by D. Brent Sauser
Several thousand precast concrete enthusiasts converged upon the Charlotte, NC
Convention Center over January 28th to the 30th, 2011 to see the latest technology innovations and participate in a wide range of topical seminars. Brent Sauser was invited to take the lead with two seminars: “Sustainability as it relates to LEED”, and “Sustainability 101”.
Brent Sauser had the opportunity to conduct two classes previously for an NPCA Convention in 2009 in Houston, Texas, where the focus was on the
USGBC and LEED, what it was, and how it might impact the precast
concrete industry. Two
years later the focus expanded beyond the specifics of LEED to the more comprehensive subject of sustainable design.
The “Sustainability 101” class explained:
- What is Sustainability?
- Why is Sustainable Design so important?
- Is Sustainable Design a New Concept?
- Is Sustainable Design fact or fad?
- Organizations promoting Sustainable Design
- Examples of Sustainable Design
- Understanding what “Net Zero” means
The “Sustainability as it Relates to LEED” class explained:
- What is Sustainability?
- What is Sustainability as it relates to LEED?
- Percast concrete and “Green” construction
- Role LEED plays in the “Green” movement
- Introduction of the NPCA LEED Calculator
Both classes were well attended by individuals who already had some degree of experience with sustainable design. Some individuals stayed for the second class even though they weren’t signed up. The overall impression was that each class had something positive to offer. Several participants shared ideas on how to improve their overall production processes. Judging from the positive evaluations provided by the attendees, Brent Sauser is looking forward to present again at future NPCA Conventions.
by D. Brent Sauser
NetZeroMax.com is dedicated to keeping the green building process simple and uncomplicated. Those who follow a NetZeroMax approach may NOT receive a pretty plaque to hang on their lobby wall. Instead, a monthly power bill of $00.00 (net) will be their indisputable proof that the decision to go Net Zero paid off. No fancy plaque, just real money in your pocket to enhance your competitiveness. No expensive fees to determine compliance. No additional ‘hoops” to jump through. No bureaucracy to contend with. As an added bonus, any project that pursues a Net Zero energy approach will easily qualify for substantial LEED credits that would place the project at a Gold, or possibly a Platinum level of certification. However, the primary design objective must be in achieving Net Zero energy compliance before counting LEED credits. Pursuing LEED certification first may place in jeopardy the potential for a 100% Net Zero project, due to budgetary constraints. Net Zero costs should NOT be included in the exercise of determining how many
LEED credits the project can afford.
The priority is Net Zero FIRST, LEED certification (if desired) second. With the growing demands for energy
usage, and the constant escalation in utility costs, attention must be focused on achieving energy independence first. Net Zero should NOT be considered as one of many LEED credit options to achieve certification. The technology for renewable energy resources is a growing industry that is more efficient, cost effective, and viable than ever before. Design professionals need to be aware of the resources readily available to help achieve a Net
Zero building and consider its implementation a requirement, not an option. Making Net Zero solutions a “required” part of the project scope of work will ease the process of achieving LEED certification (if desired). Remember, LEED Certification may be optional, but Net Zero energy efficient design is essential. The NetZeroMax mission is to provide you with the information you need to make intelligent Net Zero decisions for your project. Now, how complicated is that?
Brent Sauser, President of dbs Archtects PLLC is owner and creator of NetZeroMax.com. This website was created, among other reasons, to demonstrate the level of passion and commitment Brent Sauser and dbs Architects PLLC have to promote Net Zero design. You can take comfort in knowing that Brent Sauser and dbs Architects PLLC will bring your project into the 21st Century. Give us a call.
by Brent Sauser
In the Spring of 2005 I stepped into a testing center in Orlando, Florida to become a LEED Accredited Professional. LEED stands for “Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design” and was developed by the US Green Building Council (USGBC). I studied a few hours a night for three months and managed to pass the test on my first attempt. Holding the credentials of a LEED Accredited Professional, along with my Architectural license, means a lot to me. In fact, it is encouraging to know that the days of the dollar driven bottom line are truly over. Because of the constant vigilance of the USGBC and other like-minded organizations green building and sustainable building principles are now required for government construction and has been written into building code language. More needs to be done to get where it needs to be, but we are moving in the right direction. The Triple Bottom Line is no longer a request, but a requirement! We are moving (albeit slowly) to Net Zero.
The USGBC promotes green building and sustainability in how buildings are designed, built and operated. Begun
in 1993, the USGBC uses the LEED rating system to determine the degree of sustainability to be achieved for any construction project. The higher the rating the more sustainable the building is. A Net Zero building is usually associated with achieving the highest LEED rating level (or Platinum). With each new iteration of the LEED rating system we move one or two steps higher on the ladder to total sustainability and serves as the primary vehicle to move the design and building industry toward a carbon neutral, Net Zero solution.
Manufacturers have seen this transition and have
responded by providing products that better comply with specific LEED criteria such as: roofing materials with high reflectivity; low flow plumbing fixtures; building materials with high recycled content; low VOC paints, adhesives, and sealants; Energy Star appliances; and high efficiency mechanical equipment, etc.
dbs Architects PLLC is prepared and dedicated to providing you with Net Zero solutions for your project. You can have confidence that your project will be designed to meet the expectations of the 21st Century. Net Zero in your project is money in your pocket! Give us a call.
by D. Brent Sauser
I came to practice architecture in Florida via Minnesota. In 2004, a headhunter discovered me and called to ask if I would be interested in moving to Orlando. His timing was excellent because it was the dead of winter . . . and if you haven’t heard, it gets mighty cold in Minnesota. I didn’t hesitate in expressing interest. He matched me up with a firm that was looking for a senior architect with government experience. We had many telephone conversations before I was flown to Florida for a face-to-face interview. I recall one phone call where he asked, “What do you know about Sustainable Design?” After an awkward pause, I tried to bluff my way through that question. The word “sustainable” was not a common term in the design industry . . . and that was about 10 years ago. I was hired anyway, and by mid-2005 I had passed the LEED exam to become a LEED accredited professional. But even then, the concept of designing something to be sustainable was still foreign to me.
In the subsequent years I have gained a greater understanding of what sustainable is and how it fits in the design community. Sustainability is achieved by utilizing energy provided by four natural resources: Earth, Wind, Solar, and Water. Utilizing any one or all of these natural resources is not a new concept. Prior to the advent of the Industrial Revolution that is all we knew and depended upon. The Industrial Revolution accelerated us into a whole new world of man-made, artificial environments. Over the centuries we can now see the environmental cost to ourselves, our communities, and our planet.
Sustainable Design is the appropriate balance of modern comfort expectations powered by renewable, natural resources. One of the best ways to measure a balanced, sustainable approach is to build Net Zero. It is as easy as checking your monthly power bill and calculating at the end of the year if you consumed less energy than you produced on site. If so, congratulations! If not, than you can reduce your consumption or introduce additional renewable, Net Zero systems until Net Zero is achieved. It may take a combination of Earth, Wind, Solar, and Water to get to Net Zero, but the result is 100% independence from the local power grid, and money back in your pocket. THAT . . . IS SUSTAINABLE!
We are only nibbling around the edges of Sustainable Design and Green Building. We must take the lead now and implement the amazing sustainable technology that is already out there. dbs Architects PLLC is prepared, ready, and willing to help bring your project into the 21st Century by a careful and sensitive integration of Net Zero design. Give us a call!
by D. Brent Sauser
With all the agitation going on in the world today we are reminded about what truly matters . . . our families and each other. Everything else might rise to the level of “important”, perhaps even “very important”, but in the eternal scheme of things doesn’t really matter. The recent Boston Marathon bombing and heart-breaking tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School reinforces this fact. Who, with school age children didn’t give each of them a longer, more meaningful hug that day, with expressions of sincere love. Many of us wept openly over such a senseless loss of pure, innocent life. People and families matter. They matter a lot!
We get distracted with news of falling off a “fiscal cliff”, the Mayan Apocalypse, or consequences from a federal sequester. Yet, we have a good idea of the personal, internal satisfaction that comes when we take the time to focus on others. Our hearts become a little softer and our attitude a little kinder in the selfless service to others. We resolve to stand a little taller and lengthen out stride. Our happiness grows. This can be accomplished at a small, and large scale.
Among the many things I have challenged myself, I resolve to be a positive, dedicated advocate for accelerating Net Zero design principles
and will work to accomplish this goal. I believe people and families deserve it. Don’t you? I guess that depends on what matters most.