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Thoughts From a LEED AP

As the Preconstruction Manager of American Constructors, L.P., a general contractor/construction management firm located in Austin, Texas that provides full construction services, Brian Haulotte is a LEED AP certified professional.

We’ve asked him to share his insights as well as some advice about LEED and sustainable design in the Tilt-Up concrete industry.

TCA: What does the Tilt-Up industry need to know about green and sustainability?

Haulotte: There is a noticeable shift in perceptions within the marketplace with regard to green building and sustainable design. What was just a short time ago a discussion that took place on occasion, has become much more commonplace with clients and designers. Many project owners are faced with increased energy costs in addition to a culture that has an increasing awareness of conservation and resource management. It is reasonable to anticipate that green building projects, as a percentage of the overall market, will continue to increase as more clients explore the use of sustainable design in their projects.

The Tilt-Up industry can play a key role in this expanding market. To do so, our industry has to continue to educate ourselves about sustainable design practices and to understand how to implement Tilt-Up as a component of green buildings. Articulating the affects of “greening” the project and helping to establish reasonable goals and expectations with regard to design and cost can be valuable to many clients.

TCA: Why is Tilt-Up a fit for LEED?

Haulotte: The Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design (LEED®) Rating System established by the U.S. Green Building Council is a recognized tool for benchmarking a building’s sustainable characteristics and it categorizes sustainable design practices for new building construction projects into five main groups: Sustainable Sites, Water Efficiency, Energy and Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, and Indoor Environmental Quality. Of these five categories, Tilt-Up may likely find a fit within multiple areas on a project where LEED® certification is a goal.

TCA: How is Tilt-Up a fit for LEED?

Haulotte: Tilt-Up can provide improved thermal characteristics in addition to offering a wall system that is comprised of materials possessing recycled content and that are manufactured in the same region as the building itself. These characteristics can benefit a project pursuing LEED® certification.

TCA: Please dispel any misconceptions about the use of Tilt-Up concrete in a LEED project:

Haulotte: One misconception I’ve heard in the past centered on the thought that in order for a product or system to be green, it had to be new or involved an increased level of technology. However, one of the attributes of Tilt-Up lies in the fact that it has a proven history of performance in the market.

TCA: Even if a project isn’t seeking LEED Certification, what elements of LEED can be incorporated to the betterment of the project?

Haulotte: If a client is interested in incorporating sustainable design into their project but they do not desire to undertake the process of project certification, the project team can review the requirements of the LEED® system and identify which strategies are suitable for their project. Certainly, many elements of LEED® and other rating systems will improve a building’s performance through energy efficiency, improved water use and efficient material resources.

TCA: Who is driving the decision to use Tilt-Up on your projects?

Haulotte: Many of our clients understand the benefits Tilt-Up construction provides for their new buildings. Their need to improve energy efficiency and durability has been a driver in their decisions to employ Tilt-Up.

TCA: Who is driving the decision to use green or sustainable elements on your project? What about LEED Certification?

Haulotte: More and more it is the stakeholders and end users of a building, be it a tenant or occupant, who have a greater expectation of sustainability in buildings. This is due in part to a growing mind shift in our culture that places this increasing demand on energy performance and resource conservation in buildings. LEED®, along with other “green” building rating tools and systems, have gained in popularity as these expectations continue to increase. Ultimately, it requires the client to have the need for “greening” their project, to set that need as a priority and make the commitment to reach those goals.

TCA: How can a Tilt-Up contractor, engineer, architect or product supplier capitalize on the growing green and sustainable movement?

Haulotte: By improving our understanding of Tilt-Up concrete’s inherent value as a part of sustainable buildings and marketing this system as a potential solution to a client’s needs the Tilt-Up design and construction community can benefit from this growing segment of our market.

TCA: How does Tilt-Up compare to other building methods with regard to LEED Certification?

Haulotte: One of the successes where Tilt-Up has benefited as compared to other building methods is economics. Tilt-Up, in many applications, can provide a cost effective solution as compared to other conventional structure and wall systems. A success indicator of any project is its cost effectiveness compared to other projects. Tilt-Up can provide benefit through both the initial first cost and life cycle cost of a project as compared to other wall and structure systems.

TCA: Where do you see the role of Tilt-Up in the green/sustainable movement in the future?

Haulotte: Tilt-Up has the potential to continue to grow as the demand for high performance buildings increases. As more clients become familiar with the benefits of a sustainable building through verifiable data of completed green buildings and as our culture expects more from the built environment, we will continue to see an increase in the need for sustainable buildings.

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TILT-UP TODAY, a publication of the Tilt-Up Concrete Association, is THE source for Tilt-Up industry news, market intelligence, business strategies, technical solutions, product information, and other resources for professionals in the Tilt-Up industry. A subscription to TILT-UP TODAY is included in a TCA membership. Subscriptions for potential TCA members are also available. If you would like to receive a complimentary subscription to the publication, please contact the TCA.