Three Perspectives On How To Plan, Design and LEED Certify a Building2010-10-28-155224CIMG1695-EDIT-small, for press release

About 30 people attended the Go Green Challenge Event “From the Ground Up: The Story Behind Planning, Designing and Building LEED-Certified“, co-sponsored by Neyer Properties and the American Red Cross. The event was held at the American Red Cross Regional Headquarters and Disaster Operations Center at Keystone Parke.

The October 20 evening event included four panelists discussing the process of planning, designing and constructing a green building. The evening concluded with a tour of the new American Red Cross building.

Guest panelists included Charlie Pond, Director of Build Development at Neyer Properties, Chad Edwards, Architectural/Urban Designer for emersion DESIGN, and Paula McIntosh, Chief Community Presence Officer for American Red Cross Cincinnati Region. Steve Melink Founder & President of Melink Corporation facilitated.

Each panelist represented a different perspective with regards to the LEED process. McIntosh discussed the client side of things, whereas Pond explained the developer’s side and Edwards the architect’s.

These three perspectives represented by the panelists explained that all must work cooperatively throughout the entire process for LEED certification. This is in addition to the standard collaboration needed to achieve the client’s wishes for their new building.

An example of this cooperation is shown through the chosen location of the American Red Cross. The location shows the company’s dedication to community and its surroundings but it also serves the developer’s and architect’s purpose of promoting the green movement through the easily visible location along I-71.

The location and building as a whole represents the relationship between Neyer Properties and the American Red Cross. “Neyer was a natural partner for us. They were already knowledgeable about the LEED process and had LEED APs on staff. There were several people from emersion and Neyer who helped advise us and all of our decisions throughout the entire process, ” said McIntosh. The location and building also represents the partnership between these three companies with regards to sustainability and a dedication to the City of Cincinnati.

“The key to [building a LEED-certified building] is to have an owner that understands and appreciates it and to have a team that is willing to push [the building] through the [LEED] process,” said Pond. “This building represents our dedication to the Red Cross and the green movement as a whole.”

The common themes represented by the panelists included that building a LEED building can be easy and it does not have to be expensive. The American Red Cross came in under budget, something most people to do not associate with ‘green building’. Neyer Properties and emersion DESIGN were able to complete this cutting-edge project more than $1 million under budget. In fact, “majority of the buildings we studied were able to achieve their goals for LEED certification without any additional funding; there is no one-size fits all answer to the cost of green” said Edwards.

The American Red Cross is on track to achieve LEED Gold certification by the end of the year. It will be the first American Red Cross building in the nation to be LEED certified.