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LEED designs gaining ground

According to a study by construction consulting firm PinnacleOne, almost half (48 percent) of public owners in the United States have implemented construction projects with energy-efficient designs during the past year. Of those owners who implemented energy-efficient designs, the vast majority (87 percent) were familiar with Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) green building standards and more than two-thirds (70 percent) used LEED standards in their designs.

&quotWhile more public owners need to address energy efficiency in their construction plans, it is very encouraging that those implementing green building designs are using LEED standards,&quot says Bruce Risley, vice president at PinnacleOne. &quotIt is interesting to note that most of these owners are pursuing the lower levels of LEED certification and that they often overlook the use of outsourcing [to external firms] as a vehicle for financing and managing these facilities.&quot

These are just a few of the findings in The 2006 PinnacleOne Pulse of U.S. Public Construction survey, which examined the opinions of 166 public owners involved in construction projects throughout the United States.

Following are some of the major energy-related findings:

  • More than two-thirds (70 percent) of the owners who implemented energy-efficient designs during the past year say their designs received LEED certification. Of those designs, 71 percent received a silver certification, 29 percent achieved a gold certification, and none received a platinum certification (the highest).
  • Of those owners who have implemented energy-efficient designs during the past year, approximately a quarter (24 percent) have used green designs to renovate existing facilities only, more than one-third (34 percent) have gone green exclusively in new facilities, and the remainder (42 percent) have implemented energy-saving designs in both new and existing facilities.
  • In terms of financing and managing an on-site energy infrastructure, close to half (43 percent) of the owners prefer to outsource design and construction while maintaining ownership and management, while a similar amount (45 percent) have not yet utilized outsourcing at all. Only 10 percent prefer to completely outsource all aspects of the facility’s funding, construction, and management.
  • During the past year, owners in the Northeast (74 percent) and Western (62 percent) regions were more likely to implement energy-efficient designs than owners located in the rest of the country. Interestingly, owners in the education sector were more than twice as likely to go with green designs as other industries. Of those owners in the Western region using energy-efficient designs, a majority (53 percent) did not pursue LEED certification.