customized for every project. This process systematically ensures that building systems operate efficiently, effectively, reliably, and puts in place a plan to ensure the improvements persist into the future.

Benefits of Commissioning

  • Lower utility bills through energy savings
  • Enhanced environmental/health conditions and occupant comfort
  • Significant extension of equipment/systems life cycle
  • Improved system and equipment function
  • Increased owner satisfaction
  • Improved building operations and maintenance
  • Improved building occupant productivity
  • Increased occupant safety
  • Better building documentation
  • Shortened occupancy transition period
  • Industry sources indicate that on average the total operating costs of a commissioned building range from 8% to 20% below that of a non-commissioned building

Building Commissioning is recognized as a significant part of any sustainable building program and is one of the most cost effective means of improving a building’s energy efficiency. Documented energy savings by various commissioning studies have caused some states to enact laws requiring re-commissioning of all state owned buildings every five years. A U.S. Department of Energy funded study indicated the payback for commissioning a new facility is 1 to 5 years, depending on the size, type, and complexity of the facility. Commissioning is fast becoming a “best practice” in the design and construction industry.

Emerald Reach is experienced in providing commissioning services and can guide you through the process whether its LEED enhanced or fundamental commissioning, retro- commissioning or customized commissioning for complex systems, we will help you achieve your commissioning goals.

Energy Modeling

Why Emerald Reach?

Emerald Reach encourages energy modeling during the earliest design stages of the project when modeling can provide valuable basic data. Emerald Reach understands the importance of accuracy and the power this information can give to the design team. Effective modeling requires technical skills, practical experience, building construction knowledge, and hard work.

Benefits of Energy Modeling

Energy modeling allows the design team to make informed decisions on a variety of major energy saving strategies early on and to incorporate those strategies into a whole-building design process.

The sooner in the project the energy model is created the better and easier the decision making process becomes. This in turn allows the team to make informed design decisions while the cost of making changes has the least effect on the project budget.

Energy modeling can help optimize the building design and allow the design team to prioritize project investments that will have the greatest effect on the building’s energy use.

What is Energy Modeling?

Energy modeling is the practice of using computer-based programs to simulate the energy use of a building. Simulations are typically done for an entire year of operation using local meteorological data.

The ultimate goal is not accuracy in predicating energy costs, but to allow design team members to understand and see the relationship between different design choices.

Energy Modeling generally consists of:

  • Deriving a Baseline Building
  • Optimizing Building Orientations
  • Assessing Site Vegetation and Colors
  • Consider Material Substitutions
  • Run Operational Simulations
  • Energy Model Optimization
  • Comparative Analysis Report

The final energy modeling product, is a comparative analysis between the final building design and the baseline building (a minimally code-complaint ASHRAE 90.1 standard building).

Why is Energy Modeling Important?

Energy modeling is a valuable tool to assist designers in assessing the energy impact of major design decisions early in the design process. Energy modeling is not just materials and color substitutions. It also simulates interaction between different building elements (i.e., how different light fixtures affect air conditioning loads or how the impact of architecturally applied shading or day-lighting scenarios affect building lighting loads). Properly executed energy modeling provides valuable information about the proposed building design and systems energy use.

Energy modeling is such an important part of sustainable design that all of US Green Building Council’s “LEED” certification rating systems require an energy model program as a base requirement.

Emerald Reach is ready to discuss ways to put our energy modeling expertise to work for you. Energy modeling produces great benefits, from construction cost savings, operational energy savings to just great design.

Sustainable Studies

Emerald Reach Consulting and Sustainability Services

  • Exploring benefits of Sustainable building practices
  • Building product evaluations and recommendations
  • Existing property operations and maintenance opportunities

Why Emerald Reach?

Emerald Reach Consulting was created to assist our "Green Thinking" clients through the process of reducing a building's impact on human health and the environment. This process can occur during the design stage, the building’s construction or a building’s day-to-day operations.

Our world is becoming increasingly aware of the need to conserve our natural resources and lower our generation of harmful pollutants. We are just now exploring how to use them much more carefully for the benefit of the human community and the planet. One method of accomplishing this task, particularly for those of us constructing or renovating structures, is through a "Green Building” (a.k.a., "sustainable design") initiative.

What is Sustainable Design?

Whether its call Sustainable Design or Sustainable Development the classic definition included in the Report of the Brundtland Commission, Our Common Future, 1987 is:

“Sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.”

Today, we understand that this simple definition integrates environmental, economic and social goals and the impact it has on our society and our planet.

Whether you are just thinking about a project, beginning the design process or have an existing property, there are opportunities to evaluate the many options available to you for creating a more environmentally friendly project with sustainable and energy efficient operations. These options may include some or all of the following:

  • Reusing and recycling building materials
  • Site selection, building orientation and landscaping
  • Energy and water conservation techniques
  • Sustainable product options
  • Funding research to offset implementation costs (rebates, incentives and tax credits)
  • Cost implications (design costs, construction costs, life-cycle implications, etc.)
  • Ongoing facility programming to minimize environmental impact. (Air pollution, solid waste management, etc.)
  • LEED feasibility assessments for existing buildings certifying under LEED Existing Building –Operations and Maintenance

Within every project there are opportunities to evaluate the building plan for alternate “Green” products and energy efficiency options. Emerald Reach Consulting is ready to work with you to find and explore all the opportunities in your project for achieving the “Sustainable” goals you desire.

Facility Assessments

For many organizations, facilities represent one of their most valuable assets, as well as one of their most significant investments. Accurate information about the condition of facilities and building systems forms a foundation for helping ensure efficient operations now and budgeting for future needs. Many organizations lack the resources to gather and maintain accurate information about their facility assets. Often urgent maintenance needs consume the resources needed to plan for renewal needs.

Why Choose Emerald Reach?

Emerald Reach can provide assessment services to give you that independent snapshot of where you are now, how you could improve current operations and provide important information for successful planning needs.

Emerald Reach Core Assessment Services

Our core assessment services include:

  • Facilities Condition Assessment
  • Systems Life-Cycle Assessment
  • Pre-Purchase Due Diligence Assessments
  • Green Building Assessments
  • Energy Assessment Services

A facility assessment is a current picture of the physical and functional condition of an existing facility. It provides information to understand the financial requirements for maintaining the building and planning for its future. Facility assessments are frequently used to develop an analysis of the cost to renovate vs. the cost to replace.

Items typically covered in an assessment are:

Physical Condition

  • Mechanical and electrical systems
  • Structural integrity
  • Building envelope
  • Hazardous materials
  • Accessibility
  • Energy use issues

Functional Condition

  • Suitability for current or future use
  • Technology standards
  • Acoustics and lighting issues.

Facility Assessment Trends

  • Sustainable design issues
  • Increased energy efficiency
  • Onsite energy generation

Emerald Reach Consulting will work with your organization to define a "state of current condition" for your facility and provide important information to help you develop and implement capital planning strategies.