LEED in Mechanica
LEED certification in general
LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is an internationally recognised certification system for so-called green buildings. It was created in March 2000 by the US Green Building Council (USGBC). LEED provides the owners of buildings and their operators with an assessment system for the identification and implementation of practical and measurable parameters for sustainable architecture, construction, operation and maintenance of buildings.
LEED supports sustainable construction and development through a set of assessment systems that puts an emphasis on projects implementing strategies aimed at reducing their environmental impact. LEED certification systems are developed on the basis of an open process and the election of a LEED commission, which consists of professionals and volunteers representing various sectors of the building industry. The key elements include: balance and transparency in the structure of the commission; technical advisers who oversee scientific consistency and the stringency of requirements; opportunities for all participants to comment on the certification process; voting on new versions of the certification system; and fair consideration of potential appeals.
LEED is flexible to such an extent that it can be adapted to various types of commercial and residential buildings. The entire time frame for a construction project – design and construction, operation and maintenance, leasing incorporated units and significant reconstruction – is subjected to an assessment. Furthermore, for residential construction, LEED extends the benefits of its system not only to the construction site, but also to the surroundings in close proximity to it.
LEED also makes sense from an economic point of view, as it creates benefits not only for the owners of the buildings, but also for their tenants.
All credits are classified according to seven categories of environmental impact with a total maximum achievable rating of 110. Each category is focused on a different field related to the environment:
- Sustainable location and sustainable construction method (approximately 25% of the total rating)
- Water management (approximately 9% of the total rating)
- Energy and atmosphere (approximately 33% of the total rating)
- Materials and resources (approximately 12% of the total rating)
- Quality of the internal environment (approximately 11% of the total rating)
- Innovation in the project (approximately 6% of the total rating)
- Consideration of the certification site (approximately 4% of the total rating)
The Mechanica project was already assessed against LEED certification criteria at the preliminary design stage and was accordingly granted LEED GOLD certification. The Mechanica project offers the following benefits:
- An energy simulation model that considers the complete building and its future operation in a realistic way was prepared as part of the certification procedure. This model enabled the designer to not only incorporate technical equipment into their design which is precisely in accordance with the needs of the building and its planned utilisation, but also to optimise the complete TZB (technical equipment of the building) from the viewpoint of energy usage and consumption. The installation of double insulation glazing with a low transfer coefficient for solar radiation and the very good thermal insulation properties of the facade will also contribute to savings.
- Installation fixtures and fittings have been selected so as to reduce drinking water consumption by more than 45% when compared with the reference building. Drinking water consumption will also be reduced by using rainwater to water the greenery around the building.
- Rainwater will be treated before draining away through the sewerage system, which will contribute to a reduction in the settling of solid particles in riverbeds.
- The rate at which rainwater is discharged from the building and the adjacent land will be controlled through a retention pond so that the building therefore contributes to flood protection in the surroundings and downstream.
- Emphasis will be laid on the strict observance of correct procedures when commissioning the building and on consistent verification of the proper operation of all TZB systems, which will have a considerable impact on the future proper and economical operation of the systems installed in the building.
- The aim is to create a healthy and comfortable environment for the users of the building. For this reason, the design of the building in this field is focused on hygienic air exchange, including: air quality; the protection of building users against harmful substances and other sources of contamination in the internal environment; the controllability of the systems for managing the temperature, humidity and air flow rate; the illumination of interior spaces with daylight; the thermal stability of the internal environment; and the use of materials that do not emit harmful substances.
- The sections intended for lease will be adapted for the installation of a secondary real-time metering system. This will enable both maximum control of the operation of individual devices and the determination and accounting of the actual consumption of power in individual rental units. In turn, this will motivate tenants to use their units in an economical fashion.
- The building will be equipped with charging stations for electric cars, which will allow tenants to utilise an environmentally friendly mode of transport for commuting to work. Furthermore, the building will also be equipped with a large number of bicycle stands, including the necessary facilities for cyclists.
- The planned building is situated within walking distance of the underground B line and bus stops. This will allow employees to take maximum advantage of public transport and will result in a considerable reduction in CO2 emissions.
- There are numerous shops and services within walking distance of the building, so the tenants will be spared long trips for groceries, to the hairdresser, for ATM withdrawals, etc.
- Employees will have an unobstructed view from all floors above ground level, which will contribute to a higher quality working environment and greater productivity at work.
- Stringent conditions will be applied to contractors that will result in the protection of the natural environment and the surroundings near the construction site, as well as protection of the working environment for the construction personnel and future users of the building. The maximum possible recycling of waste demolition and construction materials is one of the conditions for successful certification.
- Building materials will be selected so that maximum use is made of recycled materials, which do not release any harmful volatile substances, and which will be transported over the shortest possible distance.
- Only materials that do not cause the emission of harmful volatile organic substances in the interior of the building will be used for construction.
- The premises will be completely non-smoking.
- The quantity and quality of fresh air will be monitored during operations, including thorough filtration. In order to reduce operational costs and to improve the quality of the internal environment, it is possible to fit meeting rooms with CO2 sensors that control the quantity of air supplied on the basis of the number of users.