WHAT IS LEED?
The LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Green Building Rating System is a national standard for developing resource-smart, sustainable buildings. As national adoption of the standard grows, many owners are requiring that their new building projects achieve LEED certification, which rates a project based on site design, indoor environmental quality, and efficient use of energy, materials, and water. A high LEED rating recognized the quality of a green building design and also qualifies the project for an array of state and local government financial incentives – an important benefit for the building owner.
Ruetschle is a member for of the US Green Building Council, and has (5) LEED APs which includes both partners of the firm Mark & Mike Ruetschle. Fifty percent of our office staff are LEED accredited professionals.
Ruetschle and our team of Energy Consultants employ a broad array of sustainable strategies including: daylighting, geo-thermal, wind turbines, solar electric, solar thermal, advances metering and controls, rainwater catchment systems, green roofs, bio-swales. We provide detailed analysis on various systems, providing owners with actual payback figures to assist in their decision making process. Our studies provide numbers on first cost, on-going operation cost, energy savings based on your energy rates, and each strategy willl show a different payback.
Stormwater Design – Ruetschle and our civil engineering partners design the site to limit the rate at which water flows from the site, and reducing the pollution from stormwater runoff.
Daylighting - Large windows allow daylight to stream in, reducing energy costs and improving student performance. Adjustable blinds and shades help reduce glare. Lightshelves bounce sunlight deep into the room and provide even light distribution. Sloping ceilings up toward the exterior wall help natural light penetrate deeper into interior spaces. As an added benefit, windows provide building occupants with a connection to the outdoors.
Acoustics - Improved acoustics can be achieved with acoustical ceiling tiles, lined ductwork and quiet HVAC systems with appropriately placed vents. Spaces with improved acoustics create a more productive learning environment for children and allow teachers to be heard without straining their voices.
Materials Selection - Using paint and carpet that don’t emit toxic gasses and using ceiling tiles and furniture made with non-toxic materials will improve air quality in the interior spaces and throughout the building. High indoor air quality keeps occupants healthier and reduces absences related to respiratory conditions and other environmental illnesses. Ruetschle specifies regional materials (manufactured within 500 miles of your project), materials with high levels of recycled content, rapidly renewable materials, and materials with certified wood.
Thermal Comfort - Comfortable indoor temperatures enhance productivity and keep occupants more alert. Fresher, cleaner air can be achieved with windows that open or ventilation systems that provide a constant supply of filtered air. To provide a high level of thermal comfort system control, individual occupant groups have individual control over the temperature of their space (i.e. heating or cooling control within a 5 degree window)
Lighting Efficiency Upgrades: low wattage lamp technology, LED Lighting
Geo-thermal - Geothermal Heat Pump System with well-field.
Ice Storage – Peak electric demand management system that makes ice (cooling) at night while owner’s usage rates are reduced.
Enhanced Energy Management System – Deploying sub metering capability to allow owner’s to sub-meter and track energy usages by certain areas of the building.
Energy Efficiency & Awareness Program – Easy access to web based utility usage and renewable energy production. Display on flat-screens in lobbies or from computers to monitor, track, and motivate users for making energy reductions. Create a “Green Team” to promote and educate energy efficiency with building occupants. Assist occupants to utilize the facility as a teaching and educational tool.
Solar Thermal (Renewable Energy) – Pre-Heat domestic hot water systems.
Solar Photovoltaic (Renewable Energy) – Solar electric generation that offsets buildings electric demand and generates electricity to be sold back to the Energy Provider during non-peak times.
Wind Turbines (Renewable Energy) – Wind powered electric generation that offsets buildings electric demand and generates electricity to be sold back to the Energy Provider during non-peak times.
Water Efficiency - Low-flow sinks, waterless urinals and dual-flush toilets reduce total water use by as much as 50%. Toilets that use harvested rainwater instead of potable water help ease the strain on municipal water systems. Students get a first-hand lesson in how to use water more conservatively. Additionally, our landscaping partners specify native plant species to limit, or eliminate the use of irrigation systems.
Rainwater Harvesting System – Collect rainwater from roof areas, store in collection tanks, and use water to flush urinals and toilets throughout the building. This is a win-win for owners in municipalities who bill sewage rates tied to water consumption, as owners can save on water costs and sewage conveyance costs.
Recycling - Recycling programs that involve occupants directly teach responsible environmental habits they can apply at home. Diverting solid waste from landfills reduces impacts on municipal services.
Construction Waste Management – Ruetschle helps to establish goals during construction to divert waste materials from disposal in landfills. This targeted range is usually between 50%-75%.
Commissioning – To verify that your projects’ energy-related systems are installed and calibrated to perform according to the project requirements, Benefits of commissioning include reduced energy use, lower operating costs, few contractor callbacks, and improved occupant productivity.
Green Power - After occupancy Ruetschle can advise on the purchase of renewable energy like wind or solar to help power your facility.