The U.S. Green Building Council (USGBC) developed the LEED Green Building Rating System as a voluntary, consensus-based national rating system for developing high-performance, sustainable buildings. LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) addresses all building types and emphasizes state-of-the-art strategies in the following areas: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality. The rating system gives points for adherence to strict guidelines in each of the five areas and, depending on the number of points earned, a building may be certified at one of several LEED levels.
“A great deal of effort and care goes into any energy-efficient, sustainable-design construction,” says Charles Plunkett, president of Artistic Builders and founder of Capco Steel Inc. “When a project goes beyond ordinary ‘green’ to actually seek LEED certification, the degree of attentiveness and accountability increases dramatically.”
Artistic Builders is the general contractor for construction of the Full Goods Building at the old Pearl Brewery in San Antonio, one of the highest profile construction sites in Texas seeking LEED certification. Full Goods, a former warehouse that once served as a packaging and shipping facility, is an adaptive re-use and rehabilitation effort that will create 67,000 square feet of distinctive office, retail and residential space. Capco is the subcontractor providing light-gauge steel framing, metal-clad wall systems, specialty steel and structural fabrication services for the project.
“The LEED process involves not only strict performance and utilization of materials that meet USGBC standards,” says Plunkett, “but also meticulous recordkeeping to evidence that such standards have been met.” For instance, there is a requirement that at least 50 percent of all wood used in the project be certified by the Forest Stewardship Council as having come from areas engaged in re-foresting efforts. To obtain LEED certification, such wood must be purchased from a supplier that handles re-forested products, and Artistic Builders must obtain a tracking number for the wood, as well as documentation certifying its chain of custody from the logging site to the project.