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Programming for sustainable building design : addressing sustainability in a project delivery process

Salama, Ashraf M and Adams, W. Graham (2004) Programming for sustainable building design : addressing sustainability in a project delivery process. In: IAPS Vienna 2004: Evaluation in Progress - Strategies for Environmental Research and Implementation, 2004-07-07 - 2004-07-09.

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Abstract

Stakeholders of the built environment including owners, designers, and facility managers have recently begun to consider sustainability as a realistic and beneficial goal for their capital facilities. Over the past few years, there has been increasing evidence that sustainable design and construction results in built environments that are user friendly and energy efficient with lower cost. Governments and organizations started to support sustainability efforts by developing policy and guidance documents on how sustainability can be achieved. However, little effort has been made to examine how these documents are transformed from rules, policies, and strategies into actual practices, and to investigate their implement-ability. This paper tests several assumptions about the value and role of these documents. These are: current guidance documents are not clear about the intended stakeholders who are expected to use them, they do not address the project delivery processes, do not address sustainability early in those processes, do not provide tools for architects and engineers to utilize while implementing the guidelines in real life practices, and that there are obstacles the professional community faces in implementing those guidelines. The paper envisions a new approach by reporting on critical activities and processes adopted in the B-3 Project “Building, Benchmarks, and Beyond,” a project conceived by the government of the state of Minnesota to develop sustainable design guidelines for all public buildings in the state to be implemented starting from January 2004. As an integral component of the B-3 project an inductive analysis procedure has been conducted for five guidance documents. These are: Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System (National), Triangle Region Public Facilities High Performance Guidelines (North Carolina), Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Guidelines for Creating High Performance Green Buildings (Pennsylvania), High Performance Building Guidelines (New York), and University of Minnesota Sustainable Design Guide (Minnesota). The analysis included overview, intended reader, and goals of each guidance document. However, emphasis was placed on the process aspects as an endeavor to answer a crucial set of questions including: how these documents place value on the process in general terms, what and how different phases of a project delivery are addressed, what documentation is required, and whether they include supporting and compliance tools. A survey of selected Minnesota design professionals has been conducted representing a feedback mechanism where designers were asked to respond to questions that pertain to their familiarity with guidelines systems developed previously at the Minnesota state or national levels and to indicate weaknesses and strengths of these documents based on their experience. They were also asked to provide suggestions toward the development of Minnesota state sustainable design guidelines. The results of the inductive analysis and the survey of Minnesota architects/engineers reveal that current sustainable design guidance documents have several shortcomings pertaining to the issues examined. This mandated the need for emphasizing the project delivery process aspects, addressing sustainable design features early in this process-- in the predesign and programming phases--, and developing supporting tools to facilitate this process. This necessitated the inclusion of an integrated and performance management guidance component that has the capacity to overcome the obstacles revealed in the examined guidance documents and expressed by the professional community.