Today I received a copy of the "Existing Buildings version 2.0 Reference Guide" from the US Green Building Council (USGBC) which I will study in order to become (and blog about becoming) a Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Accredited Professional (AP).
The book is 496 pages long and I have just finished reading the section on how to get 1 point towards your LEED accreditation through providing bike racks and changing/showering facilities (page 58).
I have a long journey ahead of me which will culminate in taking a $400, 80 question multiple-choice test. If I pass I will become a LEED AP like the 56,000 before me. If I fail I will probably curse a lot, study more and retest (if I have the money).
I chose to become an expert in LEED certification for existing buildings because it focuses on reducing operations and maintenance costs/materials rather than on green building planning (as is the case for new construction LEED certification). Since I am not an architect, building designer or engineer I am not qualified to help out with new building design (I do know that load baring walls should not be messed with). I think I should stick with helping owners of existing buildings go green through changing landscape, O&M stratagem and other lifestyle changes.
The certification is broken into 6 main categories.
1. Sustainable sites (talking about green site and exterior management, building/area density, alternative transportation, stormwater management, heat island reduction etc)
2. Water Efficiency (landscaping, use reduction, etc)
3. Energy & Atmosphere (energy use reduction, ozone protection, etc)
4. Materials & Recourses (reducing, reusing and recycling building materials)
5. Indoor Environmental Quality (venting, heating, daylighting etc)
6. Innovation in Operation & Upgrades (If this project required anything new and really clever, it gets a point. It also gets a point if a LEED AP worked on it)
I have a lot to learn, but I am looking forward to it. I have already learned a few neat things, for example the "wavy" bike racks are inefficient since they are more often then not used improperly preventing higher utility. That and turbid water absorbs less sunlight than still water reducing the ability of aquatic plants to photosynthesize and thus die.
Pretty neat huh?
Oh, I have run across a small issue in there example of how to calculate the minimum number of bike racks the site should have to get the credit. It says you should provide the greater of 125% of the bike rack demand or 1% of the Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) of building occupants. They provide the calculations for figuring out the FTE (which in the example is 285), but they say that would require 15 bike racks. Last I checked 285 x 0.01=2.85 not 15.... I have emailed the USGBC asking for clarification, I hope they get back to me soon. When I learn, I'll let you know.
The goal is to finish the book by August 27 (the start of school...I think) and reread various sections every few days to keep myself sharp.
That was my first step on this journey of 1000 miles (although the first step may have been ordering the book).