April 5, 2010
LEED can be golden for mechanical contractors: prof
LEED projects represent a golden business opportunity for the mechanical contracting industry, says Tim Wentz, an associate professor at the Lincoln campus of the University of Nebraska.
In the case of the LEED Canada rating system for new construction and major renovations and additions, 36 of the 70 points that can be accrued are directly related to mechanical systems or mechanical construction.
“Those points belong to us,” Wentz told a session at the Canadian Mechanical Contracting Education Foundation’s recent biannual middle management conference in Toronto.
Wentz, who has a degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Nebraska and spent 19 years in the mechanical contracting industry prior to teaching, said the first document to request is the LEED-NC checklist.
Having done that, contractors should then focus on the mechanical points that are available in three key categories — water efficiency, energy and atmosphere and indoor environmental quality.
“You are looking for the big slices of the pie,” Wentz said, noting that optimizing energy performance is worth as many as 10 points alone.
Wentz, who has been named national educator of the year three times by the Mechanical Contractors Association of America, advised project managers and others at the conference that it is important to differentiate between easy and hard LEED points.
“You need to focus on the low-hanging fruit,” he said.
In the United States, the LEED for new construction rating system underwent a major transformation last year, with the number of possible points being raised from 70 to 110.
The number of potential credits for energy performance optimization has been upped to 19.
“I think you are going to see much more emphasis in this area in Canada as well,” Wentz said. “I think that is to the benefit of mechanical contractors.”
Other newly introduced rating systems that are expected to be seen soon in Canada are LEED for schools and LEED for healthcare facilities, said Wentz, a LEED-accredited professional.
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