Just a bit of an overview of the State of LEED in the region.
The price is about the same if you do a 10,000 sf building or a 100,000 sf project, so size matters. A rule of thumb is that the project will be 10% more for a smaller project and 5% more for a larger project.
Personally, I will only work on projects going for a very high level of LEED. I’m currently trying to get an office project to give me free rent (for the three of us) for 10 years in exchange for the LEED Platinum documentation for the 20,000 sf building. I’d get some interior space that they rarely lease. My goal for that project is to get 110 out of 110 points for LEED for Commercial Interiors Version 3 2009. The same version my current offfice is 86/110 points for the highest LEED points and version in greater Cincinnati.
Institutions like the Zoo, UC, United Way, Cincinnati Public Schools and the City of Cincinnati have found it makes sense to build LEED. The buildings are designed for 50-75 years and the public can see that they are getting a quality building.
Private buildings like the Great American Tower went LEED because occupancy rates are higher and the building will have a higher resale value.
Engineering, architecture and construction firms like Heapy, KZF, Emersion and Messer have done LEED on their buildings to demonstrate their proficiency.
Manufacturers don’t go LEED very often. An unbelievable exception is Melink, one of a few net-zero companies in the world but that is their day job, air handling systems for restaurants.
Through the LEED AP exam classes I gave in 2007 and 2008, I organized dozens of tours of commercial buildings. Each of the ten 3 hour classes would be in a different LEED building such as a Fire House or the Art Academy. The first hour was a tour of the building, and they were open to the public.
Interest has wained in commercial LEED with low natural gas and fuel prices. All the CPA schools have been built. The most significant recent certification is the Zoo’s Living Building Challenge African Painted Dog House and the net-zero District 3 Police Station by Emersion Design.
I found that the way to the business owner is through their home. For the last three years I have produced Green Home tours with the local USGBC Chapter, and through them, I have met potential commercial LEED clients. The only significant group involved in sustainability are the homeowners, and we’re starting to gather some steam with almost 300 members that have shown their homes or attended the tours.
The bigest threat facing measurable environmental benefit in the built environment in Cincinnati is the repeal of the LEED tax abatement. It's staggered for various achievement levels and will get harder as the current version of LEED and LEED for Homes expires. I've found that this single legislation has brought better housing to Cincinnati, high value residents, good construction jobs and a lot of credibility in environmental circles. If one of Cincinnati's goals is to be in the top ten environmentally sustainable cities in the US by 2020, we need to keep this in place. Ask your favorite candidate about it.
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