ASHRAE: LEED needs integrated teamwork

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has called for the earlier involvement of all construction team professionals in order to ensure green buildings can be constructed in the Middle East.

The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) has called for the earlier involvement of all construction team professionals in order to ensure green buildings can be constructed in the Middle East.

MEP professionals must be involved from the initial design stage of construction projects as part of an integrated construction team if buildings are to achieve approval by the US Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) ratings system.

“For optimised energy performance, modelling is used to enhance the design, but if you design neat stuff and this isn’t installed in the same way this won’t meet the model,” stated E Mitchell Swann, principal and partner, MDC Systems and ASHRAE distinguished lecturer.

Speaking at the ASHRAE Middle East Chapter general meeting held in Dubai on 18 February, Swann addressed an audience of over 150 construction industry professionals. He stressed that under LEED for New Construction Version 2.2, post-occupancy results are needed to achieve certain points in the LEED rating system, putting higher emphasis on the installation and commissioning of MEP systems.

“With the LEED certification programme you have to commission to get the points,” Swann stated.

“Success is measured over time and LEED has a requirement for post-occupancy evaluation to secure thermal comfort credits,” he explained.

“If you can’t get certain [LEED] points until one year post-occupancy and you don’t want to do much commissioning then you are unlikely to meet the rating you promised [the client],” Swann stressed.

“The key project assumptions are very important, particularly when talking about green buildings. The best opportunity is in the concept planning and design stages,” he added.

“LEED is about working together to make a green building. You cannot do this alone, it needs everybody working together,” added Mario Seneviratne, director of Green Technologies and Secretary to the Board of the Emirates Green Building Council.

“It has an integrated design approach – it’s about all the people [involved in the construction process] agreeing how to make a better building. You cannot stand up yourself and say ‘I’m an engineer, I’m going to make a green building’, it’s got to be an integrated approach,” Seneviratne added.

“There are many synergies between green buildings and air conditioning, more so in this region as air conditioning is the major energy consumer,” stressed Seneviratne, “The hvac engineer has the power to influence if a building is green or not.”

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