Green Building Consulting

Watershed’s green building consulting services are designed to empower our clients so that they can design, build, or operate green buildings, without us. We can help manage the certification of a new or existing building, fine tune building performance,  or develop sustainable guidelines, goals, and performance metrics for your organization or property.

LEED

The LEED Green Building Rating Program is the most widely used benchmark for green buildings today. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. It is a voluntary program that guides, measures, and certifies a buildings performance in terms of energy use, water use, materials use, sustainable site development, and indoor environmental quality.  There are LEED rating systems for a wide range of building types from commercial buildings to schools to homes. LEED can be applied to both new and existing buildings. Watershed provides an array of services to help manage the LEED certification process, and train professionals to use it successfully. The earlier in the design process that a project decides to utilize LEED, the greater the potential benefits and the lower the potential for additional costs.

Passive House Certification

Passive House Certification is awarded to buildings that reduce energy use from 70%-90% through a super insulated, passive solar, building envelope, and simple mechanical systems. We like to think of the PHIUS approach as relying on physics rather than mechanics, or as Fine Homebuilding called it, “Green without Gizmos.”

The certification can be applied to single family residences, but also to multi-family and dormitory buildings and light commercial buildings like schools and community centers. Watershed provides energy and hygro-thermal modeling to support Passive House design and certification. The modeling is most useful when begun early in the design process and used as a tool to give feedback on different design strategies.

Energy Star

Most people know of Energy Star appliances and office equipment, but the EPA Energy Star program also certifies homes and commercial buildings that reach a certain energy use threshold. Energy Star benchmarking can help to guide a renovation of an existing commercial building or help to achieve points in the LEED Green Building rating systems for new or existing buildings. Watershed can help to benchmark your building’s energy and water use, and is an approved on site inspector for buildings seeking the energy star label.

Sustainable Sites

The Sustainable Sites Initiative is a voluntary rating system, like LEED, used to align land development and management with innovative sustainable design. SITES certification can be achieved by public parks, infrastructure, and even by the landscape surrounding a LEED building. SITES was developed to protect and restore “ecosystem services,” such as flood mitigation, air purification, carbon storage, and climate regulation. These benefits are provided free of charge by healthy ecosystems, but are incredibly expensive to replicate through engineering and mechanical solutions. SITES is the culmination of years of research and development by leading professionals in the fields of soil, water, vegetation, materials and human health.

Watershed offers both an introduction and training in the Sustainable Sites Initiative and consulting services to support certification.

Living Building Challenge

The Living Building Challenge was created to inspire and certify buildings that go beyond sustainability, and are restorative in design. The Challenge leapfrogs the incremental improvements above code required by Energy Star, LEED, and other rating systems and aims to create the “greenest buildings anywhere… serving as role models for those that follow.”  Living Buildings are required to achieve Net Zero energy and water use, and prohibited from using of building materials known to cause cancer or disrupt hormonal systems. There are 20 “Imperitives” in the challenge, all mandatory, and certification is only awarded after a year of occupancy, when it is certain that all have been achieved. Watershed has a Living Building Ambassador on staff and we are committed to ongoing volunteer presentations on the Living Building Challenge. Contact us if you would like to schedule a presentation or start a project!

Fitwel

Fitwel

The Fitwel certification process is a user-friendly and cost-efficient way to respond to the growing market demand for healthier workplaces.. There are currently more than 5.6 million commercial buildings in the US, with 120 million employees who spend an average of 8.1 hours at work each day.  By applying incremental changes over time, these buildings can be optimized to promote occupant health. Fitwel can be used to create positive impacts on individual health within all buildings, regardless of budget, size, year built, or location.

WELL Building Institute

The WELL Building Standard

The WELL Building Standard® is a rigorous performance-based system for measuring and certifying features of the built environment that impact human health and well-being, through air, water, nourishment, light, fitness, comfort and mind. It marries best practices in design and construction with evidence-based medical and scientific research – harnessing the built environment as a vehicle to support human health and well-being.  WELL can be used to certify a variety of project types, including commercial offices, multi-family residential,, retail, educational buildings and restaurants. When you earn WELL Certification for your building or community, you signal to the world that you’re putting people first.

Fortified Home
Fortified Commercial

Fortified Programs

WATERSHED uses Fortified Home and Fortified Commercial assessment and certification to deliver durable, resilient homes to our architectural clients. Fortified Certification can result in significant immediate savings in insurance costs and long term savings in reduced damages. The program employs an incremental approach toward making existing and new buildings more resistant to damage from hurricanes, tropical storms, hailstorms, high winds and wind-driven rain associated with thunderstorms. With three levels of FORTIFIED designation available—Bronze, Silver and Gold— the program allows owners to choose a desired level of protection that best suits their budgets and resilience goals.

 

 

Sustainability Planning and Sustainable Business Consulting

Watershed can help your organization develop project specific sustainability goals and performance metrics. This can be a part of a master planning exercise for future facilities, or a deep dive into the operations of your business. Our goal is to help you come up with a plan to save money, conserve resources, and create positive environmental benefits, then measure your progress towards those goals. If needed, we can also help you develop training programs and educational materials for your staff. It’s our goal to make this process not just painless, but fun.

I was impressed to see the inclusion of the Weeks Bay Principles in the master plan. These are a great foundation for guiding future development at the reserve and linking it to the reserve management plan goals.

NOAA

The (Weeks Bay Principles) lay out some powerful guidance for the development of future facilities.

NOAA

The team always helps me find an answer.

Dr John Dindo, Director of Institutional Advancement – Dauphin Island Sea Lab