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Beyond LEED — You Can Still Be Green

By: Kimberly Kayler

As green and sustainability continue to be an ideal fit for the Tilt-Up industry, additional certification programs are being utilized by contractors to achieve the best outcomes when building green. For example, DIVCON Inc., a TCA member and contracting company located in Spokane, Wa., is currently using the Tilt-Up method for the majority of its construction projects, and they are implementing a number of sustainability techniques. Upon successful completion of the Certified Sustainable Building Advisor (CSBA) exam, DIVCON President John Miller is now trained in a number of green-built concepts and rating systems, including LEED, Green Globes, and Energy Star. DIVCON’s approach provides insight on alternatives to LEED certification for meeting the green trend.


DIVCON Inc. aspires to use a number of green-built concepts and a collaborative process to ensure sustainability for its projects. Recently, the company completed two buildings which received an Energy Star rating of 80. For another project, DIVCON Inc. was attempting to achieve a high LEED rating.

According to Miller, LEED APs determined the project would be a challenge to achieve LEED certification because of the size of the 12,000-square-foot building. They also realized that it would be very expensive to use the LEED rating system. But, that didn’t mean that green and sustainable concepts had to be abandoned. The project was completed using a collection of sustainable strategies and is pending an Energy Star rating, Miller said.

“One negative with LEED is that everyone is chasing points rather that looking at the whole,” he said. “Although the LEED program is being revised, it is currently very subjective and cumbersome. My fear is that it will be mandated by government. That will be a nightmare because of the quantity of buildings being built and the certification process. It is more important to make good progress in sustainability on all buildings rather than lots of progress on a few buildings.”


The Tilt-Up method meets several of the basic principles of the green movement for projects completed by DIVCON Inc. Tilt-Up walls use local materials, as well as recycled post-industrial and post-consumer materials, a key component to building green. Recycled components include 95 percent recycled rebar, fly ash and slag in the cement. The Tilt- Up method reduces waste by only incorporating the amount of concrete required. DIVCON utilizes aluminum forms which can be used multiple times and then recycled. Additionally, the Tilt-Up method increases HVAC performance because of the great thermal mass and low air infiltration. According to Miller, one of the greatest advantages of the Tilt-Up method is that it uses less manpower, is faster to construct and creates little waste.

“The goal is a better built environment with the least impact to the natural environment,” Miller added. “Tilt-Up is a natural in sustainability.”

DIVCON Inc. has used the Tilt-Up method for a number of its projects, large and small. With numerous green features, the corporation recently completed a 12,000-square-foot world headquarters. According to Miller the leading feature was the use of Tilt-Up sandwich panels.

Tilt-Up sandwich panels conserve energy because of the continuous insulation and thermal mass. Additionally, the panels prevent thermal shorts and allow for an easy building envelope energy analysis. This analysis is required by LEED and other rating systems. DIVCON is using Tilt-Up sandwich panels to construct retail, office and industrial buildings.

“I think it is important for members of the industry to realize that you shouldn’t abandon the idea of providing an owner with a green building even if you aren’t a LEED Accredited Professional, or you aren’t seeking LEED Certification on the building,” said Miller. “The CSBA certification also results in great value for the owner, and the use of Tilt-Up enables you to easily integrate green and sustainable elements into your project.”


The CSBA certification is offered by the National Sustainable Building Advisor Program (NaSBAP), a 501 (c)3 non-profit organization, located in Seattle, Wa. The nine-month certificate training course offers an in-depth overview of a variety of sustainable building areas and rating programs, such as LEED. Participants of the course complete 110 classroom hours, a team project, and final exam. The course was offered at 11 locations nationwide in 2007. Since 1999, more than 200 participants have passed the professional exam to receive certification.

“CSBA training helps to deliver the best solution,” Miller said. DIVCON Inc. currently has two CSBA certified staff members.

For additional information about the CSBA program visit

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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.