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, but offering guidelines and performance benchmarks for sustainable land use, construction, and maintenance practices. SITES certification can be achieved by public parks, infrastructure projects like roadway development or airport properties, and even by the site development surrounding a LEED building. Watershed offers 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!

 

Sustainability Planning and Sustainable Business Consulting

Watershed can help your organization develop project specific sustainability goals and performance metrics. In other words, we’ll 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