Greenbuild Session Review: v3: How Controls, Contracts, and Coverage Protect LEED and Your Bottom Line

This panel took three lawyers and gave them each a group to represent: the owner, the designers/builders, and the insurers. Each counsel then highlighted the relevant issues that party needs to consider, and the emphasis was on how the new LEEDv3 system in particular affects contracts and risk mitigation measures. After an obligatory introduction to some of the changes in the v3 system that I won't cover here, we heard the following:

Risk is defined for this discussion as "anything that causes the project to not meet expectations, to be delayed, or to cost more than planned.

The Owner

There was a great point right up front that despite how 'old' LEED may be to design professionals at this point, the typical owner has still never heard about it. As a result, architects frequently have to 'sell' the owner on the concept and will either overestimate costs (+15-20% premium) or oversell the benefits, but either way they're frequently misinformed.

Another interesting discussion revolved around the notion that in a down economy, the owner can get away with putting pretty much anything in their contracts (i.e., harsh penalties for missing a LEED deadline) and architects and builders will still sign it because they need the business.

The Architect/Builder

The number one issue is "who is ultimately responsible for achieving the desired LEED certification rating?" Couldn't agree more about this, as the default reaction I've seen is that it's no one. Most advice out there says not to guarantee (or imply a guarantee) everything, and if that's the case then it's seemingly the owner.

What is the definition of substantial completion for a contractor in a LEED project, and how does the typical change? The question was raised and is valid, but we never quite got around to answering it.

A scenario was proposed where a project team 'pads' a project with 5 points over the required (let's say by mandate), and 6 points are missed... who pays? The response was that it's likely to be divided amongst the parties ultimately responsible for the credit.

The Insurer

The focus on the insurance perspective is limited to professional liability and surety. Right off the bat we get the top 5 concerns insurers are facing, which have been verified by surveys though I didn't hear any specific reference to a public study:

1. Guarantee of a certification or performance outcome
2. Communication between design and construction team and the O&M Team
3. Evolving Standard of Care
4. Changing regulations and the need to stay current
5. Material Specification and Substitution

Regarding the guarantee, professional liability does not generally cover these clauses, and if you fail you'll be defending yourself and covering any penalties out of your own pocket. A professional liability coverage is only going to cover the architect's negligent acts, and missing a LEED certification does not necessarily constitute the requisite negligence.

Another "evolving risk" issue that deserves consideration is how the litany of unlicensed specialists (lighting designers, LEED consultants, green roof designers, etc.) are covered under conventional policies. There is some concern on the panel that some insurers won't necessarily cover unlicensed professionals.

Please note I'm not a lawyer and have had to type furiously to report the proceedings as best I can. This is not legal advice and may contain factual errors. Please consult with an attorney about the best way for you to minimize your exposure to these issues but I hope the above was helpful all the same.

LEED Online V3 Executive Status Update

This session featured three big-wigs at the USGBC providing glimpse into the successes and failures of the new LEED-Online version 3 system and where the system is heading in the near future. Interestingly, the overall tone was very apologetic and they really worked to emphasize the continuous improvement taking place behind the scenes. Amazingly, the questions from the crowd were the most complimentary and cordial that I've seen. The crowd really seemed to feel that most of the big problems are behind us. I actually haven't gotten into a v3 project yet, and am curious to hear your thoughts.

These guys care... is what I heard about 20 times during this session


The first LEED-Online system was produced in about 6 months with 10 people on the team to respond to a urgent demand for an online certification system. "We consider LEED-Online 2 to be a success story because it met the mandate for an online system" on a shoestring budget in a very short period of time.

LEEDv2 wasn't scalable, and from the beginning the USGBC knew it would have to be replaced entirely. To date, about $7 million and 100,000 man-hours have been invested in the recently released current system, LEED-Online v3, and it's designed to scale based on LEED growth and allow flexibility for future improvements. 1956 projects are currently registered under v3 with three complete certifications to date. There were also additional features in the new system, including smart forms that automatically populate common figures (e.g. occupancy and square footage figures) and a rating system selection guide for new users... You've heard all this before though, so let's get to the update on how the new system is performing:


"The complaints started rolling in in July and August... I just want to acknowledge that we're not happy with the feedback and the way the system was performing... Thanks to the feedback received, [read: complaints] we're in a much better place today than we were early in the Summer." The number one complaint according to their tracking revolves around form problems and incorrect calculations that result. There were multiple comments requesting feedback, so your complaints do get heard! The feedback button seems to be the primary means of complaints, though the hotlines account for over 500 complaints so far.


There was a great slide about the problems they've faced (I'll see if I can get that posted here), showing a number of problems since the launch that have been resolved (mac access, login problems, a full size credit review page, SOME form calculation errors, etc.) I did get the impression from the panel that the USGBC is really pushing to resolve these problems, and they've spent 64,000 man hours since the launch working on problems. According to their own figures, out of 2336 known issues with the system, all but 154 have been resolved.

The Form Issues

Most issues are resolved through release updates that occur over the weekend to minimize disruptions, but for some credits, notably the EAp2 form for energy efficiency compliance, they have resorted to project by project updates as requested by project teams. They're now going through a process that updates problematic credit forms based on those that have the most impact (i.e. are used by all or most project teams). If a form has not been used yet (i.e. no information has been uploaded), it will be upgraded automatically. If information has been loaded, the USGBC leaves it up to you to decide to upgrade the form, and strongly recommends that you do so. At that point, the USGBC will update it for you over a few days wth no data re-entry required.

Through 2010

The main vision outlined by the USGBC for the near future involves improved usability and performance (including ongoing maintenance), robust help content including integration with LEEDuser (note: LEEDuser is a sponsor of this site, but I promise I would have mentioned it anyway!), and project reporting and metric features that weren't well described. Before opening it up to questions, Mike Opitz declared "I stand before you today with a strong sense of humility and a strong sense of hope."

The Questions

"What's the deal with the lack of offline form work?" The reasoning behind removing that ability largely focuses around how the forms are much more linked to the overall system than in the old system, but they are looking into ways reinstate this functionality in the future. No timeline was offered.

"What guidance are you giving to the review teams about what's appropriate in the mid-review communications and what should be submitted in the formal CIR process?" The response here basically stated that they're not terribly certain about this, and are working on it as they go. I'd suggest just asking whatever you can and let them either answer or reject it.

Greenbuild Session Review: Cx & EM – Value, Cost and Project Integration

This session featured quite a few notable minds (the term “dauntingly prestigious” was used at one point) and featured some telling audience surveys, with a packed crowd (somewhere above 1,000) mostly but not exclusively composed of designers and engineers (many owners/facility managers included in the audience as well).

Energy Modeling

  • “Is energy modeling a necessary cost or mandate of LEED?” 70Y 20M 10N
  • “Is energy modeling too expensive for the outcome delivered?” 10Y 45M 45N
  • “Is the scope of energy modeling commonly understood?” 10Y 30M 60N
  • “There aren't enough energy modelers.” 70Y 20M 10N
  • “Energy modeling is not predictive of building performance.” 60Y 30M 10N
  • “There is no passive thermal modeling available.” 85Y 10M 5N
  • “Energy modeling increases standard of care for the design professional.” 50Y 30M 20N
  • “Energy modeling helps justify investments and convince clients.” 95Y 5M 0N
  • “Energy modeling supports integrated project delivery.” 75Y 20M 5N
  • “Energy modeling supports informed choices.” 90Y 5M 5N
  • “Most tools do not reflect the most innovative system designs.” 80Y 20M 0N

The end result of these survey questions was a discussion loosely focused around the following quote: ”Energy models are not particularly good at determining absolute energy use, but do a good job of comparing scheme A to scheme B.” This comment was quickly followed with a discussion about how we need tools to foster energy prediction. There is a strong need to get a detailed and ACCURATE understanding of the schedule of occupancy and how the building will be operated. Ultimately we have to model human nature (How far into Fall are you going to just leave the windows open instead of using a heater/AC? Is that typical?), and there aren't very good metrics or processes for getting this done.

When asked what the USGBC should due to respond to these issues, there was an excellent comment from the panel that right now all of the training is taking place in practice, and as a result there's no time for people to really explore and understand the software. There needs to be an emphasis on getting this training into the college degree programs where there aren't time (read: money) constraints. How the USGBC can foster this is up in the air. ”All of these comments have a common theme: a lack of consistent methodology.”

Commissioning (Cx)

  • “Cx is a necessary component/mandate of LEED.” 99Y .5M .5N
  • “Is Cx too expensive for the outcome delivered?” 0Y 30M 70N
  • “Is Enhanced Cx too expensive for for the outcome delivered?” 0Y 45M 55N
  • “Is Cx too poorly defined in scope to be properly implemented?” 50Y 0M 50N
  • “Are there too few qualified CxA?” 50Y 30M 20N
  • “There is no uniform certification program” 70Y 20M 10N
  • “Contractors don't understand Cx and as a result overcharge.” 60Y 25M 15N
  • “Costs are not standardized (all over the map).” 80Y 15M 5N
  • “Cx is the only way to ensure HVAC, lighting and other energy systems' installation are operating properly.” 70Y 20M 10N
  • “Cx improves project quality.” 95Y 4M 1N
  • “Cx reduces the liability of the design/construction team.” 50Y 30M 20N
  • “Cx saves the client more money than it costs to perform.” 70Y 25M 5N

”The M&V point is the most important LEED credit with regard to reducing the carbon footprint of a facility. The second most important point is enhanced commissioning.” The justification for this is that you can't improve what you don't track (M&V), and that the enhanced Cx credit requires that the CxA train the owner about how the building is to function. Comments from a CxA on the panel indicated he has found hundreds of overrides in retrocommissioning projects that are the result of a facility manager not understanding how their systems operate.

The other major discussion on this topic revolved around the fact that there's wide variability in the scope when all this is asked for in the RFP is to provide LEED fundamental/enhanced Cx services. Fundamental Cx was seen by commenters to be insufficient, as you're really only asking the CxA to provide the 'middle' of the services. They're brought in too late (no substantial design review) and leave too early (insufficient training and verification).

Keynote Cooldown

R. Fed just told me that there's 28,000 of us in Phoenix right now, and many of us are basking in some cool desert air after a warm 'sprawly' day. Al Gore's due up, to be followed by Sheryl Crow, but I'm really just stoked right now about the fact that I have a beer and a bag of cracker jacks sitting on either side of my computer. Well played, USGBC... well played.

Baller shtiz

Title: View from a crappy camera

Greenbuild Session Review: LCA into LEED

Life cycle analysis (LCA) is something that's been 'almost ready' to integrate into LEED for some time. Many expected it in the LEED v3 rollouts, but that didn't happen. This afternoon session focused on the new LEED LCA pilot credit (a system which I'll cover in more detail later, for now you can read about it straight from the horse's mouth or rely on the few tidbits I gathered below) and then here was a series of questions/comments from the floor. I apologize for the piecemeal summary you're getting below, but there was minimal presentation and too much 'discussion' that didn't really focus on the topic at hand - getting LCA into LEED. Here's what I learned:

The Basics of the LCA Credit

The pilot credit for LCA is available now, and you can read the draft here. As you might have guessed, there are about a billion issues that go into play when defining life cycle impacts of a product, and defining a system that fairly scores individual products and assemblies was/is remarkably difficult.

The current model is based on the use of the Athena Insitute Ecocalculator, largely due to the fact that they have a system ready to go now. You'll input the products used into their system, which determines the impacts (water, energy, pollution, disposal, toxicity, etc.), and the USGBC has assigned weightings to those categories that determine the scores. The ecocalculator uses an assembly system (wall, roof, floor, etc) where you input your assembly type, then the calculator uses a national average of impacts for the materials comprising that assembly to determine the score. I would suggest reading the Athena site directly if you're interested in more detailed info.

From the manufacturer's end, they have to provide specific product data (embodied energy, greenhouse gas impacts) to the Athena Institute, and then that info is folded into the assembly level data. There was substantial concern in the audience about the transparency and consistency of this process, though there are checks within the Athena Institute.

The Pilot System

"The Pilot Credit system is not currently operational at this point. The way we envisioned it is that project teams would have access to these credits and can use it if they want to." Most notably, you would get awarded a point either way even if you don't earn the point provided the documentation and an additional evaluation that the USGBC would use to modify or streamline the credit process.

Right now only the language for each official credit is online, though the USGBC has developed support materials that will be online later. "We want to give everyone as much notice as possible, and as a result we're releasing thngs in stages... Information on the submission process will be up soon".

Next Steps

Assuming the system is figured out and perfect, it's time to consider what this will replace and how it will fit in to the existing Materials and Resources credit structure. According to the panel, the most likely near term solution will be an either/or 'alternative compliance path'. LCA considers multiple attributes of sustainability all at once, where the current MR credit system focuses on single attributes (recycling, regional sourcing, etc.). In other words you can do the LCA and get 5 points (proposed) OR you could follow the existing credits (the proposal is that it will replace MRc1.1, MRc4, and MRc5) but not both. This is similiar to many compliance paths in LEED-Homes today.

Ugh... Questions

Unfortunately, the session involved a bunch of questions that didn't really clarify what it will take to incorporate this into the LEED project (i.e. the stuff you come here to learn about), and involved a series of passive aggressive comments framed as questions. It's surprising to me how much people focus on the wrong in any given system without seeing the bigger picture of creating a PRACTICAL system for measuring and scoring material impact (of course there were notable exceptions, which were already folded into the comments above).

I'm getting a beer, and anyone who saw the web session I moderated can probably understand why! A special thanks to those of you who stuck it out to the end!

Greenbuild Session Review: How the LEED - EB Certification Process Transforms Your Operations...

This panel featured a mix of facility managers and engineering consultants describing some of the issues they have faced both from a design and documentation standpoint and then balanced that with the owner reports of what did or didn't work on the ground. Due to some last minute planning for my presentation later in the day I showed up late, but here's what they shared while I was there:

Water Issues

Retrofitting low-flow flush valves on older toilets failed miserably, to the point where the flush valves had to be replaced. This jibes well with what I've heard about the importance of bowl design on successful flush ratings.

Use of perennials as a means to water use reductions raised neighborhood complaints about appearances when the plants went into their dormant stages. Calculating landscaping baselines was difficult.

Procurement and Waste

"One of the biggest hurdles of material credits is tracking... Trying to corral 100 different people with purchasing power is like herding geese." Standardized tracking spreadsheets and written example vendor documentation is helpful, but the team is still expecting a large data-entry issue at the end of the performance period.

For large organizations with multiple buildings, problems can arise when certain buildings are forced to use (potentially lower quality) sustainable goods (cough... recycled toilet paper... cough cough) and the other buildings do not. Tenants would literally bring the toilet paper from one building and the other and ask why they were being punished.

The waste audit was alarming in one facility. Before the LEED-EB process began the facility already had a waste management program, but the audit revealed only a 40% recycling rate. That initiated a series of changes, most notably a removal of disposable cups and extremely small waste bins at the desks (about the size of a big gulp cup). The facility monitor actually used the word 'mutiny' at this point... "Just let them complain for two weeks, and then they get over it and even get happy!" The notion was that the biggest complainers soon become the strongest adopters. Despite early complaints, the recycling rate jumped to over 82% within months and eliminated $52,000 a year in styrofoam cups alone.

Indoor Environmental Quality

"Both projects needed to have outdoor air flow rates adjusted... Almost no one is where they should be. They're either too low or too high." This was a surprise to me and I expect this could have big cost implications for some projects, though exemptions are available IF you can find the original design documents showing that the current system can't be modified as required.

There was some excellent guidance about how to handle the occupant comfort surveys, particularly related to including questions correlating what the occupant was wearing and the activities they perform with thermal comfort. If you have people complaining about the cold but are wearing tank tops in the winter, the appropriate solution is to have them put on a sweater and not adjust the thermostat. Complaints need to be investigated to determine the root cause. There were many instances where investigations found closed or locked dampers that wouldn't have been fixed by simple thermostat changes.

Team Management

Food service representatives are vital to be included in the LEED team, even if they're a contracted organization. Food supply and service touches on everything from energy to water to materials and procurement, yet are often under-represented on the team.

"You're going to hear this over and over again today: Educating your occupants is vital to your project success." For one project there was actually a communications team including the company's marketing and facilities departments dedicated to creating materials that rotated regularly (every two months) pushing green initiatives in the facility.

The VSP facility spent 2,200 staff hours towards their LEED-EB implementation efforts, though savings are substantial and included a 5% reduction in insurance premiums. The NEA facility used an anticipated 2,400 team hours while reporting a 19% energy use reduction in the first year and a 13% annual water savings.

What did I miss?

If you were at this session and thought there were some important notes that I missed, please leave a comment and share with everyone!

Come See Real Life LEED Moderate the Hell Out of This Panel!

Surprise! Through a set of circumstances I'm still not entirely certain about, I've ended up as the replacement moderator for the "BL02: iGreen: How the Web Empowers Designers To Build Sustainably" session at 2:00 PM today in room 121. While I'm terribly underprepared, the panelists are top notch, and all I'm really doing is acting as a conduit between the audience and the speakers anyway. Check it out!

Credded Up

Founder of What? Don't worry about it.

Sunday Funday: Musings from Big Wayne

No real point here, but I couldn't resist...

I tried really hard to track down the company listed, "Second Site Systems" and came up short, but I think they now operate under the CU-Phosco Lighting brand. Clearly they craft only finest quality product.

via Annietown.

LEED Charrette Planning Guide

My firm has a new LEED project that I've been asked to help plan a startup charrette, a first for me (though I've participated in a few others). After noticing google mostly just references you to firms providing LEED charrette facilitation services, I thought it would be helpful to compile a list of resources that I found useful in my planning. ...A boring post to be sure, but a necessary one all the same. If you have no idea what I'm talking about right now, I recommend starting with this EDC article that serves as a great intro to the concept.

Charrette Fight

Spontaneous outbreaks of violence are generally a good sign that you've lost control of your charrette

By far the most comprehensive and useful resource I've seen is the Whole Building Design Guide's resource page for charrettes, which led me to a free copy of the NREL's 116 page Handbook for Planning and Conducting Charrettes for High Performance Projects. Between these two resources you can probably figure out 99% of what you'll need to do.

Case Studies and Sample Agendas

  • The Net-Zero Commercial Buildings Initiative of the Building Technology Program from the Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Group at the US Department of Energy's (would love to see an org chart on these guys if you know where to find one) page on charrettes lists presentations and 4-5 case study reports on notable sustainable projects.
  • USGBC 1/2 Day Eco-Charrette- This seems like a very good template... introduce the benefits, develop a vision and strategies, and then tally up the LEED points at the end. Most everything I've seen has said the LEED checklist itself can be a poor crutch if pulled out too early. If you can pull it off, I think it's best to get the owner to forget about points and certification levels entirely and just worry about doing what's best for the project.
  • Oregon Sustainability Center- On the other end of the spectrum, this WEEK LONG planning/design charrette includes numerous in-depth group breakouts, presentations, and even a 'blog launch' to help document the process as it continues through construction. I would also highly recommend that blog for anyone planning a living building, or just looking for activities to help facilitate brainstorming. There is a HUGE amount of meat covering why the building design has developed into what it is today. Also, anyone looking for visualization photos won't be disappointed either.

A quick plug for the fine folks at Delta

This has absolutely nothing to do with the content above, but I crafted this post using my laptop and free (trial) in-flight wifi!!! I'm somewhere over Oklahoma the first leg of my Greenbuild supertrip as we speak...

Straight ballin'

Yay netbooks!

Phoenix or Bust - The Unofficial 2009 Greenbuild Planning Guide

I'll be leaving on Friday for a whirlwind tour of the west coast and whatever you would call the Arizona/Nevada region (the Census calls it West-Mountain Division?). By Tuesday of next week, I'll be at GREENBUILD in Phoenix, and will be blogging as fast as I can on the frustratingly small keyboard of my new netbook (expect more typos than normal)... I thought I'd give you dear readers my thoughts on what to attend, and I'd love to see some comments from locals about places I need to see in San Diego, Las Vegas, and of course Phoenix.

The Sights

Frankly, I don't know jack about Phoenix, so if you're looking for sightseeing and or dining options I'm not the guy you want to be talking to... Greensource was smart enough to ask a bunch of locals, mostly architects (including one guy who eschews the "III" suffix at the end of his name in favor of a "3"... I sincerely hope to meet Mr. DeBartolo, 3 during my travels), though those of you who don't wear black all the time can see the thoughts of a community organizer and ArchRecord Editor. In general there seems to be enough fodder and pretty pictures on that sight to allow me to skip any further research on this subject.

Fear and Loathing in Phoenix

Fear and Loathing in Phoenix... Vegas happens after

If you haven't booked a hotel yet... good luck! There's nothing left that I could find within walking distance of the convention center, but I was able to find a few hotels near the new light rail line.

The Sessions

So... I've finally registered for my sessions at Greenbuild (note: some things are already at the wait-list stage... do it today if you haven't already!), and I have to admit that I'm a little disappointed to see that everything except for the master speaker sessions and specialty updates are panel discussions... There's a time and a place for those, but I wish a few of these session topics would go into the depth and detail that only a single speaker or more formal lecture can deliver. In any case, there's clearly boatloads of talent worth seeing.

Official schedule info can be found here. In general, you have the option for paying for tours or workshops in place of the sessions included in your registration, and everything I'm going to discuss focuses on the 'free' sessions. Here's my schedule and other sessions I'd like to see if I could be two (or in some cases four) places at once. Sessions in bold are the ones I plan to attend.


I get to Phoenix in the late evening, but those around earlier may want to head to the Expo Hall grand opening that starts at 5:30 after checking in. After that there's a party from the folks at GreenGuard that starts at 8:00 off-site at a pub called Coach and Willies, but I'm not sure if that's invite-only or open to the public... the evite I got wasn't exactly clear.


  • BROWN SERIES - 8:30-10:00AM
    • BR12: How the LEED-EB Certification Process Transforms Your Operations and Engages People
      • I don't know about you, but our firm has seen a very elevated interest in LEED-EB certification lately, and I'm looking to bone up on the subject.
    • BR08: Re-membering: The Patterns of Living Systems Design
      • I haven't personally met Dayna Baumeister of the Biomimicry Guild, but I've read her boss' book and am familiar enough with their work to know it should be an interesting session. When you consider Bill Reid of Integrative Design Collaborative is also on the panel (saw an excellent presentation by him at a local conference), this is sure to be a great discussion.
    • BR10: Bringing Green to Main Street: Demystifying and Managing the Risks of Green Building
      • I'm recommending this session solely on the strength of a presentation I saw Kimberly Pexton give to our offices about a year ago... she clearly understood how to get LEED done on the ground. She is the Director of Sustainable Construction for Hitt Contracting, a large general contractor with a broad range of LEED experience.
    • There is only one session offered at this time, the "Executive Roundtable", and I'm going to have to miss at least part of it due to prior plans, but this seems like a very interesting session featuring none other then R.Fed himself with a distinguished panel of Fortune 500 Presidents, COOs, and Senior VPs.
  • SPECIALTY UPDATES - 12:30-1:30PM
    • The Specialty Update series are the sessions that are probably going to be boring but the most useful as far as your day to day job as a LEED AP is concerned (Today's topics: Earning and Maintaining LEED Credentials, LEED for Retail Practical Strategies, The Evolving Recognition of Certified Wood Products, etc.). I could also suspect, but can't confirm, that many of these sessions will be available online after the conference is over. I'm unfortunately going to miss the Wednesday updates, but will work to get the most important announcements back to you after the fact.
  • BLUE SERIES - 2:00-3:30PM
    • BL02: iGreen: How the Web Empowers Designers to Build Sustainably
    • BL09: Zero Energy Buildings: Case Studies in Accessible Technologies for a More Sustainable Main Street
      • Though I'm punching myself for reverting to this worn out cliche, Net Zero is the new LEED, and it can't hurt to see what's available today to make it happen.
    • BL10: Risk Management and LEED
      • A group of lawyers in a room discussing pitfalls of LEED and how to avoid them. It's been done before and it will be done again, but I haven't been to one of these yet where I didn't learn something that could (or possibly already has) keep me out of a lawsuit. Also, most lawyers I've met are funny.
  • GREEN SERIES - 4:00-5:30PM
    • GR01: LCA Into LEED, The Objective Behind the LCA Pilot Credit and a Roundtable Session to Help Advance the LEED LCA Credit Calculator
      • Frankly, I'm doing this one for you guys... Even the title sounds tedious! The pilot credit library is new to me, and I hope to be able to fill in the blanks to you once this session is over. It also appears that the USGBC will be listening to attendees about how to make this process go smoothly, so hopefully I'll be able to make a difference, however small, for the better here.
    • GR13: Indoor Environmental Quality and Human Health - The Vital Connections
      • I think we undersell the value of IEQ improvements in general, and I hope this session would help arm you with more data to support these efforts.
  • KEYNOTE - 6:00-9:00PM
    • Al Gore, Sheryl Crow, and all that jazz... if you've somehow missed the announcement about this one I'm not sure where you've been


  • RED SERIES - 8:30-10:00AM
    • RD05: Big Government, Big Results, Big Opportunities
      • Go where the work is, right?
    • RD13: Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS) for Higher Eduction
      • I haven't heard of this yet, and though the name sounds an awful lot like the DoD's SPiRit rating system (good riddance!), the website indicates it's more of a system for tracking building performance AFTER construction, which is never a bad idea. I'm not sure what to expect from this, but I must admit I'm curious.
    • There is only one session offered at this time, "Cx & EM - Value, Cost and Project Integration". I'm not terribly sure what to expect here, but you will struggle to find a more accomplished panel in the whole conference. My personal fave is Vivian Loftness of Carnegie Mellon, who is probably the person I would like to meet most at this conference...
  • SPECIALTY UPDATES - 12:30-1:30PM
    • I'll be able to make this round of updates, and I've chosen "SU17, LEED Online V3: Executive Status Update" to attend because of their promise to describe "user experience with it to date, and USGBC's resolution of challenges that have arisen since go-live." Let's only hope Mr. Opitz isn't too mad at me for not publishing an interview he was kind enough to offer me! Sorry about that (seriously)!
  • ORANGE SERIES - 2:00-3:00PM
    • OR01: Benchmarking Strategies to Analyze Building Performance, Reduce Costs, Save Energy, and Improve Sustainability Best Practices
      • Benchmarking is something near and dear to my heart, as I hope to get a comprehensive post-occupancy assessment program off the ground at work in the next few months.
    • OR11: Bridging the Gap Between Design and Performance: Experience from Leading Low Carbon Communities
    • OR16: Sustainable Valuation: When Going Green Makes Cents
      • I probably would have avoided the "Makes Cents" reference personally, but you can't argue with the value of the topic... Having Tom Paladino on the panel means you're getting one of the most knowledgeable sustainable valuation experts in front of you to tell you about it, too.
  • YELLOW SERIES - 4:00-5:30PM
    • YL01: Maintaining the Momentum with V3: How Controls, Contracts, and Proper Coverage Protect LEED and Your Bottom Line
      • Another lawyer panel, but since I couldn't make the first one I've decided to go with this one. I'm curious about the specific tie to LEED v3, and interested to hear if there's any specific legal implications tied to the new system.
    • YL13: Innovative Water Solutions for Schools
      • This is another instance of me recommending a session based on the merit of a speaker I've seen before and was extremely impressed with. Mike Nicklas of Innovative Design tends to rigorously measure the performance of the systems he designs, and I have little doubt that his recommendations will be effective.
    • YL16: Delivering Green to Hotel Guests: Incorporating LEED Into Hospitality Brand Standards & Operations
      • Hotels are a tricky animal when you consider that the owners are generally very (sometimes obsessively) concerned with the perceptions of the guests. What you can push on an employee (say, low flow sinks) might not fly in a hotel, and I'm curious to hear how they resolve these situations.
    • I wish I had the resources to throw all you readers a big, all expenses paid party, but let's be honest... it's just not happening. Thursday night is open for me though, and if someone local could recommend a good bar (within walking distance of course) for a bunch or RLL'ers to meetup informally I'll put up a separate post letting everyone know and we'll see what happens... To be honest, I've only met one person who's read my blog outside of South Carolina in person!


  • PURPLE SERIES - 8:30-10:00AM
    • PL01: Case Study: Assessing Green Building Performance
      • Again, I'm a little obsessed right now with post-occupancy assessments, and I'm really looking to learn how to do them right. I can't imagine two better tutors than Vivian Loftness and Kim Fowler, a PNNL researcher involved in developing a common metric to help build a much needed database of performance outcomes that could be compared across building types.

The Summary

Yeah... There's some stuff going off Friday afternoon and Saturday, but I'm going to be in VEGAS... dolla, dolla bill, y'all!!! I have no clue how many readers will be out there, but feel free to say hey if you see me... That's me on the left, though as that's a work profile photo I'll likely look much more comfortable and have less hair...