I recently had the opportunity to interview Amanda Sturgeon AIA, LEED Co-Director Sustainable Design Initiative at Perkins+Will about the new LEED performance data mandates, LEED v3, and the LEED Platinum certified Ohlone Community College.

Perkins+Will is a leader in green building design and has worked on many notable LEED projects including One Haworth Center (one of TIME’s top green architecture projects), and two of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) top ten green projects of 2009: the Great River Energy Headquarters and Synergy at Dockside Green.

The following is an email interview conducted with Ms. Sturgeon on September 24, 2009.

What are your thoughts on the performance data mandate?

The performance data mandate is a great addition and one that is overdue. USGBC has been receiving criticism for a while on how LEED buildings perform and this initiative will reduce those critiques which often give LEED or a particular building a bad reputation that is not justified. The industry needs to know how sustainable strategies actually work when operating and without this information it is mostly estimates that we rely on or the modelers expertise. This is an overdue mandate that will also benefit the building owner, it's a win for all involved.
How will the implementation of performance data measurement change your design process?
The design process will need to change to be more research based. This is something that designers have been asking for, for a while but the data and facts on performance were just not there. With better performance measuring there will be a feedback loop that can improve the selection of design strategies based on what we know works and does not work.
Are there current Perkins+Will projects under design using LEED v3? If so, are you able to provide any information about any of these projects?
We have 140 projects currently registered under LEED that are in progress. Approximately half of those will probably be certified under the new LEED 3.0 version. Generally we are finding V3.0 to be a relatively easy transition with few differences to the actual point content from the old version. Some projects are finding the energy credits harder to achieve but there are more credits allocated to energy so it is not effecting our ability to achieve LEED levels.
Perkins+Will was the design force behind the Newark Center for Health Sciences and Technology at Ohlone Community College in Newark, California. The LEED Platinum certified school ran at net zero energy consumption for six months – April 2008 to August 2008. During that time, the school was able to remove itself from the electrical grid and sell its unused power.

The school’s solar power generation prevented 421 tons of CO2 emissions and helped the college achieve a 69% reduction in purchased electricity and a 72% reduction in natural gas consumption compared to similar building’s that meet California’s Title 24 energy code. California is known for its strict energy efficiency standards and Title 24 is the toughest code in the nation. This building greatly improved upon the mandates set forth by Title 24.

The Ohlone Community College project supports the need for the performance data mandates set forth in LEED v3. The college’s LEED application looked great, earning the school Platinum level recognition, but its actual energy savings are fantastic.

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