Going Beyond LEED: The WELL Building Standard

Since its launch in 2000, LEED has become the benchmark for creating sustainable structures and interiors conducive to the environment, the individual and society as a whole. Although the USGBC’s green building rating system has become the leading industry standard for conserving resources and promoting efficiency, there is now a new certification dedicated to human wellness within the built environment.

The Delos WELL Building Standard is the first certification of its kind to holistically integrate specific conditions into architecture and design in order to enhance the health and well-being of occupants. Delos developed this standard to uphold human sustainability and to transform schools, homes, offices Continue reading


LEED v4 Education Series: ID+C

Last month the USGBC Northern California Chapter (USGBC NCC) and Environmental Building Strategies (EBS) hosted a LEED version 4 Educational Series led by Kena David, Assistant Sustainability Manager at BCCI Construction Company, and Kristen Magnuson, Project Coordinator at EBS providing a credit-by-credit analysis of changes the Interior Design & Construction (ID+C) green building rating system. The following surmises some of the key changes with LEED v4 ID+C.
LEED Dynamic Plaque

LEED Dynamic Plaque (USGBC)

In an attempt to put greater emphasis on performance, the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) has made some significant credit weight shifts with LEED v4 ID+C. Pushing the envelope of sustainability in the built environment has always been the goal of the USGBC and LEED rating systems. LEED versions 1.0 through version 2009 have been scrutinized over the years for focusing too much on meeting a one-time certification level (from Certified to Platinum) rather than performance with lasting energy efficiency and resource conservation. The newest version of LEED, v4; however, has modified the point distribution among the credit categories to align with performance after a project is certified. It is anticipated that the introduction of the new Dynamic Plaque which provides a live summary of performance measures (including energy use, water use, waste reduction, etc.) will helped certified LEED projects maintain targeted credit categories into the future.

Location and Transportation

In a few credit categories, LEED v4 ID+C has changed dramatically. Former site credits under the previous versions of LEED Sustainable Sites (SS) category have been moved to a new category, Location and Transportation (LT). LEED v4 focuses on Neighborhood Development as opposed to v2009 SS which emphasized location within a LEED certified building. LT has also changed the point distribution for the familiar LEED v2009 SS credits from an all or nothing credit compliance to a gradient of points. For example, instead of providing 10 basic services for Community Connectivity, LEED v4 LT credits will award points based on the total number of basic services.

Material Credits

The next greatest change in ID+C v4 has been with the material credits. The first change is that Construction Waste Management (CWM) is no longer an optional credit and is now a prerequisite.

C&D Waste Management

For the Construction and Demolition (C&D) waste management credit, Option 1 requires 50% diversion and that C&D waste is separated into at least three waste streams; and Option 2 requires 75% diversion and that C&D waste be separated into at least four waste streams. Different waste streams can include:

  • Commingled waste sent to a sorting facility (counts as one stream).
  • Separated material that is either reused on-site or off-site or divided material which is sent to a recycling facility (i.e., metal sent to a metal recycler, each separate material counts as one stream)

ADC for construction waste diversion

LEED v2009 allowed ADC (alternative daily cover) to contribute to the overall diversion rate of Mixed C&D whereby LEED v4 does not. The only manner in which a debris tag with Mixed C&D stated will be accepted is if the project team can verify that it does not contain ADC as part of the diversion percentage.

Building Materials

LEED v4 revisions to materials credits now underscore health and wellness issues and have been modeled after Living Building Challenge Red List compliant guidelines as well as Google’s Healthy Materials Program, which utilizes its own stringent criteria for building product selection. Points once associated with LEED v2009 Materials & Resources calculator have been condensed into Option 2 of Building Product Disclosure and Optimization – Sourcing of Raw Materials and are now only worth one point. .

Additionally two new material certifications that have been introduced with LEED v4,  Health Product Declarations (HPD) and Environmental Product Declarations (EPD).

Thornton Tomasetti San Francisco

Thornton Tomasetti’s new San Francisco office was one of only 25 projects worldwide selected to participate in the LEED v4 beta program for CI. The project is targeting Platinum certification.

HPD for Material Ingredient Reporting

With an emphasis on healthy building material components and the disclosure of potential hazardous chemicals within products, HPDs move beyond just focusing on reclaimed material and recycled content ratios towards the importance of product ingredients relating to human health from the manufacturer to the end user.

EPD for Life Cycle Impact

Diving further into long-term sustainability, EPDs pinpoint the complete life cycle and carbon impacts of products, from the manufacturing process to lifetime use to product disposal. EPDs take a product’s Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) and presents its impact in an objective, third party verified declaration.

Slide 1To learn more about LEED v4 ID+C, download a copy of the credit-by-credit presentation.

View other presentations in the LEED v4 Educational Series.

BCCI provides workshops and ongoing training on a variety of Green Building topics as well as preparation for the LEED AP and LEED GA exams. Request a seminar for your company or organization.

Building a Net Zero Future

Green building is not a fad; it is the future of the AEC industry and it is already shaping our built environment.

Just recently the USGBC announced the certification of the 20,000th LEED commercial project, and the newest version of the green building program, LEED v4, has more stringent requirements for energy and water use, material life cycle analysis, indoor environmental quality in addition to a new focus on an integrative design process and building performance after construction. Not only more prevalent, green building is becoming even greener.

But how do we reach beyond LEED? Continue reading

Constellation Brands’ New San Francisco Office Uncorked

When Constellation Brands, a leading international premium wine company, was contemplating relocating its San Francisco office, BCCI was engaged to evaluate the associated construction costs for a short-list of potential building alternatives. After considering its real estate options to create a more functional, open work environment that would also support its goals to attract and retain talent, Constellation chose to stay at Levi’s Plaza and leased 44,000 square feet adjacent to the company’s then existing office.

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Prior to engaging a construction manager, Continue reading

Office Upgrade at Adobe World Headquarters

As part of an ongoing effort to evolve Adobe Systems‘ workplace into a more open and collaborative work environment, BCCI was hired during preconstruction for the 40,000 square foot redesign comprising the top two floors of the East Tower at Adobe’s corporate headquarters in San Jose.

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Supporting a cultural shift in the organization – a move away from closed private offices to an open floor plan configuration – the newly renovated floors Continue reading

BCCI Delivers State-of-the-Art, Ultramodern Yoga Studio

Samyama, the Sanskrit word for “bind” or “hold together,” is a name well suited for a yoga center that goes beyond the typical studio and focuses on healing and community. Located in a new two-story, building in Palo Alto’s Midtown neighborhood, BCCI’s client envisioned an inviting modern facility rooted in traditional yoga principles that would provide a sensory retreat for the mind, body, and soul.

To assist with project planning, BCCI was brought on early to provide constructability Continue reading

CALGreen Changes Promise to Have Widespread Impact

If the new CALGreen requirements that went into effect on July 1, 2012 were not on your radar, there’s probably a good reason for that. Until recently, CALGreen – the first Adobe San JoseStatewide green building code – only applied to less than 10% of commercial construction projects. When CALGreen went into effect in 2010, it was primarily focused on new nonresidential construction projects, not commercial interior renovations, thus limiting the reach of the new code.

PODCAST: Recent Updates to CALGreen | The Commercial Construction Forum

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Green Building Moving Forward: New Products and Industry News from Greenbuild

Greenbuild 2012We continue our look back at this year’s Greenbuild with some intriguing new products unveiled at the expo and some industry news to boot.

New Product: Enova

One of the more unique products showcased at Greenbuild was the additive Enova, a silica aerogel made by Cabot Corp. which improves energy efficiency for a variety of applications. Continue reading

What We Saw at Greenbuild

As we expected, Greenbuild 2012 did not disappoint. Whether or not you followed our recommendations on making the most of the conference, we hope that you found great value in the forums, expo hall, green building tours and networking. Here’s a bit of what we saw at this year’s Greenbuild.

The U.S. Green Building Council’s annual Greenbuild, a gathering of over 30,000 green building industry professionals, kicked off with several pre-conference activities, including the Codes Summit and the Living Building Challenge Materials Forum. At the Codes Summit, the comparison between LEED and CALGreen, California’s statewide green building code, was a hot topic. Continue reading

We’re Growing!

We’re thrilled to share the news that our continued growth within the marketplace has led to the expansion of our team.

As part of our commitment to excellence in the areas of sustainability and design, we are pleased to welcome Aron Bosworth, LEED AP, who joins our dynamic sustainability team, and architect Lisa Szmurlo, who brings seventeen years of experience as a project architect. Continue reading