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Thoughts from a LEED AP

Jim Cohen, VP of SBLM Architects PC, is a LEED accredited Architect with more than 20 years experience in commercial, retail and public sector work. SBLM Architects, PC is a 100+ person architectural firm with offices in New York, Miami and Dublin and is currently working on LEED certification for a number of stand-alone projects as well as LEED Volume Certification for a national retailer. Cohen can be reached at 305-412-9187 or

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

Cohen: The industry needs to know that “green and sustainability” are not fads but are here to stay. Green and sustainable are all good, common sense ideas and practices that can be readily introduced into a project. We are seeing clients in both the public and private sector looking at LEED and green building practices and incorporating sustainable items into their projects. If this is a goal, it is much better to implement these items at the beginning of a project during the initial design decisions than trying to input them later in a project.

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

Cohen: Tilt-Up is a fit for LEED because concrete can be utilized in a variety of ways that apply to LEED credits.

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

Cohen: Tilt-Up Concrete can help contribute to acquiring LEED credit if it has been manufactured regionally or if it has been recycled. It can also be used as a heat island material.

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

Cohen: The use of Tilt-Up Concrete contributes to LEED credits due to the concrete component. However, in and of itself, Tilt-Up Concrete does not satisfy LEED requirements.

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

Cohen: All of the elements of LEED can be incorporated into a project. We have a number of clients whom do not desire LEED certification but want to incorporate as many LEED practices into their project as possible, just because they want to be “good environmental citizens.”

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

Cohen: The decision to use Tilt-Up is always by consensus. As an architect, I am a big fan of Tilt-Up for its speed and economic advantages; however, without a local base of experienced Tilt-Up contractors, I would not suggest using it to a client.

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

Cohen: The decision to use green or sustainable elements is now being driven by the marketplace. If your competitor is implementing green practices and you are not, you could lose the competitive edge in the eyes of the public. Public sector clients are looking at green practices voluntarily for good public relations and positive publicity. LEED certification is not always desirable or necessary. Some clients are finding that it is enough to implement and publicize their green building practices without going through the LEED process.

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

Cohen: Take a look at the raw materials being used and, wherever possible, use recycled or local regional materials in the mix. Become a LEED accredited professional and be an advocate for green and sustainable building practices. Implement these practices into projects whenever possible.

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

Cohen: As with all materials and methods, Tilt-Up is one of the many ingredients that can potentially contribute to a LEED point. A holistic building approach makes for good green building practices. This includes making decisions throughout the design and construction process based upon a certain environmental awareness.

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

Cohen: I see Tilt-Up continuing to increase its market share as a construction method because of its economic advantages, speed and contribution to LEED credits.

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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.