Performance specifying provides a valuable approach to earning LEED v4 points for innovation, according to Michael Heinsdorf, an engineering specification writer at ARCOMMasterSpec, writing for Consulting – Specifying Engineer.
Performance specifying involves indicating specific performance requirements of a product, system or assembly, and choosing the desired level of measurable performance – as opposed to starting out by naming a manufacturer or stating compliance with a standard.
“This is a great way to specify a product or system that may not yet be standardized in the industry, something that happened often in earlier versions of LEED and ASHRAE Standard 189.1,” Heinsdorf says.
And the process is especially useful for earning innovation points under LEED v4. For example, there is no standard for solar carports, so engineers must specify minimum electrical and structural characteristics the carports have to meet. This enables manufacturers to bid on the project, and allows project managers to choose innovative designs if they so choose.
Drawbacks to performance specifying include difficult-to-quantify goals, and the challenge of choosing the level of specificity for the performance specification.
The US Green Building Council launched LEED v4 last November, and in the same month UL Environment published a LEED toolkit geared to support architects and designers in their product specification and selection processes.
In addition to a redesigned Sustainable Product Guide, the LEED Toolkit provides tip sheets for both LEED v4 (including hotlinks to more detailed resources) and Achieving Points towards Sustainable Ratings Systems (including LEED 2009).
Another component of the toolkit is UL Environment’s education program geared to architecture and design specifiers. It includes a new continuing education unit, Innovation and Transparency: Building Transformation in LEED version 4.
Takeaway: Performance specifying is one useful tool engineers can apply to achieve LEED v4 points, especially for systems such as solar carports that don’t have their own standard.
Tamar Wilner is Senior Editor at Environmental Leader PRO.