Edison, NJ – Nearly 40 representatives from more than 20 New Jersey construction industry companies attended a half-day Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEEDTM) Workshop on March 7, 2006, sponsored by the Building Contractors Association of New Jersey (BCANJ) at the Carpenters Funds building in Raritan Center. Presented by the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC), the workshop offered general contractors and construction managers an overview of LEED certification and the documentation needed to complete the certification process.
The USGBC introduced the LEED Green Building Rating System in 2000, and it has evolved into a national standard for developing high-performance, sustainable “green” buildings. The rating system began with new construction, but has come to include ratings for renovations to existing buildings, core and shell projects and commercial interiors.
In simplest terms, green buildings have a low impact on their environments, are built with construction practices that reduce pollution, use natural materials or those made of recycled products, have systems that reduce dependence on fossil fuels for heating and cooling, and promote a healthy interior air quality. According to the USGBC, more than a half-billion square feet of space in the US is LEED-certified.
“We’re excited about the momentum surrounding green building,” said Steve Leone, Chair of the USGBC New Jersey Chapter and Principal at Cubellis Ecoplan. “Everyone involved in the project has to work together to make it successful. It benefits us all when we can enhance the partnership between the New Jersey Chapter of USGBC and New Jersey’s contractor community through workshops like this one.” Leone noted that currently there are six certified green buildings in New Jersey, with 60 more in the pipeline.
“Many projects in the state are following as much of the LEED metric as they can,” affirmed Bob Kobet, president of Sustainaissance International Inc., who conducted the workshop. “But they haven’t been able to take that final step, to apply for official certification. New school construction is a case in point.” He noted that New Jersey schools are required to be “LEEDready” but not required to formally apply. Nevertheless, using the LEED metric helps contribute to the overall transformation of the market.
Some BCANJ members are currently working on LEED projects. In 2005, Clemens Construction was awarded a PNC contract to build multiple LEED-certified bank branches in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky and Delaware; the first was constructed under a 14-week completion schedule near West Chester, PA. Also of note, the Gale Contracting Company of Florham Park is in the planning stages of LEED certification for projects in Belmar.
The LEED Workshop focused on demonstrating that many of the requirements within the LEED certification process are already inherent in the role contractors play in managing a project, such as ensuring water efficiency, controlling energy and atmosphere, selecting materials and resources and verifying indoor air quality. If contractors begin to document what they do every day, they will be well on their way toward helping project teams achieve LEED certification, Kobet explained, adding that the LEED process is now online and much more streamlined.
Kobet encourages contractors to use LEED certification as a guideline, and to adapt the requirements to “your best practices.”
“LEED is a compass, not a roadmap,” Kobet affirmed. “Incrementally, a LEED project can be more expensive, but the payback is quicker, and the long-term savings, especially in terms of energy, can be profound. And the more effective you are at integrating the team, the less expensive the project will be.”
BCANJ members who sent representatives to the LEED workshop included Bergen Engineering of East Rutherford, Damon G. Douglas Company of Cranford, Ferreira Construction of Branchburg, The Gale Contracting Company of Florham Park, Hall Construction Co. of Howell, Austin Helle of Cedar Grove, Kajima Construction Services of Rochelle Park, National Environmental Waste Services of Morganville, Stanker & Galetto of Vineland, Tishman Construction of Newark and Torcon, Inc. of Westfield.
Established in 1937, the Edison-based Building Contractors Association of New Jersey (BCANJ) is made up of some 225 active and associate members who are engaged in commercial, institutional and industrial construction. BCANJ works to unify the construction industry in terms of labor relations, improved business methods and standards, high safety standards, and overall project efficiency and productivity. Through an exchange of services and information, BCANJ members are made aware of issues that directly impact the construction industry in New Jersey. For more information, visit www.bcanj.com.
About USGBC & LEED
The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) is the nation’s leading coalition of corporations, builders, universities, federal and local agencies, and non-profit organizations working together to promote buildings that are environmentally responsible, profitable and healthy places to live and work. The LEEDTM (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System is a voluntary third-party system where buildings can earn credits for satisfying specified green-building criteria. For more information, visit www.usgbc.org.
Bob Kobet, president of Sustainaissance International Inc., conducted a U.S. Green Building Council Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEEDTM) Workshop on March 7, 2006, sponsored by the Building Contractors Association of New Jersey (BCANJ) and attended by nearly three dozen BCANJ contractor members.
Published by/on: Building Contractors Association of New Jersey
For More Information:
Darlene Regina (732) 225-2265
Jill Schiff (732) 225-2265