FOR LARGE-SCALE RETAILERS
SEEKING LEED CERTIFICATION for
multiple stores and for the teams involved,
being “green” has become a little easier.
Until recently, many retailers committed to
green building faced a costly and repetitive submission process to attain LEED certification for multiple stores. The U.S. Green
Building Council’s new LEED Volume Program
allows companies that have prototypical
buildings with similar designs to apply for
certification in bulk. This can save significant
time and money over registering stores one
by one. Retailers considering green multi-store rollouts, designers advising their clients, and suppliers working on green store
projects need to understand the new program. Here are 10 tips for effective use of
the LEED Volume program:
1 Determine whether the project lends
itself to the Volume Program. Prime candidates are chain retailers—including restaurants, C-stores, banks, and many other retail
types—that use a standard building or facility design for multiple stores. To qualify, at
least 25 projects must be planned within
2 Know how the program works. LEED
Volume allows for stores to be submitted in
batches instead of individually. This precludes
repetitive registration and review costs. It
also simplifies submission, as most locations
will be pre-certified within the prototype.
Each project type is developed from a
single prototype document, but the prototype can have variations that are prototypical based on the use of a standard kit of
parts throughout the portfolio. For example,
suppose a hotel chain cannot have each
site identical due to restrictions on footprint
and regional concerns. The prototype could
have options for different solar orientations
and size configurations, as well as more
performance-based criteria for mechanical systems due to various climates, while
maintaining consistent criteria for materials,
Photo: Kenneth A. Gruskin/Gruskin Group™
Gruskin Group designed this Verizon Wireless store in Huntington Beach, Calif. Completed in
November 2010, the store is seeking LEED Silver under the Volume Program.
construction standards, and general configuration regardless of location.
The program also allows retailers to carry
out the commissioning process using their
own quality control or construction management teams rather than LEED and design
consultants. Individual facilities would be
subject to spot checks by USGBC inspectors.
3 Know what is in a LEED prototype document. Since the USGBC requires technical and
managerial uniformity across the retail portfolio, a LEED prototype document must represent the baseline standard, with a detailed
description of quality-control processes,
employee training curricula, a threshold for
mechanical units, approved manufacturers,
and typical installation requirements. Fixture
and materials suppliers should be prepared
to supply backup information about materials and performance required for compliance, just as they do for any LEED project.
4 Ensure that adapting to the new stan-
dards will not alter the brand and cus-
tomer experience. Only “green” elements
that do not undermine the brand or cus-
tomer experience should be included, even
if it means a store cannot ultimately be LEED-
certified or included in the Volume Program.
5 Maintain uniformity. Lack of uniformity
could call into question all of the stores certified under the Volume Program and possibly
lead to fines or a suspension of the prototype’s LEED certification. To develop a consistent and reproducible uniformity among
the sites, some teams prefer to use the same
suppliers for all locations. For others, sourcing local materials may be more important.
For instance, no single steel-framing vendor could meet the local sourcing requirement nationally, so multiple sources would
be required across the country. Regardless
of how the company chooses to work with
suppliers, the criteria required to achieve the
environmental goals would typically be
the same throughout the portfolio.
6 Build around the inherent culture and
existing processes. Rather than trying to
build strategies from scratch, the design
team should shift existing standard procedures from the retailer’s culture or the
external community toward LEED certification criteria. For example, New Yorkers may