Launch Slideshow

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Going for Platinum

Going for Platinum

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    MHTN Architects' rehabilitated office in Salt Lake City is seeking Platinum LEED certification. The EarlyEco©tool assisted the design team to stay within budget while seeking the highest LEED rating.

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    A sample of the EarlyEco©computer printout for MHTN Architects Inc.'s office renovation, a LEED for commercial interior project.

Project owners, architects and engineers are trying to implement LEED-based sustainable-design practices from the U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) while keeping projects within budgets. Many sustainable design professionals say “it costs no more” to do a sustainable project or “it costs between 1 and 4% of the total construction cost.”

Who is right? What are the costs? What factors affect the price? Can these projects cost less if materials are reused?

To help solve LEED cost issues, MHTN Architects Inc., Salt Lake City, has developed EarlyEco©, an in-house system to control budgets of LEED projects. It was first developed for use with LEED for New Construction projects but has been expanded into LEED for Core and
Shell; LEED for Commercial Interiors; LEED for Schools;
and LEED for Laboratories, which will be completed soon.

Using EarlyEco

EarlyEco© helps organize and analyze the data for each LEED credit and credit option. A professional conceptual estimator has analyzed each of the credit line items. The synergies between credits also have been evaluated and are part of the formulas embedded in the program.

The EarlyEco© program is customized for each project by inputting 28 key design factors regarding the site and building. These include building size, number of building occupants, and location. The output then is analyzed by a LEED AP and compared to project consultants' costs related to the specific design and bidding conditions of the current market.

It is important to define the sustainable and energy-savings goals of the team in the early phases of design. When these are identified early, the design team can focus on LEED credits and categories that fit within the budget and match the overall project goals.

The objective is not to “chase credits” but rather to work with the client to define options and related costs in a timely manner. Too often, clients, designers, and consultants pursue sustainable-design solutions that are not within the project budget. EarlyEco© identifies the conceptual cost early, so the client and design team can design a sustainable project within budget.

EarlyEco© helps organize and analyze the data for each LEED credit and credit option. A professional conceptual estimator has analyzed each of the credit line items. The synergies between credits also have been evaluated and are part of the formulas embedded in the program.

The EarlyEco© program is customized for each project by inputting 28 key design factors regarding the site and building. These include building size, number of building occupants, and location. The output then is analyzed by a LEED AP and compared to project consultants' costs related to the specific design and bidding conditions of the current market.

It is important to define the sustainable and energy-savings goals of the team in the early phases of design. When these are identified early, the design team can focus on LEED credits and categories that fit within the budget and match the overall project goals.

The objective is not to “chase credits,” but rather to work with the client to define options and related costs in a timely manner. Too often, clients, designers, and consultants pursue sustainable-design solutions that are not within the project budget. EarlyEco© identifies the conceptual cost early, so the client and design team can design a sustainable project within budget.